Beacon Solar Energy Project
08-AFC-02 (Application For Certification)
08-AFC-2C (Compliance Proceeding)
Project Status: Licensed; In Compliance Phase
The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on August 25, 2010. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.
Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:
Karen Douglas, Chairman, Presiding Member
Jeffrey D. Byron, Commissioner, Associate Member
Hearing Officer: Ken Celli
- 3/14/08 - Application for Certification (AFC) filed with California Energy Commission
- 5/5/08 - Commission accepts Application for Certification (AFC) as complete.
- 4/1/09 - Commission staff releases Preliminary Staff Assessment.
- 10/22/09 - Commission staff releases Final Staff Assessment.
- 7/20/10 - Committee releases Presiding Member's Proposed Decision.
- 8/25/10 - Commission approves Application For Certification.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT
Beacon Solar, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company is proposing to construct, own and operate the Beacon Solar Energy Project. The project is a concentrated solar electric generating facility proposed on an approximately 2,012-acre site in Kern County, California. The project will use well-established parabolic trough solar thermal technology to produce electrical power using a steam turbine generator (STG) fed from a solar steam generator (SSG). The SSG receives heated heat transfer fluid (HTF) from solar thermal equipment comprised of arrays of parabolic mirrors that collect energy from the sun.
The project will have a nominal electrical output of 250 megawatts (MW) and commercial operation is planned to commence by the third quarter of 2011, subject to timing of regulatory approvals and applicant achievement of project equipment procurement and construction milestones. The solar thermal technology will provide 100 percent of the power generated by the plant; no supplementary energy source (e.g., propane to generate electricity at night) is proposed to be used for electric energy production. The project will utilize two auxiliary boilers fueled by propane to reduce startup time and for HTF freeze protection. The auxiliary boilers will supply steam to the HTF freeze protection heat exchangers during nighttime hours to keep the HTF in a liquid state when ambient temperatures are not sufficient to keep the temperature of the HTF above its relatively high freezing point (54 degrees Fahrenheit). The project will also have a diesel fueled firewater pump for fire protection.
Energy Commission Facility Certification Process
The California Energy Commission is the lead agency (for licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and has a certified regulatory program under CEQA. Under its certified program, the Energy Commission is exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report. Its certified program, however, does require environmental analysis of the project, including an analysis of alternatives and mitigation measures to minimize any significant adverse effect the project may have on the environment.
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