For Immediate Release: July 7, 2010
Media Contact: Michele Demetras - 916-654-4989


Supplemental Staff Assessment Released for
Imperial Valley Solar Project

Sacramento - The staff of the California Energy Commission today released its supplemental staff assessment (SSA) for the proposed Imperial Valley Solar Energy Project.

The SSA serves as the Energy Commission staff's final environmental and engineering evaluation of the proposed 750-megawatt facility in western Imperial County, California. The 6,500 acre project site is located on approximately 6,140 acres of federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and approximately 360 acres of privately owned land.

The document is not a decision or proposed decision on the planned facility. It contains the staff's testimony at the evidentiary hearings on the project to be scheduled by the hearing officer and the committee of two commissioners reviewing the proposed project. Evidentiary hearings scheduled for July 26 and 27, 2010, will focus on air quality, alternatives, biological resources, and soil and water resources. A further hearing scheduled for August 16, 2010 will include cultural analysis. The committee of two commissioners reviewing the project will then release the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD). The PMPD will be available for public review and comment before the full Commission renders a final decision on the proposed project.

The SSA was released after public hearings and at the end of the public comment period for the staff assessment (SA) released on February 12, 2010. The workshops provided an opportunity for various government agencies, the public, and other interested parties to present questions and comments on the SA. Based on the workshop dialogue, written comments received regarding the document, and additional information gathered, the Energy Commission staff revised the SA where appropriate for the SSA.

The analysis complies with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 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 primary equipment for the generating facility would include the approximately 30,000 25-kilowatt solar dish Stirling systems SunCatchers, consisting of a solar receiver heat exchanger and a closed-cycle, high-efficiency engine specifically designed to convert solar power to rotary power then driving an electrical generator to produce grid-quality electricity. With a capacity to generate 750 megawatts of electricity, the facility would help meet California's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The SSA is now open to public comment and is available at:

For more information on Governor Schwarzenegger's Executive Order to advance the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard, go to:

# # #