For Immediate Release: March 18, 2010
Media Contact: Michele Demetras - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Joint Staff Assessment/Environmental Impact Statement
Released for Palen Solar Project in Riverside County



SACRAMENTO - The staff of the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released a joint staff assessment/draft environmental impact statement (SA/DEIS) for the Palen Solar Power Project. The project is being jointly developed by Solar Millennium, LLC, and Chevron Energy Solutions.

The 484-megawatt facility, to be located near Palen Dry Lake in Riverside County, would help meet California's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

While not a final decision on the project, the SA/DEIS will serve as commission staff's testimony and recommended mitigation measures during the evidentiary hearings phase on the proposed project. The joint SA/DEIS for the Palen Solar Project is now available for public comment until late-June, 2010.

A notice of availability (NOA) for the SA/DEIS is being posted and distributed by the BLM and will be published in the Federal Register.

The Energy Commission will conduct evidentiary hearings at a later date and Commission staff/BLM will publish a supplemental staff assessment/final environmental impact statement (SAA/FEIS). The Energy Commission will then publish the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD). The PMPD will be available for public review and comment, after which the full Commission renders a final decision and the federal government issues its record of decision and land use plan amendment on the proposed project. If the project is approved, BLM will issue a right-of-way grant to the applicant and implement its plan amendment. The decisions are currently expected this year.

The Energy Commission and the BLM jointly review solar thermal projects of 50 megawatts and greater proposed on public land managed by the BLM. The Commission is the lead permitting agency under the California Environmental Quality Act. The BLM is the lead permitting agency under the National Environmental Policy Act.

If approved, the project will utilize solar parabolic trough technology to generate electricity. With this technology, arrays of parabolic mirrors collect heat energy from the sun and refocus the radiation on a receiver tube located at the focal point of the parabola. A transfer fluid is heated to approximately 750 degrees Fahrenheit as it circulates through the receiver tubes, then piped through a series of heat exchangers where it releases stored heat to generate high-pressure steam. The steam is fed to a traditional steam turbine generator where electricity is produced. The 5,200 acre project site is located approximately 10 miles east of Desert Center, along Interstate 10, approximately halfway between the cities of Indio and Blythe in Riverside County.

For additional details on the Palen Solar Project SA/DEIS, click on: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_palen/

For more information on Governor Schwarzenegger's Executive Order to advance the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards, go to: http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/13273



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