For Immediate Release: January 21, 2010
Media Contact: 916-654-4989
Attention Editors and environmental reporters
First-time public meeting to tackle issues affecting
large solar thermal projects
What: Senior state and federal representatives will hold a first-time public meeting to discuss issues affecting the permitting of nine large solar thermal projects. The projects under review at the Energy Commission or jointly with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management seek licenses in time for federal grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
When: Friday, January 22, 2010, starting at 9:30 am
Where: Hearing Room A, California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California.
The public and all interested parties unable to join in person are urged to take part by WebEx or telephone. For more information to participate, please go to:
Why: Developers of the nine renewable projects, now in various stages of review will present the status of each facility, and identify critical issues related to water use, land use, cultural resources or the presence of threatened or endangered plants and wildlife species affecting the ongoing analyses of the facilities. The nine solar thermal projects are: the 400-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station; the 250 MW Ford Dry Lake (Genesis) project; the 250 MW Beacon Solar Energy project; the 850 MW Calico project (Solar One); the 750 MW Imperial Valley Project (Solar Two); the 250 MW Abengoa Mojave Solar Project; the 1 gigawatt Blythe Project; the 500 MW Palen project; and the 250 MW Ridgecrest project.
Who: Members of the Renewable Energy Policy Group will lead the public meeting. They are: Steve Black, counselor to U. S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar; Janea Scott, special assistant to Black; Michael Picker and Manal Yamout, senior advisers on renewable energy facilities for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Tony Brunello, deputy secretary for climate chance for the California Resources Agency. The group was formed as a result of an agreement between Governor Schwarzenegger and Secretary Salazar to merge efforts in identifying and removing obstacles to the review of renewable energy projects in CaliforniaŐs desert areas.
Also expected at the meeting are Bob Abbey, director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; Karen Douglas, chairman of the California Energy Commission; Commissioner Jeff Byron, presiding member of the Energy CommissionŐs facilities siting committee; and members of state and federal agencies serving as the Renewable Energy Action Team.
Significance of this meeting: This is the first public forum that provides an opportunity to have a single view of all the major renewable projects under review at the Energy Commission that included several with the Bureau of Land Management. This joint review process is providing the consistency of environmental assessment and mitigation requirements and will help achieve conforming decisions within 12 months of receiving complete applications. The public meeting will identify the permitting issues that must be resolved for utility-scale renewable energy projects so that agencies and developers have a clear, take-away punch list of products they will need to complete to help them meet a critical federal stimulus milestone to be eligible to receive a federal grant in lieu of a tax credit.
The Governor's news release and a list of all 244 proposed projects is available at http://www.energy.ca.gov/33by2020/documents/index.html
Background: Renewable energy projects are essential for meeting the goals of AB 32 and the GovernorŐs target of 33% renewable energy by 2020. To make this happen CaliforniaŐs energy system must include large and small-scale renewable energy facilities. Numerous large and small-scale facilities are being proposed in the sun-rich desert region and are already moving through the federal, state and local agency review process. This process balances environmental impacts with economic development, however; given the complexity and size of the projects the agencies and developer must work together to resolve any issues that threaten the timely review. Following the GovernorŐs Executive Order to streamline CaliforniaŐs renewable energy permitting process and increase the stateŐs renewable energy goals, the California Energy Commission and the California Department of Fish and Game formed a cooperative relationship with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, called the Renewable Energy Action Team (REAT). This was a first-of-its-kind agreement to move CaliforniaŐs renewable energy development forward. The REAT is reviewing the proposed facilities that have submitted their applications to help meet the Recovery Act deadline. The Energy Commission has also prioritized renewable projects that are not on federal lands and is moving quickly to review their applications.
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