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For Immediate Release: July 31, 2008
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989

Preliminary staff assessment released for proposed CPV Sentinel Power Project


A California Energy Commission staff report released today said a power plant proposed near Palm Springs would comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards, except for a determination in the area of soil and water resources.

The preliminary staff assessment (PSA) of the 850-megawatt CPV Sentinel Power Project also concludes that environmental issues in two technical areas must be addressed before the peaker facility can be recommended for approval.

The PSA said the applicant is working to provide all necessary mitigation to assure that the plant's impacts to its location and surrounding communities are less than significant. But the staff with help from other agencies is seeking more information to complete its assessment of the plant's impacts on biological and soil and water resources and how these can be mitigated, according to the PSA.

In summary, the PSA said:

  • The power plant, to be ramped up only in times of high demand, "may have direct and cumulative impacts" on the mesquite hummocks and other special status species in the Willow Hole Conservation Area because of its use of groundwater from onsite and nearby wells within the Mission Creek Groundwater Sub-basin.

  • The water supply plan proposed by the plant's applicant needs more evaluation by staff to determine that fresh water to be imported for recharging the Mission Creek Groundwater Sub-basin would be reliable over the 30-year life span of the CPV Sentinel Power Project also considering that the area's groundwater resources are in decline .

The PSA serves as the staff's evaluation of 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 will respond to all comments and release its final staff assessment (FSA) to serve as staff's testimony at the evidentiary hearings to be held in Riverside County by the committee of two commissioners reviewing the case.

The CPV Sentinel Energy Project is a $440 million simple-cycle plant is being proposed for Commission approval by the private, Silver Spring, Maryland-based Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. The natural gas-fired project would be built on 37 acres in unincorporated Riverside County near Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. The planned project is adjacent to several wind farms and a Southern California Edison substation off State Route 62.

If approved by the Commission, the project would be constructed over an 18-month period. The project plans to fire up the first five of eight turbines by March of 2010.The final three are expected to operate beginning in May 2012.

Once built, the CPV Sentinel Energy Project would be available to provide quick-starting capacity, energy and ancillary services to Southern California when electricity demand is high in a region that continues to grow and strains the electricity grid during the hot summer months. Southern California Edison has agreed to buy the power generated from the project.

More information on the CPV Sentinel Energy Project is available at:

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/sentinel/

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