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For Immediate Release: November 21, 2007
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989


Initial staff assessment of proposed Victorville power plant released


Sacramento A California Energy Commission preliminary staff assessment (PSA) of the Victorville 2 Hybrid Power Project concludes that five environmental issues must be addressed before the proposed facility can be recommended for approval.

The PSA said the applicant is working to provide all necessary mitigation to assure that the planned power plant's environmental impacts are less than significant. However, staff is seeking more information and determinations from other agencies to complete its air quality, biological, cultural, soil and water resources, and air traffic safety analyses.

In summary, the PSA finds the project as currently proposed would comply with all the applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards. However, the document concludes that:

  • Some of the air quality mitigation proposed is uncertain at this time due to challenges to air quality rules related to the proposed plant's emission offsets.

  • Federal and state endangered species act regulations need to be fulfilled to ensure that impacts to biological resources, particularly the Desert Tortoise, Mohave Ground Squirrel and Joshua Tree, and their habitats are protected.

  • Some remaining cultural resource surveys need to be conducted and mitigation determined for the project's impact to at least one known historic transmission line.

  • Storm water management plans need to be updated to assure the project will not exacerbate flood conditions.

  • Investigation is needed to demonstrate that glare from the solar thermal mirrors, and thermal plumes from the combustion turbine exhaust stacks and the cooling tower will not adversely affect aviation traffic and safety at the Southern California Logistics Airport.

The PSA also said that the plant's use of reclaimed water would be consistent with state water conservation policies. However, staff wants to confirm that the project's use of excess reclaimed water will not affect the restoration of flows to the Mojave River nor will it compromise an agreement between the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority and the California Fish and Game.

The preliminary staff assessment evaluates the environmental, engineering, and public health and safety impacts of the proposed power plant project. After the 30-day comment period closes, the Energy Commission staff will respond to all comments and release a final staff assessment (FSA).

The FSA will provide the foundation for staff's testimony at evidentiary hearings to be held by the committee of two commissioners reviewing this case. Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd is the committee's presiding member, and Chair Jackalyne Pfannenstiel is the associate member.

The committee will then issue a proposed decision based on evidence presented at the hearings. The proposed decision will be presented to the full Energy Commission for a final decision.

The $450-million hybrid facility is proposed by the City of Victorville. The integrated solar-thermal/combined-cycle plant is designed to deliver electricity 24 hours a day. Victorville 2 would include two natural gas-fired combustion turbine-generators rated at 154 MW each, two heat recovery steam generators and one steam turbine-generator rated at 268 MW.

The solar component of parabolic solar-thermal collectors and associated heat transfer equipment will occupy 250 acres. The solar-thermal collectors would contribute up to 50 MW of the steam turbine generator's 268 MW output. With the plant's auxiliary loads of about 13 MW, Victorville 2's net output would be 563 MW.

If the Energy Commission approves the project, the city of Victorville expects to begin construction in summer 2008 and would generate electricity for its customers by summer 2010.

More information on the Victorville 2 Hybrid Power Project is available on the Energy Commission website:

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/victorville2/index.html

Since deregulation occurred in 1998, the Energy Commission has licensed or given small power plant exemptions to 63 power plants, totaling 23,546 MW. Forty licensed power plants are in operation, producing 13,087 MW. Since Governor Schwarzenegger took office, 18 of these power plants, totaling 6,913 MW, have been approved. In addition, 18 power plant projects are active in the Energy Commission's review process, representing 7,329 MW. More information about Energy Commission power plant projects is available at:

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/all_projects.html

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