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  IN THE MATTER OF:
                                      )     
  APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATION       )	  DOCKET NO. DOCKET NO. 08-AFC-2
  BEACON SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT         )   	
  BY BEACON SOLAR, LLC                )     
  ____________________________________)

NOTICE OF PUBLIC SITE VISIT AND INFORMATIONAL HEARING

On March 14, 2008, the California Energy Commission received an Application for Certification (AFC) from Beacon Solar, LLC (Beacon Solar), a subsidiary of FPL Energy, LLC. The proposed project is a concentrated solar electric generating facility proposed on an approximately 2,012-acre site in eastern Kern County, California. The project would use established parabolic trough solar thermal technology to produce electrical power using a steam turbine generator fed from a solar steam generator. The solar steam generator receives heated heat transfer fluid from solar thermal equipment comprised of arrays of parabolic mirrors that collect energy from the sun. The project would have a nominal electrical output of 250 megawatts (MW).

The California Energy Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to license this project and is considering the proposal under a twelve-month review process established by Public Resources Code section 25540.6.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Energy Commission has designated a Committee of two commissioners to conduct proceedings on the application. The Committee has scheduled a public Site Visit and Informational Hearing to discuss the proposed project as described below:

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11, 2008
Site Visit begins at 2:00 p.m.
Public Informational Hearing begins at 3:00 p.m.

California City
Council Chambers - City Hall
21000 Hacienda Blvd.
California City, CA 93505

Wheelchair Accessible
(Map)

Prior to the Informational Hearing, members of the public are invited to join the Committee on a tour of the proposed site. The Applicant will provide transportation to the project site from the California City City Hall and back. For reservations, please contact the Energy Commission's Public Adviser's Office at (916) 654-4489 or 1-800-822-6228 or e-mail at: [pao@energy.state.ca.us]. Please make your reservation on or before June 4, 2008, so that we can assure you a space.

Background

On May 7, 2008, the Energy Commission accepted the Beacon Solar Project as data adequate and began its formal review of the proposed project. The review process will take approximately twelve months. During the review period, the Energy Commission will determine whether the proposed project complies with applicable laws related to public health and safety, environmental impacts, and engineering requirements. The Informational Hearing scheduled by this Notice is sponsored by the Energy Commission to inform the public about the project and to invite public participation in the review process.

Project Description

The proposed Beacon Solar Project is a 2,012-acre site in eastern Kern County near the City of California City, California at the western edge of the Mojave Desert. The project site is located along the California State Route (SR)-14 corridor, approximately four miles north-northwest of the northern boundary of California City, approximately 15 miles north of the Town of Mojave, approximately 17 miles north of Edwards Air Force Base, and approximately 24 miles northeast of the City of Tehachapi. Koehn Lake (usually dry) is located approximately five miles to the east-northeast, and Red Rock Canyon State Park is located approximately four miles to the north.

The solar field will encompass approximately 1,244 acres and will utilize solar trough technology. The collector field is made up of a large field of single-axis-tracking parabolic trough solar collectors. The solar field is modular in nature and comprises many parallel rows of solar collectors, aligned on a north-south axis. Each solar collector has a linear parabolic-shaped reflector that focuses the sun's direct normal radiation on a linear receiver known as a heat collection element (HCE) located at the focus of the parabola. The collectors track the sun from east to west during the diurnal cycle to ensure that the sun is continuously focused on the linear receiver. The heat transfer fluid (HTF) is heated up to approximately 740 F as it circulates through the HCEs and returns to a series of heat exchangers where the fluid is used to generate high-pressure steam in the Solar Steam Generator at the power block, which provides steam to the Project's single Steam Turbine Generator.

The project would use a wet cooling tower for power plant cooling. Water for cooling tower makeup, process water makeup, and other industrial uses such as mirror washing, would be supplied from onsite groundwater wells, which also would be used to supply water for employee use (e.g., drinking, showers, sinks, and toilets). A package water treatment system would be used to treat the groundwater to meet potable standards for employee use and a septic system and onsite leach field would be used to dispose of sanitary wastewater.

It is estimated that the project would use approximately 1,600-acre feet per year of groundwater. According to pumping test data provided in the AFC, groundwater supply wells on the plant site have sufficient capacity (at least 2,000 gallons per minute) to meet the project's water supply requirements. According to the AFC, the project's groundwater usage would slow down (by less than 20 percent) the rate of groundwater level recovery in the area over recent years which has resulted from the cessation of agricultural activities on and around the project site.

The project's solar thermal technology would provide 100 percent of the power generated by the plant; no supplementary energy source (e.g., natural gas combustion to generate electricity) is proposed. The project would utilize two auxiliary boilers fueled by natural gas to reduce startup time and to keep the temperature of the heat transfer fluid above its relatively high freezing point (54 degrees Fahrenheit (F)). To provide fuel to the boilers, a new 17.6-mile, eight-inch gas pipeline will be constructed (entirely within already-disturbed rights of way) to connect the project to an existing Southern California Gas Company pipeline west of California City.

