For Immediate Release: November 21, 2008
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989


Attention Editors:
Preliminary Staff Assessment out on Carrizo Energy Solar Farm

What: The staff of the California Energy Commission has released its Preliminary Staff Assessment (PSA) of the 177-megawatt Carrizo Energy Solar Farm proposed for eastern San Luis Obispo County.

When: Today, Friday, November 21, 2008. The PSA is available on the Energy Commission's Website at:

What: In its PSA, staff identifies six technical areas related to the planned facility with either a significant, unmitigated impact or have outstanding issues that need to be resolved by way of additional data, further discussion and analysis. These areas include Traffic and Transportation, Noise and Vibration, Biological Resources, Land Use, Soil and Water Resources and Visual Resources. Otherwise, the PSA indicates that the project as currently proposed would comply with all other applicable laws, ordinances and regulations and standards (LORS) and that environmental impacts would be less than significant.

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 San Luis Obispo County by the committee of two commissioners reviewing the case.

Why: If licensed by the Energy Commission, the Carrizo Energy Solar Farm would be developed on 640 acres in eastern San Luis Obispo County, California, immediately adjacent to California State Route 58 (SR-58/Carrisa Highway) and about three miles west of Simmler. The applicant proposes to begin construction in 2009 and begin operation with a portion of its ultimate capacity by 2010. The applicant hopes to achieve full commercial operation by 2012. The Commission began review of the proposed plant's application from Ausra Energy of Oakland on December 19, 2007. The project will incorporate Ausra's proprietary method of concentrating solar energy on pipes in an elevated receiver. The solar energy will boil water within a row of specially coated stainless steel pipes in an insulated cavity to produce saturated steam for the steam turbine generators. Steam used by the turbines would be condensed back to water and returned for reuse to the solar field.

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