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For Immediate Release: December 19, 2007
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989

Review Begins for Solar Farm Project
in San Luis Obispo County


Sacramento - The California Energy Commission today accepted an application for a 177-megawatt solar thermal power plant proposed for eastern San Luis Obispo County.

By a vote of 5-0, the Energy Commission determined that the Carrizo Energy Solar Farm (CESF) is "data adequate," meaning the commission has enough information to begin the yearlong review of the project.

The Commission has named Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel to head the committee that will ensure the project meets the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. Commissioner Jeffrey Byron will serve as the Associate Member.

Project owner Ausra Inc. of Palo Alto proposes to develop the solar thermal facility on 640 acres of unincorporated San Luis Obispo County near Simmler, west of the Kern County line.

The solar farm would produce power by using the sun's heat to boil water to power electrical steam generators. The project design will incorporate Ausra's proprietary method of concentrating solar energy on pipes in an elevated receiver. The solar energy boils water within a row of specially coated stainless steel pipes in an insulated cavity to produce saturated steam for the generators. Steam used by the steam turbines would be condensed back to water and returned to the solar field.

If licensed by the Energy Commission, the CESF will begin construction in 2009. The project is expected to go on line and contribute electricity to the grid on or before May of 2010.

Throughout the project's 12-month licensing review, the Energy Commission will conduct public workshops and hearings in San Luis Obispo County on the proposed plant to determine whether it should be certified for a license and under what set of conditions. More information on the Carrizo Solar Electric Generating System is available on the Energy Commission website at:

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/carrizo/index.html

Since deregulation occurred in 1998, the Energy Commission has licensed or given small power plant exemptions to 63 power plants, totaling 23,946 MW. Thirty-nine licensed power plants are in operation, producing 13,087 MW. Since Gov. Schwarzenegger took office, 18 of these power plants, totaling 6,910 MW, have been approved. In addition, 18 power plant projects are active in the Energy Commission's review process, representing 7,271 MW. More information about Energy Commission power plant projects is available at:

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

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