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Calico Solar Decision Expected Soon

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According to the transcripts for a 25 August California Energy Commission (CEC) hearing for Tessera Solar LLC's proposed Calico Solar power project, the CEC planned to issue a Presiding Member's Proposed Decision this week.  The CEC initially planned to issue a decision earlier in August, but changes to the conditions of certification delayed the decision and prompted additional evidentiary hearings.

As noted previously on this blog, the Tessera Solar's Calico project could result in the deaths of over a hundred tortoises, the elimination of dwindling Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat, and further fragment the population of rare white-margined beardtongue, and other special status plants.   Tessera Solar also has not yet identified adequate receptor sites for its desert tortoise translocation.

Doubts About Desert Tortoise Translocation Plans for Ivanpah and Calico Solar

Hearings held by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in late August cast doubt on plans to translocate endangered desert tortoises from the proposed Ivanpah and Calico solar power sites.  According to transcripts from the hearings, desert tortoise experts testified that tortoises moved from the proposed solar sites are more likely to die, and could also do harm to the sites to which they are moved.  According to one biologist, the results of the translocation of 158 tortoises from Fort Irwin resulted in 49% mortality in within months of translocation in 2008, and this year alone 11.6% of the remaining tortoises have died (see correction of previous post).

The hearings raised concerns about the sites selected to receive tortoises translocated from solar energy sites, the potential for the spread of disease, inadequate information, and last-minute changes in the plans:
In one example, the expert noted that some tortoises removed from the Calico Solar power project (proposed by Tessera…

New Report Suggests Energy Siting On Wrong Path

Thanks to our friends at Basin and Range Watch, and Coyote Crossing for highlighting a report compiled by independent experts regarding the impact of energy development on California's deserts.   The report was prepared by the Independent Science Advisors as part of California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).   The DRECP is intended to create a science-based process for reviewing and permitting renewable energy projects in the desert, and would provide a framework for implementing regionally coordinated land acquisition and mitigation to off-set the negative effects of the energy "gold rush" that threatens to turn California's deserts into an industrial zone.   The Renewable Energy Action Team (REAT), which this blog has previously described, is the multi-agency body that will implement the DRECP.

The full report, which you can find at the DRECP website, supports the development of renewable energy sources in order to limit greenhouse gas …

Ivanpah Comment Period

The Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System is awaiting final approval by the California Energy Commission (CEC).  The CEC issued a Presiding Member's Proposed Decision granting initial approval, but pending a 30-day public comment period, the decision is not set in stone.  You can still submit comments to the CEC regarding the Ivanpah site.  Please see Chris Clark's Coyote Crossing for further information.

You can email comments to the CEC at docket@energy.state.ca.us and include reference to "Docket No. 07-AFC-5."  For more information, see the CEC's public announcement on this.

"What a crock..."

According to an anonymous poster, this blog's critical look at where we should place utility-scale renewable energy production is unfair to the energy companies.

Anonymous said...
What a crock. You cant win for losing trying to build clean energy projects. Maybe they should just put a dirty oil or coal producing energy company there.

Apparently we should ignore the mistakes of previous generations and jump blindly into whatever profit-seeking companies say is best for us.  Okay Anonymous, let's bulldoze thousands of acres of our wilderness so you can run your dishwasher and TV on so-called "green" energy.

If utility-scale solar energy production that requires thousands of acres for a couple hundred MW of electricity were required to replace all of our coal production, our towns and cities would be sandwiched between vast fields of sun-reflecting mirrors.  Utility-scale solar technology still suffers from inefficiency from an economic scale standpoint, so why sh…

Amargosa River

A wonderful post on the Amargosa River (one of the Mojave Desert's few riparian areas) on High Country News blog site.  You can find the article at this link.

Bulldozers on the Horizon for Ivanpah; CEC Acknowledges Tortoise Density in Calico

Ivanpah Update:
Check out Chris Clarke's Coyote Crossing for a photo sent to him by Basin and Range Watch.  It appears that BrightSource Energy is beginning to mark the Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating Site in the Eastern Mojave Desert for construction.  The Presiding Member's Proposed Decision has not yet been finally approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC), but we know that BrightSource Energy will be rushing to beat the clock once the approval is made final.

In order to qualify for the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds, BrightSource must break ground on the project before the end of the year.  But before the company can break ground, it must identify and relocate desert tortoises on the site.  This might explain the seemingly premature placement of construction markers on the site.

Calico Solar Update:
The 18 August evidentiary hearings are further proof that Tessera Solar's Calico Solar power project should not be approved by the CEC.  This compa…