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The Final Staff Assessment (FSA) has recently been completed and contains the California Energy Commission staff's environmental and engineering evaluation of the Blythe Energy Project Phase II (BEP II). The BEP II Application for Certification (AFC) was filed by the applicant Caithness Blythe II, LLC on February 19, 2002. The project AFC was amended in May 2002 to relocate the BEP II structures to the adjacent parcel and again in July of 2002 to reconfigure the evaporation ponds. On April 21, 2004, the applicant filed a Revision to Section 2.0 (Project Description) of the AFC to make minor changes to the project description and modify the description of the electrical transmission system connection.

The BEP II site is located within the City of Blythe, approximately five miles west of the center of the City and one mile east of the Blythe Airport. BEP II is a nominally rated 520 megawatt (MW) combined-cycle electric power plant, consisting of two combustion turbine generators (CTGs), one 180 MW steam turbine generator and supporting equipment. The proposed project is adjacent to the operating Blythe Energy Project (BEP I). BEP I is owned and operated by Florida Power and Light. The BEP II power facilities would be located on the western 76 acres of the 152-acre BEP I site.

Caithness Blythe II has filed a request with the Western Area Power Administration (Western) to connect the proposed BEP II power plant with the regional transmission grid at the existing Buck Boulevard Substation. Western is proposing modifications at its Buck Boulevard Substation to accommodate the transmission system connection to the proposed power plant. Because BEP II has proposed to connect to Western's power system, the interconnection request triggers a Federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process in addition to the Energy Commission's California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) permitting process. Along with being the NEPA lead agency, Western is also the lead Federal agency for compliance with the National Historic Preservation and Endangered Species acts.

The Preliminary Staff Assessment (PSA) was published on November 14, 2003. The PSA concluded that there was insufficient information for staff to determine if the project would conform with all applicable Laws, Ordinances, Regulations, and Standards (LORS), and whether the project's potential impacts on public health and safety, the environment, and the regional transmission system would be adequately mitigated.

Energy Commission staff conducted PSA Workshops in Blythe on January 26, 2005, and in Sacramento on February 15, 2005. Written PSA comments received from local, state, and federal agencies, and concerned citizens, along with staff's response to each,

have been included in this FSA. Written and verbal comments from the applicant and intervenors were carefully considered and incorporated into the analysis where appropriate. The FSA is staff's testimony for evidentiary hearings that will be held later this year.

The FSA was published on April 29, 2005. Agencies and members of the public are encouraged to participate in the FSA's review process. Written comments are appreciated by May 27, 2005. You may also present your views at the evidentiary hearings.

This document is available on the Internet (see below). However, if you would like a paper copy of the FSA, please fill out the enclosed form and return it to California Energy Commission, Attention: Evelyn Johnson, Siting Project Secretary, or contact Evelyn Johnson at (916) 653-1640 or by e-mail at (ejohnson@energy.state.ca.us).

If you desire information on how to participate in the Energy Commission's review of the project, please contact Ms. Margret Kim, the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, at (916) 654-4489 or toll free in California at (800) 822-6228. Technical or project schedule questions should be directed to Bill Pfanner, Energy Commission Project Manager, at (916) 654-4206 or at (bpfanner@energy.state.ca.us). The status of the project, an electronic copy of the application for certification, the PSA, the FSA, copies of notices, and other relevant documents are also available on the Energy Commission's web site at www.energy.ca.gov/siting cases/blythe2/index.html. News media inquiries should be directed to Assistant Executive Director, Claudia Chandler, at (916) 654-4989.


Siting and Compliance Office Manager

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