The California Energy Commission licensed one power plant project, reinstated the approval of another, and extended the deadline for a project to begin construction. In a break from the commission run on solar approvals, the plant approved Dec. 1 was the CPV Sentinel Energy Project. It\u2019s an 850 MW simple-cycle peaker plant that would sit in unincorporated Riverside County near Palm Springs. It would include a 37-acre power plant site, 2,300 feet of new transmission lines, and 2.6 miles of new natural gas pipeline. The site\u2019s currently vacant, but Southern California Edison\u2019s Devers substation sits about 700 feet to the west and the 135 MW Indigo Energy Facility is less than two miles to the southeast. The applicant, CPV Sentinel, is a subsidiary of Competitive Power Ventures, a Maryland-based power generation development and asset company that has an office in San Francisco. According to CPV, construction of the plant would take about 18 months, and the $380 million project could be online by May 2012, if building commences in the next few weeks. Energy Commission action on the Sentinel plant appears to settle a controversy about the South Coast Air Quality Management District granting emissions offset credits to the project developer, which are required under the federal Clean Air Act. The local air district did that under special legislation enacted on behalf of the Sentinel project, though environmental justice advocates who fought the air credit transfer could appeal the Energy Commission\u2019s project license. Also during the meeting, the commission amended the date of its approval of the 663 MW Calico Solar Project, a project originally approved during the Oct. 28 meeting. Commission chair Karen Douglas temporarily withdrew the approval last week in response to complaints from California Unions for Reliable Energy. CURE warned that the commission hadn\u2019t filed required written findings about environmental consequences Calico would create, such as harming local bighorn sheep and desert tortoises, before it approved the project. But on Dec. 1, the commission agreed to reinstate approval of the project. At the same time it, set a 30-day notice for opponents to challenge approval. The decision means that the project\u2019s applicant, Arizona-based Tessera Solar, can move forward with construction of the planned solar facility that would sit on about 4,600 acres in the Mojave Desert. Construction would take about 44 months to complete, according to Tessera. In another action, the commission voted to extend the deadline for phase two of the Blythe Energy Project. The date had been Dec. 14 of this year, but was pushed to Dec. 14, 2011, for initial construction, by the commission. The 520 MW gas-fired project, which is not to be confused with the Blythe Solar Power Project approved by the commission in September, was certified by the commission in December 2005 but construction hasn\u2019t begun. A project amendment submitted by New York-based applicant Caithness Development in October 2009 proposes to revise the point of interconnection, update the permitted turbines, and incorporate fast-start technology. Caithness submitted its petition to extend the construction start date of the facility after being told by commission staff that analysis of its petition to amend the project wouldn\u2019t be completed before the license to build expires. The site\u2019s located on about 76 acres within the city of Blythe. The project developer has a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison in place. Caithness hasn\u2019t been able to obtain a power purchase agreement for the second phase of project, which the company expects it will need to secure financing for construction.