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For immediate release: August 5, 2003
Media Contact: Chris Davisr - 916-654-4989

Salton Sea Geothermal Power Project
Gets Favorable Staff Review

Sacramento - The staff of the California Energy Commission released Part One of its Final Staff Assessment today for the Salton Sea Unit 6 geothermal power project. This report contains the staff's analysis and recommended conditions of certification for the power plant in all areas except Air Quality and Alternatives. It finds that in those areas analyzed so far, environmental impacts can be mitigated and the project could comply with all laws, ordinances, regulations and standards.

The Air Quality and Alternatives sections will be published at a later date, with the Energy Commission staff's final recommendations, once the staff receives all of the necessary information

Part One of the Final Staff Assessment of the Salton Sea Unit 6 geothermal power project can be viewed or printed from the Energy Commission website at:


The report does not represent a decision or proposed decision on the project. It represents the staff's independent analysis of the project's potential impacts on public health and safety, the transmission system and the environment, excluding air quality.

For geothermal projects, the Energy Commission evaluates all aspects of the project, but permits for the geothermal production and injection wells will be issued by the Department of Conservation, Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources. Well pads and brine pipelines would be permitted by Imperial County. Both agencies intend to use the Energy Commission's Decision as the environmental document for their permitting processes.

CE Obsidian Energy, LLC, is proposing to build the Salton Sea Geothermal Unit 6 geothermal power project near the southern end of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, within the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area. The project site is an 80-acre portion of a 160-acre parcel owned by the applicant in an unincorporated area of Imperial County, approximately six miles north of Calipatria, California.

If it is approved and built, the Salton Sea Geothermal Unit 6 Power Plant will be the largest geothermal power plant in the United States. The steam-powered electric generating facility is designed to produce 185 megawatts, enough on average to power approximately 185,000 California homes. The facility would include a geothermal Resource Production Facility, Power Generation Facility with a high-efficiency condensing-steam turbine, production wells and pads, above-ground brine pipelines, and a brine waste solids handling system. More than 85 percent of the plant's output is contracted to the Imperial Irrigation District for 20 years following the project's completion.

The Energy Commission staff will hold a workshop in late August to take comments on Part One of the Final Staff Assessment. The Commission will send out a public notice when the workshop date and time are set. Written comments on the report will be accepted through August 29, 2003. Comments must be addressed to:

Salton Sea Unit Six Geothermal Power Project
Attn: Robert Worl
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS 15
Sacramento, CA 95814
- or by e-mail -

Public input is an important part of the California Energy Commission's power plant licensing process. To find out how to get involved, contact the Commission's Public Adviser, Roberta Mendonca, toll free at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at: pao@energy.state.ca.us

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