Beacon Solar has filed an electrical interconnection request for the project with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). LADWP's 230 kilovolt (kV) Barren Ridge Switching Station is located across California State Route 14 (SR-14) approximately 1.5 miles southwest of the project site. Beacon Solar is seeking approval of the following two similar options for interconnecting the project to LADWP's transmission system, only one of which would eventually be built:

Option 1: Construction of a new, approximately 3.5-mile 230 kV transmission line (approximately 1.6 miles within the 2,012-acre plant site boundary), that would run west from the power block across SR-14 and south across private property to the Barren Ridge Switching Station.

Option 2: Construction of a new, approximately 2.3-mile 230 kV transmission line (approximately 1.6 miles within the plant site boundary), that would run west across SR-14 to a new project switching station to be constructed at the location where the project's transmission line first meets LADWP's existing transmission right-of-way (ROW). A second, 230 kV transmission line slightly over one mile long would then be constructed east of and adjacent to the existing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power ROW from the new project switching station down to the Barren Ridge Switching Station.

Both options are being pursued at this time because a final route cannot be selected until the System Impact Study and Facilities Study are completed by LADWP, a more detailed design is completed, and the associated transmission line route easements are secured for the option selected.

If approved, Beacon Solar plans to begin project construction in the third quarter of 2009 and take approximately 25 months for project completion. Commercial operation is planned for the third quarter of 2011.

The engineering and environmental details of the proposed project are contained in the AFC. Copies of the AFC are available at the local public agencies that are involved in the review process and at the following libraries: California City Branch of the Kern County Library, Mojave Branch of the Kern County Library, Wanda Kirk Branch of the Kern County Library, Ridgecrest Branch of the Kern County Library.

Copies are also available at the Energy Commission's Library in Sacramento, the California State Library in Sacramento, and at public libraries in Eureka, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In addition, copies will be distributed to those public agencies that would normally have jurisdiction except for the Energy Commission's exclusive authority to certify sites and related facilities.

Purpose of the Informational Hearing

The power plant licensing process, which incorporates requirements equivalent to the environmental impact report process of the California Environmental Quality Act, considers all relevant engineering and environmental aspects of the proposed project. The licensing review provides a public forum allowing the Applicant, Commission staff, governmental agencies, adjacent landowners, and members of the general public to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the project, and to propose changes, mitigation measures, and alternatives as necessary.

The Informational Hearing scheduled in this Notice provides an opportunity for members of the community in the project vicinity to obtain information, to offer comments, and to view the project site. The Applicant will explain plans for developing the project and the related facilities. Energy Commission staff will explain the administrative licensing process and Staff's role in reviewing the application.

Proposed Schedule and Issue Identification Report

To assist participants in understanding the project, Applicant and Staff shall each file a proposed schedule for conducting the certification process, and Staff shall file an Issue Identification Report ("Report") summarizing any potential issues. The proposed schedules and Staff's Report shall be filed no later than 3 p.m., May 30, 2008. At the Informational Hearing, the parties shall indicate whether anticipated data responses would resolve issues of concern which may be raised in Staff's Report.

Copies of these documents will be posted on the Energy Commission's Internet web page at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/beacon/index.html.

Public Adviser and Public Participation

Members of the public may participate in all aspects of the review process in a variety of ways. The Commission's Public Adviser's Office is available to assist the public in participating in the licensing process. This office may be reached at 916-654-4489 or 800-822-6228 or email: [pao@energy.state.ca.us].

If you have a disability and need assistance to participate in this event, contact Lourdes Quiroz well in advance of the hearing at 916-654-5146 or e-mail: [lquiroz@energy.state.ca.us].

Information

Technical questions concerning the project should be addressed to Bill Pfanner, Energy Commission Project Manager, at (916) 654-4206, or by e-mail at [bpfanner@energy.state.ca.us].

Questions of a legal or procedural nature should be directed to Kenneth Celli, the Hearing Officer, at (916) 651-8893, or e-mail: [kcelli@energy.state.ca.us].

Media inquiries should be directed to Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director for Media and Public Communications at (916) 654-4989 or e-mail at: [mediaoffice@energy.state.ca.us].

Information concerning the status of the project, as well as notices and other relevant documents, may be viewed on the Energy Commission's Internet web page at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/beacon/index.html.


Dated: May 9, 2008, at Sacramento, California.



________/signed/_______
KAREN DOUGLAS
Commissioner and Presiding Member
Beacon Solar Energy Power Plant AFC Committee

 

________/signed/_______
JEFFREY D. Byron
Commissioner and Associate Member
Beacon Solar Energy Power Plant AFC Committee


Mailed to Lists POS, 7285, 7286, 7287, 7288

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