For Immediate Release: December 14, 2011
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission to Review Application for Power Plant Exemption for Santa Clara Data Center

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today voted to review an application for a small power plant exemption (SPPE) for a Santa Clara data center.

Xeres Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of DuPont Fabros Technologies, LP submitted an application to complete the second phase of the Santa Clara SC-1 Data Center. The 16 backup diesel generators would have the capacity to generate 36 megawatts (MWs).

The first phase of the data center, which is located at 555 Reed Street in Santa Clara, currently operates with 16 backup generators with a capacity of 36 MWs. When completed, the project would have 32 backup generators able to produce 72 MWs.

The data center relies on the local grid system for its electrical needs. The backup generators are not connected to the grid. The generators are used only if a power outage occurs.

Commissioner Karen Douglas will serve as the presiding member for the committee reviewing the project, while Commissioner Carla Peterman will be the associate member.

The city of Santa Clara, as lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), prepared an initial study and issued a mitigated negative declaration for the project in March 2008. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Energy Commission's authority to permit power plants required Xeres Ventures, LLC to seek authorization for the second phase of the project, which will increase the generation beyond the 50 MW threshold. The Energy Commission licenses thermal power plants 50 MWs and larger.

If a power plant project is between 50 and 100 MWs, the Commission may exempt it from its review process under an SPPE. However, the Commission must conduct an environmental analysis that finds that a proposed project would result in no substantial adverse impacts to the environment or energy resources.

With an SPPE, an applicant would be responsible for obtaining all necessary local, state, and federal permits to build and operate a proposed power plant. Local and state agencies would use the Energy Commission's environmental document when issuing their respective permits for a proposed project in line with CEQA.

More information about the project is available at:

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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