Desert Solar Project Retakes CEC Permit Test and Passes

By Published On: October 23, 2009

The California Energy Commission this week set in motion the possible construction of a 250 MW solar electric generating facility in the Mojave Desert. The commission unanimously approved a “data adequacy” recommendation for the proposed Abengoa Mojave Solar Project, which would be located on 1,765 acres of private land about 14 miles west of Barstow in San Bernardino County. “The sun would provide 100 percent of the power,” said Energy Commission project manager Eileen Allen. No supplementary fossil-based energy source is proposed for electrical power production at the site. The proposal was initially brought before the commission during its September 23 meeting, but was rejected due to deficiencies in several areas. “The nine deficient areas have been remedied,” Allen said. An official with the project’s developer, Abengoa Solar, told the commission that a power purchase agreement has been signed, but that the party asked that the details not yet be revealed. An official announcement is set for October 26, he said. After the Abengoa solar project’s data adequacy was confirmed, a siting committee was chosen to monitor the project, consisting of commissioners Julia Levin as the presiding member and Jim Boyd as the associate member. Also during the October 21 meeting, the commission accepted and approved the city of Vernon’s move to withdraw its application to build a 943 MW combined-cycle facility that would have sat on a 27-acre parcel in the city. In 2006, Vernon submitted a certification application and received approval for the Southeast Regional Energy Center project. It filed a withdrawal request September 29. According to Vernon city administrator, Donal O’Callaghan, the city has changed course and decided to build a smaller, 330 MW plant instead. Area residents had fought the proposal, saying the plant would bring more pollution to the city, which is located on 18 square miles in central Los Angeles County. Additionally at the meeting, the commission agreed to provide almost $450,000 for a U.S. Geological Survey study to determine greenhouse gas emissions released from soil due to intentional flooding of Sacramento Delta cornfields. The project will determine the effectiveness of farm-scale carbon sequestration projects, said Sarah Pittiglio, commission associate energy analyst. “We’re trying to figure out how they could change their practices and flooding of their fields,” Pittiglio said. “It could reduce their emissions.”

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