The California Energy Commission rejected a petition challenging certification of the 500 MW Palen solar power project approved December 2010. Regulators Feb. 14 voted 4-0 against the Center for Biological Diversity's petition for reconsideration of the Palen Solar facility permit. Even if reconsideration had been granted, the Center's victory would be moot, according to Raoul Renaud, commission staff hearing officer. The Center said the commission should withdraw its certification until the Bureau of Land Management approves the project's right-of-way and an amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area plan. "Because the commission approved a project sited in areas designated for wildlife protection on federal public lands before approval by the federal land management agency had been obtained, the commission erred," the petition reads. If the CEC put off its certification until the federal government acts, as urged by the Center, the outcome would be exactly the same, said Renaud. "The decision requires that there be federal approval before any construction can begin." The Palen project, proposed by German-based renewable energy company Solar Millennium, would consist of two adjacent units producing 250 MW each that would sit on about 5,200 acres of public land in an unincorporated area of Riverside County about 35 miles west of Blythe. The commission also voted to adopt revisions to guidelines governing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded State Energy Program. The changes now allow for the reimbursement of expenses that were incurred after the award agreement approval, but before execution of the approval.