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For immediate release: November 14, 2003
Media Contact: Chris Davis - (916) 654-4989

Energy Commission Releases Proposed Decision For Salton Sea Power Plant

Sacramento - An Energy Commission Siting Committee recommends the Salton Sea Unit 6 Geothermal Power Project be approved by the full Commission. The Committee responsible for the Energy Commission review of the renewable energy proposal released the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision today.

The proposed decision for the Salton Sea Unit 6 project can be found on the Energy Commission website at:


The Salton Sea Unit 6 Geothermal Power Project would use the steam from geothermal brine to generate 185 megawatts through a high-efficiency, condensing-steam turbine. Wastewater, including storm runoff, will be reinjected into the geothermal resource. If approved by the full Commission, Unit 6 will be the largest geothermal power plant in the United States. The power it generates will supply customers of the Imperial Irrigation District and be sold into the California electricity market. The applicant, CE Obsidian Energy, LLC, is targeting 2005 to begin plant operations.

The project is located near the southeast shore of the Salton Sea, within the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area. The site is an 80-acre portion of a 160-acre parcel owned by the applicant that is zoned Heavy Industrial, Agricultural and Geothermal. Productive farmland that will be lost to the project will be mitigated through a deed restriction on land that will remain committed to agriculture forever.

For geothermal facilities, 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. The permitting of well pads and brine pipelines will be the responsibility of Imperial County.

The Presiding Member's Proposed Decision is not the final decision on the Salton Sea Unit 6 Geothermal Power Project. The full Energy Commission must vote on whether to license the plant. That vote is scheduled for December 17, 2003. Written comments on the proposed decision will be accepted through December 17th.

Comments must be addressed to:
Garret Shean
Salton Sea Unit 6 Project
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-9
Sacramento, CA 95814

In addition, the Salton Sea Unit 6 Project Siting Committee, consisting of Energy Commission Chairman William Keese as Presiding Member and Commissioner Robert Pernell as Associate Member, will hold a public conference to solicit comments on the proposed decision. The date and time of the conference will be announced within the next two weeks. Public participation is an important part of the Energy Commission licensing process. For more information on how to submit comments and participate in the process, contact the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, Margret Kim, toll free at (800) 822-6228 or by e-mail at:

The report, along with errata, is available at the Energy Commission's website at:


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