STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Energy Resources
Conservation and Development Commission



In the Matter of:                  )  Docket No. 97-AFC-1 
                                   )
Application for Certification      )  NOTICE OF COMMITTEE
for the High Desert Power Project  )  CONFERENCE -and- ORDER
___________________________________)


I. NOTICE

The Committee conducting proceedings in this matter will hold a public conference on:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 1998
Beginning at 10 a.m.
California Energy Commission
First Floor Hearing Room A
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
[Wheelchair Accessible]


The purpose of this Conference is to provide the parties and interested participants an opportunity to discuss the matters set forth below, as well as any other matters relevant to this case.

Members of the public or interested governmental agencies are invited to attend and participate at this Conference. If you want information concerning public participation, please contact Ms. Roberta Mendonca, the Commission's Public Adviser, at (916) 654-4489 or, toll free in California, at (800) 822-6228. If you require special accommodations, contact Robert Sifuentes at (916) 654-5004.


II. ORDER

Discussions at the second Committee Conference (held April 28, 1998) indicate that substantial deficiencies currently exist in data necessary to conduct an adequate analysis of certain topic areas. Delays in identifying specific emission reduction credits and in obtaining the Preliminary Determination of Compliance (originally scheduled for April 20, 1998) and the transmission system Interconnection Study (previously due April 22, 1998) have also created unanticipated informational voids. Moreover, Applicant's recent (April 9, 1998) addition of a new 26 mile long natural gas pipeline to the project compounds the existing deficiencies, as does the current lack of firm specificity regarding the project's proposed water supply. Finally, the possible necessity of obtaining a hazardous waste treatment facility permit from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has just become apparent (April 21, 1998).

To remedy these problems the Committee believes that, at a minimum, the following actions are necessary. These items will form the basis for discussion at the May 20 Conference.

Air Quality. As agreed at the April 28 Conference, the Applicant shall, by May 7, 1998, inform the Committee of when it will identify, and provide letters of intent for, specific emission reduction credits (ERCs). In addition, Applicant shall, by May 11, 1998, provide the turbine data specified on page 5 of Staff's "Status Report Number Three" (April 24, 1998). Applicant shall also, by May 15, 1998, indicate when it expects the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District to complete processing of the pending banking applications for ERCs pertinent to this project. Finally, Applicant shall explain, in its May 15 filing, any efforts it is undertaking to ensure that eligible ERCs are available in order to allow timely analysis in the Final Staff Assessment.

Hazardous Waste Permit. Applicant and Staff shall, and other parties may, advise the Committee by May 15, 1998 whether a permit from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control is required. If such a permit is required, the parties shall indicate the type required, the time necessary to obtain it, and propose methods for incorporating this permit into the licensing process.

Land Use/Visual. Applicant shall, by May 7, 1998, advise Staff regarding the type and extent of lighting proposed for that portion of the transmission line which will be on airport property. Applicant and Staff shall, and other parties may, by May 7, 1998, inform the Committee concerning the results of the Federal Aviation Administration's review and indicate whether further review by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans Aeronautics) is required. If this latter review is required, the parties shall indicate its scheduling impact, if any.

Natural Gas Pipeline. Staff shall, by May 8, 1998, provide Applicant with a detailed list of the information needed to analyze the natural gas pipeline. Staff shall also, to the extent possible, discuss applicable noticing procedures and any federal environmental review which may be required by the Bureau of Land Management. Applicant shall, by May 15, 1998, inform Staff of when it will provide the necessary information and explain the methods by which it proposes to meet any applicable federal review requirements.

Transmission. The Committee understands that Southern California Edison will complete the interconnection study by May 8, 1998, and that it will include a detailed assessment of the 115 kV system in the Victorville vicinity. The California Independent System Operator will complete its review of this study by May 22, 1998. Staff shall hold a public workshop as soon thereafter as feasible to discuss the transmission topic.

Water Resources. Staff shall, by May 8, 1998, specify the information required to complete analysis of the project's potential water resources impacts. Applicant shall, by May 15, 1998, indicate when it will provide such information.


III. SCHEDULING

All parties agree that it is beneficial to release Staff's partial Preliminary Staff Assessment (PSA) by May 15, 1998. This document will, however, not include a complete analysis of the potential impacts of the air quality, alternatives, land use, public health, transmission line engineering, waste management, or water resources aspects of the project, or of the impacts of the new natural gas pipeline.

At this time, we are unable to schedule further events because of the current lack of this necessary data. While prompt submission of the information specified above will assist in completing the required analysis, substantial delay could seriously jeopardize timely completion of the licensing process, especially insofar as preparation of the legally required Final Staff Assessment is concerned.

To address this problem Staff, in its April 24, 1998 Status Report, suggested use of a "performance" based schedule. Under this mechanism, Applicant would submit required information by a date certain; Staff's final analysis would then be completed within a specified period thereafter. Delay in submitting the data would result in a corresponding delay in producing the final analysis. At the April Conference, Applicant agreed to the concept of such a mechanism.

The parties shall therefore, by May 15, 1998, submit proposed schedules which include, at a minimum, firm dates for submission of the items mentioned above as well as any other information necessary to complete the analyses for the areas of air quality, alternatives, land use, public health, transmission line engineering, waste management, water resources, and for the natural gas pipeline. The proposed schedules should suggest a due date for publication of a complete PSA, and shall specify a due date for the Final Staff Assessment. Given the present information deficiencies, the Committee believes the Applicant's request for biweekly public meetings is somewhat premature; the Committee has, however, taken this request under submission and will discuss it at the Conference.

All responses shall be served upon all other parties and the Commission Docket Unit, MS-4, 1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Responses must be received at the Docket Unit not later than 5:00 p.m. on the appropriate filing date specified above.

Technical questions concerning the project should be addressed to Richard Buell, the Commission's Project Manager, at (916) 653-1614. Questions of a legal or procedural nature should be directed to Stanley Valkosky, the Chief Hearing Officer, at (916) 654-3893. Information concerning the status of the project, as well as notices and other relevant documents, is also available on the Energy Commission's Internet home page at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/highdesert.



Dated: May 6, 1998



ENERGY RESOURCES CONSERVATION
AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION



_____//signed//____
JANANNE SHARPLESS, Commissioner
Presiding Committee Member

Mailed to List: #707