Showing posts with the label Tessera Solar

Desert Expert: Find Another Site for Calico Solar

Mr James Andre, an expert in desert research who Tessera Solar sought to ban from the Calico Solar evidentiary hearings, submitted a written brief to the California Energy Commission (CEC) in which he recommends that State and Federal agencies provide incentives to Tessera Solar to find a less harmful location for the energy project. One of the most poignant portions of the brief submitted to the CEC commissioners reminds them of their burden to avoid shortcuts, and think of policy solutions that can accommodate the competing demands of "clean" energy and a sustainable and healthy Mojave Desert ecosystm: Mr. Andre wrote: "As the decision-making body for this and subsequent utility-scale solar energy projects, the Commission becomes our representative to future generations." Mr. Andre argues that the Calico Solar site is of high ecological value for several reasons that represent his expertise in botany: Tessera Solar's survey method for the White-margin

Correction to Record: Botanist Did Testify

I need to correct the record on this blog.  In two previous posts ( 7 August and 12 August ) I updated you on the evidentiary hearings for the Calico Solar power project, in which the company proposing the project--Tessera Solar--sought to bar the testimony of a respected desert botanist named Jim Andre.  The company argued that he signed a confidentiality agreement when he helped other experts understand how to spot rare plant life on the proposed Calico solar site. I had downloaded and reviewed the transcripts for the 4 and 6 August hearings and concluded that he did not testify since he was not among the witnesses in those hearings.  I assumed that Tessera Solar had succeeded in buying the silence of the public's natural resources expert.  However, the California Energy Commission just posted the transcripts for the 5 August hearing, at which Mr. Andre did in fact testify, despite the objections of Tessera Solar. This comes as quite a relief since the energy company's at

What will happen to desert tortoises relocated from solar sites?

I had previously posted on studies investigating the effectiveness of translocating desert tortoises to other parts of the Mojave Desert to take them out of "harm's way."   In 2008, Fort Irwin began relocating tortoises from Mojave Desert habitat that would soon become part of the base's training area.  The full Fort Irwin report on desert tortoise mortalities from base activities indicates that 200 desert tortoises were killed and 6 were injured in 2008, the vast majority of those were translocated tortoises. The report was provided to the California Energy Commission (CEC) as evidence to be used in the CEC's assessment of the proposed Calico Solar power project .  If the solar project is approved, Tessera Solar LLC--the company proposing the project--would likely translocate dozens of tortoises currently inhabiting the area.   Based on the Fort Irwin translocation experience, the approval of large solar projects is essentially a death sentence for tortoises.

Calico Solar Decision Imminent; Evidentiary Hearings Exclude Respected Botanist

The California Energy Commission (CEC) stated during the early August evidentiary hearings for the Calico Solar power project that they planned to issue a decision on the project by the 24th of August.   As noted in previous posts ,  the Calico Solar project would consume 8,230 acres of prime desert habitat, and kill dozens of endangered desert tortoise and Mojave Fringe-toed lizard, and probably disrupt a wildlife corridor.   The site would also impact loggerhead shrike, a nearby Golden Eagle, LeConte's thrasher, and several special status plants, such as the white-margined beardtongue, small flowered androstostephium, Utah vine milkweed, and foxtail cactus.   Photo of the Calico Solar project site in the Mojave Desert, taken from the PWA report on the Calico Site hydrology and geomorphic qualities, submitted to the CEC on June 18th. During the evidentiary hearings addressing biological resources, Tessera Solar (the company proposing to build the Calico Solar project on publi

Tessera Solar Attempting to Silence Science?

According to the transcript from the 30 July prehearing conference held by the California Energy Commission (CEC) to discuss the Calico Solar power project, Tessera Solar's lawyers sought to bar one of California's prominent botany experts from testifying on behalf of concerned citizens.   Tessera Solar claimed that because they had previously paid a particular plant expert to conduct a survey of the Calico Solar site--which would be built on public lands--the expert was unable to provide testimony in the debate regarding the solar site on behalf of other citizens because of his contract.  Tessera Solar's underhanded tactics suggest energy companies may want to buy the silence of biologists to prevent the public from fully understanding the harmful impacts of the energy company projects on public lands. As energy companies rush to bulldoze open space in the Mojave Desert, they are required to conduct surveys to determine the extent of damage that would be done to plant a

New Layout for Calico Solar Project May Not Provide Adequate Wildlife Corridor

Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems, the companies proposing to build the Calico Solar Power project in the Mojave Desert, filed details on an alternative layout for the site with the California Energy Commission (CEC).  Although the companies claim that the reduced site footprint provides a 4000 foot wildlife corridor between the solar project and the Cady Mountains to allow desert tortoise and other species passage through the area, the maps presented in the documents filed with the CEC suggest that the layout falls short of this goal. The Calico Solar Project is currently the largest solar project proposed for the Mojave Desert that is currently under review by the CEC and Bureau of Land Management for approval.  The project would be built on public land and would be partially funded by the taxpayers.  The original proposed project would take up 8,230 acres, and potentially displace or kill at least 100 desert tortoises, and jeopardize the white-margined beardtongue, a rare