California Energy Commission Letterhead
 

Notice of Energy Commission Staff Workshop on the Staff Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Calico Solar Project (formerly SES Solar One) (08-AFC-13)

The California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) staff will conduct a workshop on the joint Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Energy Commission Staff Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SA/DEIS) for the Calico Solar Project (formerly Stirling Energy Systems Solar One Project) on April 16, 2010. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the BLM and Energy Commission staff's SA/DEIS. All interested agencies and members of the public are invited to participate. Participants and the public are encouraged to participate via telephone to minimize travel. The workshop will be held:

Friday, April 16, 2010
8:00 a.m.

Hampton Inn and Suites
2710 Lenwood Road
Barstow, CA 92311
(Map to Location)

To Participate Remotely:

Instructions to Connect via Telephone Only (No Computer Access)

  1. Call: 1-866-469-3239
  2. When prompted enter this meeting number: 922 210 115
  3. When it asks for Attendee ID press: #

Instructions to Connect via Computer Logon with a Direct Phone Number

  1. Go to https://energy.webex.com and enter the unique meeting number: 924 968 077
  2. When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password: calico@0416
  3. After you login, a prompt will appear on-screen for you to provide your phone number. In the Number box, type your area code and phone number and click OK to receive a call back on your phone for the audio of the meeting. International callers can use the "Country/Region" button to help make their connection.

Purpose

The BLM and Energy Commission filed the SA/DEIS for the Calico Solar Project (formerly known as the SES Solar One Project) on March 30, 2010. The purpose of this SA/DEIS workshop is for staff to summarize its conclusions and to receive comments from the applicant, public, interveners in the proceeding, and local, state and federal agencies. Environmental and engineering related topics and any outstanding issues will be discussed. Discussions will include all topics contained in the SA/DEIS with a focus on: Air Quality, Biology, Cultural Resources, Land Use, Visual Resources, and Soil and Water Resources. Comments from the workshop and any written communication will be used to revise the SA/DEIS and complete the Supplemental Staff Assessment/Final EIS. Public comments on the SA/DEIS are welcome and encouraged to be submitted in writing by July 1, 2010, to Christopher Meyer, Project Manager, at the address on this letterhead.

Project Description

The proposed project would utilize SunCatcher technology, consisting of approximately 34,000 25-kilowatt solar power dishes with a generating capacity of approximately 850 megawatts (MW). The project is proposed for development in two phases. Phase I includes 11,000 SunCatchers located on approximately 2,320 acres (3.6 square miles) to produce 275 MW. Phase II would include an additional 23,000 SunCatchers on an additional approximately 5,910 acres (9.2 square miles) to produce an additional 575 MW for the total 850 MW planned production. The total area required for both phases, including the area for the operation and administration building, the maintenance building, and the substation building, is approximately 8,230 acres. Each SunCatcher system consists of an approximate 40-foot high by 40-foot wide solar concentrator dish that supports an array of curved glass mirror facets designed to automatically track the sun and focus solar energy onto a Power Conversion Unit which generates electricity.

The new 230-kilovolt (kV) substation for the proposed project would be located approximately in the center of the project site. This new substation would be connected to the existing Southern California Edison (SCE) Pisgah Substation adjacent to the project site via approximately 2-miles (0.14-mile off-site) of single-circuit, 220kV transmission line. In addition to this interconnection transmission line that will be constructed by Calico Solar, LLC, the proposed project would require SCE to expand and upgrade the existing 220kV SCE Pisgah Substation to support the increase in voltage to 500kV, loop the Eldorado-Lugo 500kV line into the SCE Pisgah Substation and demolish 65 miles of the existing Lugo-Pisgah No. 2 220kV transmission line and replace it with 500kV towers and conductor. In addition, modifications within the SCE Eldorado and Lugo substations will be required.

