California Energy Commission Letterhead
 

Notice of Issue Resolution Workshop for the
Beacon Solar Energy Project
(08-AFC-2)

The California Energy Commission staff will conduct an Issue Resolution Workshop for the proposed Beacon Solar Energy Project. The purpose is to discuss potential project-related impacts to desert tortoise, Mohave ground squirrel, and other species of special concern. All interested agencies and members of the public are invited to participate. The workshop will be held:

MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 2008
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Lunch Break: 1:00 to 1:30 p.m.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office
2493 Portola Road, Suite B
Ventura, CA 93003
(Wheelchair Accessible)
(Map to Location)

To participate in the meeting by telephone, please call 1-888-693-8686.
Conference ID: 2824463
(Calls should be received at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.)

Purpose

The Energy Commission Staff is currently analyzing the Application for Certification (AFC) for the Beacon Solar Energy Project. Staff has provided the applicant with one set of data requests, dated June 16, 2008, which contained several requests for biological resource information. These issues were briefly discussed at the Staff Data Response and Issue Resolution Workshop, held on July 22, 2008 in California City. However, all parties could not be present and issues regarding potential impacts to desert tortoise, Mohave ground squirrel, and other special status species and development of mitigations and conditions of certification for these impacts were not resolved. The staff workshop will focus on issues identified in the June 16, 2008, data requests and the applicant's application for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) from the California Department of Fish and Game, with particular emphasis on the desert tortoise, Mohave ground squirrel, burrowing owl, migratory birds, and the proposed Raven Monitoring Plan. (See the Energy Commission project website for access to all referenced documents at http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/beacon/index.html.)

This will be the first of at least two Staff Issue Resolution and/or Data Response Workshops to discuss potential project-related biological resource impacts.

Background

On March 14, 2008, the California Energy Commission received an Application for Certification from Beacon Solar, LLC, (Applicant), a subsidiary of FPL Energy. The proposed project is a concentrated solar electric generating facility to be sited on approximately 2,012 acres in eastern Kern County, California. The project would use 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 transfer fluid from solar thermal equipment comprised of arrays of parabolic mirrors that collect energy from the sun.

On April 11, 2008, the Applicant submitted an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) Application to the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) for the Beacon Solar Energy Project (Project). The ITP Application addressed potential project-related impacts to the desert tortoise (listed as threatened by CDFG and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]) and Mohave ground squirrel (listed as threatened by CDFG), and made recommendations to fully mitigate for those impacts (see the CDFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/habcon/cesa/incidental/incid_perm_proced.html for a description of the Incidental Take Permit Process, in accordance with Sections 2081(b) and (c) of the California Endangered Species Act).

The CDFG responded to the Application with requests for clarification and additional information. Staff from the Energy Commission and the USFWS also requested more information on the ITP Application and other biological resource issues discussed in the AFC. These requests for information prompted conference calls on May 21st and June 9th with the Applicant and staff from the Energy Commission, CDFG, and USFWS. One of the outcomes of those calls was a request to prepare a raven monitoring and control plan, which the Applicant submitted to the Energy Commission on July 17, 2008. However, substantive issues regarding impacts and mitigation for desert tortoise and Mohave ground squirrel were not resolved in the course of the conference calls, or at the Staff Data Response and Issue Resolution Workshop held on July 22, 2008 in California City.

Public Participation

The Energy Commission's Public Adviser provides the public with assistance in participating in Energy Commission activities. If you want information on how to participate in this proceeding, please contact the Public Adviser's Office at (916) 654-4489 or toll free at (800) 822-6228, by FAX at (916) 654-4493, or by email at pao@energy.state.ca.us. If you have a disability and require assistance to participate, please contact Lou Quiroz at (916) 654-5146 at least five days in advance.

Questions and Access to Information

General information and documents on the proposed project are available on the Energy Commission's website at http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/beacon/index.html. Please direct all news media inquiries to Susanne Garfield, Assistant Executive Director, at (916) 654-4989 or email mediaoffice@energy.state.ca.us. For general or technical questions on the subject matter, please contact Shaelyn Strattan, Project Manager, at (916) 651-0966 or email mstratta@energy.state.ca.us. If you are unable to attend the workshop, written comments may be sent to the staff's project manager electronically or to the Energy Commission's street address shown on the letterhead of this Notice.

Date: August 14, 2008

TERRENCE O'BRIEN, Deputy Director
Energy Facilities Siting Division