For Immediate Release: October 22, 2009
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Final Staff Assessment Released for the Proposed
Beacon Solar Power Project in Kern County

Sacramento The staff of the California Energy Commission believes that the proposed 250-megawatt Beacon Solar Energy Project (BSEP) in Eastern Kern County can be permitted and constructed in a manner that would allow it to comply with environmental laws and state policies.

This can be achieved with the adoption of staff's recommended mitigation measures and the BSEP's incorporation of one of several feasible alternatives to the project's planned use of potable water for cooling, according to the Commission's Final Staff Assessment (FSA) of the proposed facility.

The alternatives include the use of proven technology of using an air cooled condenser (the equipment includes very large fans) which does not require the use of water for the cooling process, or the use of tertiary treated wastewater obtained from either the Rosamond Community Services District or California City.

Additionally, if the Commission agrees with staff's conclusions about the project's potentially immitigable impacts to visual resources, then the project will require an "override" by the Commission, in order to comply with environmental laws, according to the FSA.

In the FSA, staff has identified an adverse significant impact to visual resources with no feasible mitigation. Staff also identified specific benefits of the project that could support a statement of overriding considerations by the Commission and the facility's potential approval.

The FSA is available at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/beacon/documents/

The FSA is not a final decision on the proposed project. It is the Commission staff's final and independent evaluation of the environmental, engineering and public health and safety impacts of the proposed solar thermal power plant. It will serve as staff's testimony at an evidentiary hearing in Kern County after 30 days of public comment and community workshops on the document.

The Beacon Solar Power Project is a concentrated solar electric generating facility proposed by Beacon Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light Energy. The plant will sit on a 2000 plus acre site at the western edge of the Mojave Desert four miles from California City and 15 miles north of the town of Mojave.

The project would use parabolic trough solar thermal technology to produce electrical power from a steam turbine generator, fed from a heat exchanger.

If licensed by the Energy Commission, the solar thermal facility will begin construction in mid- to late 2010, with commercial operations beginning in approximately the fourth quarter of 2012.

More information on the BSEP is available at:
www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/beacon/

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