For Immediate Release: January 3, 2014
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989


Commission Committee Holds Conference for
Palen Solar Power Project January 7

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission Committee reviewing the Palen Solar Power Project Amendment will hold a conference on the schedule extension and supplemental record for the amendment request.

When: Tuesday, January 7, 2014, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Hearing Room A, California Energy Commission, 1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California

Those unable to attend the committee conference may participate by telephone and/or by computer. For details, visit:

Why: The purpose of the conference is to allow the Palen Solar Power Project Committee to receive and consider comments from the parties, governmental agencies, and members of the public on the schedule extension granted on December 23, 2013 and the Petitioner's plan to supplement the record on the benefits of the project and avian issues.

In the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision issued on December 13, 2013, the Committee found that the petitioner's requested amendment, similar to the approved solar trough project, will have significant unmitigable impacts to cultural and visual resources. The Committee also found that the amended project will result in significant and unmitigable impacts to biological resources due to the risk of solar flux on avian species. The Committee has recommended denying the project amendment, finding that the totality of the project impacts outweighs the totality of the project benefits.

On December 23, 2013, the Committee granted the petitioner's request to delay the schedule and extended the deadline to submit comments on the PMPD to a date to be determined at its committee conference. The Committee will also hear how the petitioner intends to proceed in gathering and submitting information "relating to potential impacts to avian species and benefits of the project."

After the conference, the Committee will consider the parties' comments, establish the schedule and determine the need for any additional hearings prior to recommending a decision to the full five-member Energy Commission for deliberation and final consideration.

What: In December 2010, the Energy Commission approved the 500-megawatt Palen Solar Power Project, a solar thermal power project using parabolic trough technology. In December 2012, the new project owner, Palen Solar Holdings, LLC filed an amendment with the commission requesting to change the technology to solar power tower.

The petitioner for the amended project now known as the Palen Solar Electric Generating System is Palen Solar Holdings, LLC, a joint venture of BrightSource Energy, Inc. and Abengoa. The amendment proposal consists of two 250-megawatt solar power towers and 170,000 heliostats. Heliostats are elevated mirrors used to focus the sun's rays on a solar receiver that produces steam to generate electricity. The solar receiver would be located atop a 750-foot-tall tower near the center of each solar field.

The Palen project would be located about 10 miles east of Desert Center, halfway between Indio and Blythe, in eastern Riverside County. It is located on 3,794 acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management which is separately reviewing the project.

Commissioner Karen Douglas is the presiding member while Commissioner David Hochschild serves as associate member for the Palen Solar Electric Generating System amendment.

The Palen PMPD can be found here:'s_Proposed_Decision.pdf

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