For Immediate Release: March 11, 2009
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989


Review starts for solar thermal-biomass facility

SACRAMENTO - The official review has started for what is believed to be the first solar thermal-biomass hybrid electric generating facility in the state.

The California Energy Commission, by a vote of 4-0 today found the application for certification of the 106.8-megawatt San Joaquin Solar 1&2 hybrid power plant project "data adequate."

This means the Commission has received enough information from the applicant for the two plants, a wholly owned subsidiary of Martifer --a Portugal-based renewable electricity producer -- to start the yearlong certification process.

The Commission has named Commissioner Julia Levin to lead the Committee to review the project. Commission Vice Chairman James D. Boyd is the associate member.

The committee makes sure the project meets the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. The Energy Commission is responsible for reviewing thermal electric power plants, 50 MW and greater in California.

As lead agency under CEQA, the Commission through its facility certification process examines public health and safety, environmental impacts, and engineering aspects of proposed power plants and all related facilities, such as electric transmission lines and natural gas and water pipelines.

The project will be located six miles east of the City of Coalinga in Fresno County. It will be comprised of-two hybrid plants with a solar field and a biomass facility capable of producing 53.4 MW net of solar electricity each. During nighttime and periods of cloud cover, the solar production will be supplemented by the biomass facility fueled by agricultural wood waste.

If approved by the Commission, the project is expected to be on line by the first quarter of 2011.

More information on the proposed plant is available at:

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