Background

On October 8, 2008, the Energy Commission began review of the project. The Energy Commission has the exclusive authority to certify the construction, modification, and operation of thermal electric power plants 50 MW or larger in California. The Energy Commission certification is in lieu of any permit required by state, regional, or local agencies and federal agencies to the extent permitted by federal law (Pub. Resources Code, Sec. 25500). The Energy Commission must review thermal power plant applications for certification (AFC) to assess potential measures to mitigate identified impacts, and to insure compliance with applicable governmental laws or standards (Pub. Resources Code, Sec. 25519 and Sec. 25523(d)). The Energy Commission is the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), but produces several environmental and decision documents rather than an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). If approved by the Energy Commission, the decision will establish the conditions under which the project shall be constructed, operated, and decommissioned.

Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the BLM is responsible for processing applications for rights-of-way to authorize the proposed project and associated transmission lines and other facilities to be constructed and operated on land it manages. In processing applications, the BLM must comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires that federal agencies consider the environmental impacts associated with the projects they approve.

The purpose of the BLM action is to provide the applicant a decision in processing its application for a right-of-way (ROW) grant for legal use and access of the public lands in San Bernardino County, California managed by the BLM. The need for BLM action is established by the BLM's responsibility under FLPMA, NEPA and other federal laws to respond to Calico Solar's request for a ROW for legal access to construct, operate and decommission a proposed concentrated solar thermal generation plant and related facilities on the public lands. BLM will decide whether or not to grant a ROW, and if so, under what terms and conditions.

The ROW application, if granted, would also create the need for amending the BLM California Desert Conservation Plan (1980 as amended) (CDCP). The purpose of the CDCP amendment is to ensure the public lands are managed according to the principles of multiple use identified in FLPMA while managing valid existing rights and other obligations established. The proposed amendment is necessary to address changing resource demands and technological development proposals on public lands. The CDCP as amended requires (page 95) that "Sites associated with power generation or transmission not identified in the Plan (as is this case) will be considered through the Plan Amendment process."

Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the BLM and the Energy Commission staff are conducting a joint environmental review of the Calico Solar Project in a NEPA/ CEQA process. It is in the interest of the BLM and the Energy Commission to share in the preparation of a joint environmental analysis of the proposed project to avoid duplication of staff efforts, to share staff expertise and information, to promote intergovernmental coordination at the local, state, and federal levels, and to facilitate public review by providing a joint document and a more efficient environmental review process.

Public Participation

The Energy Commission's Public Adviser's Office provides the public with assistance in participating in Commission activities. If you want information on how to participate in this proceeding, please contact the Public Adviser, Jennifer Jennings, at: (916) 654-4489, toll free at (800) 822-6228, by FAX at (916) 654-4493, or by e-mail at public.adviser@energy.state.ca.us. If you have a disability and require assistance to participate, please contact Lourdes Quiroz at lquiroz@energy.state.ca.us or at (916) 654-5146 at least five days in advance of the workshop. If you need Spanish translation services, please contact Christopher Meyer, the Energy Commission Project Manager, at least five days in advance of the workshop.

Questions

General information about the proposed generating facility and related documents are available on the Energy Commission's website at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/calicosolar/index.html or the BLM's website at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/barstow.html. Please direct all news media inquiries to the Energy Commission's media office at (916) 654-4989 or e-mail at mediaoffice@energy.state.ca.us. For technical questions on the subject matter, please contact Christopher Meyer, the Energy Commission Project Manager, at (916) 653-1639 or by e-mail at: cmeyer@energy.state.ca.us or Jim Stobaugh, the BLM Project Manager, at (775) 861-6478 or by e-mail at: jim_stobaugh@blm.gov. If you are unable to attend the workshop, written comments can also be submitted by July 1, 2010, the end of the public comment period on the SA/DEIS.

Date: April 1, 2010

_____________/ SIGNED /____________
Terrence O'Brien, Deputy Director
Siting, Transmission, and Environmental Protection Division