For Immediate Release: September 27, 2010
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Proposed Decision Recommends License for Calico Solar Project

SACRAMENTO - A California Energy Commission siting committee is recommending approval of the planned Calico Solar Project in San Bernardino County.

In its presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) released Saturday, the committee recommended the proposed 663.5-megawatt scenario presented by the project's applicant. The project, even with mitigation measures, will have significant environmental impacts in the areas of cultural resources, land use, and visual resources. However, the benefits of the project would override those impacts. In addition, the committee determined that the project complies with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards.

The proposed decision for the Calico Solar Project was based solely on the record of facts, which were established during the facility's certification proceeding.

The PMPD is not a final decision on the project. The committee released the document for 30 days of public comment and will consider input before bringing the proposed decision to the full five-member Commission. The entire document can be found on the Commission's website at:

The Calico Solar Project is being developed by Calico Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of Tessera Solar, in San Bernardino County on approximately 4,613 acres of land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management. The project site is near Interstate 40 approximately 37 miles east of Barstow and 17 miles east of Newberry Springs.

The project initially had been proposed as an 850-MW facility on 8,230 acres, but Calico Solar, LLC had worked with Commission staff to reduce it to 6,215 acres. Even so, the siting committee couldn't recommend approval of the proposed project because of the scope and scale of high quality habitat affecting desert tortoise and bighorn sheep that would be affected. The committee required the applicant present additional reduced footprint alternatives that minimized the project's impacts on environmental resources, primarily the desert tortoise.

The primary equipment for the generating facility would be solar dish Stirling systems, or "SunCatchers." Each SunCatcher consists of a solar receiver heat exchanger and a closed-cycle, high-efficiency engine designed to convert solar power to rotary power, then driving an electrical generator to produce electricity.

The Calico Solar Project is among nine large solar thermal projects scheduled to go before the full Commission before the end of the year. More than 4,100 megawatts of solar power will be added if all nine projects are approved.

The four plants that have already have been licensed are: the 250-MW Beacon Solar Energy Project (Aug. 25); the 250-MW Abengoa Mojave Solar Project (Sept. 8); the 1,000-MW Blythe Solar Power Project (Sept. 15); and the 370-MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project (Sept. 22). Two projects, the 250-MW Genesis Solar Energy Project and the 709-MW Imperial Valley Solar Project, are scheduled for a vote at the Sept. 29 meeting. Two other projects, the 500-MW Palen Solar Power Project and the 150-MW Rice Solar Energy Project, are still under review.

The federal government and the State of California have established the need to increase the development and use of renewable energy in order to enhance the nation's energy independence, meet environmental goals, and create new economic growth opportunities.

More information on the proposed project is at:

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