CEC Staff: Solar Thermal Site Can’t be Mitigated

By Published On: December 3, 2010

While several large solar thermal projects have won state and federal approval, California Energy Commission staff continues to object to the site proposed for the 250 MW Ridgecrest solar thermal project in Kern County. Permitting Solar Millennium’s 3,920 acre project on public desert land was previously delayed to 2013 after the Energy Commission discussed a two-year study of the facility’s impacts on the threatened Mohave Ground Squirrel last September. Last month, commission staff urged that the project not be approved because it would significantly harm the threatened Mohave Ground Squirrel and desert tortoise, whether or not a $1.5 million comprehensive study is carried out. “Regardless of the [ground squirrel] study results, staff believes it is preferable, based upon what we know today, to preserve this site and surrounding area as opposed to developing it,” staff noted.

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