Black Rock 1, 2, and 3 Geothermal
Power Project

Docket Number:

02-AFC-02 (Application For Certification)
02-AFC-2C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Licensed; Construction on Hold

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on December 17, 2003. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

William J. Keese, Chairman, Presiding Member

Robert Pernell, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Garret Shean

Please note: the official name of this project has been changed from the "Salton Sea Geothermal Unit 6 Power Project" to "Black Rock 1, 2, and 3 Geothermal Power Project" to more closely describe the proposed design of the project, as detailed in the applicant's Petition to Amend the Commission's license for the project.

Key Dates

  • 7/29/02 - Applicant files Application For Certification (AFC).
  • 9/25/02 - Commission finds project to be "data adequate," which begins formal licensing process.
  • 4/14/03 - Commission staff issues its Preliminary Staff Assessment.
  • 8/5/03 - Commission staff issues Part 1 of Final Staff Assessment.
  • 9/29/03 - Commission staff issues Part 2 of Final Staff Assessment.
  • 11/14/03 - Project Committee issues its Presiding Member's Proposed Decision.
  • 12/17/03 - Energy Commission grants license to Salton Sea Geothermal Project
  • 12/19/07 - Commencement of Construction Extended to December 18, 2011
  • 12/14/11 - Commencement of Construction Extended to December 18, 2014

Please Note: The applicant, CE Obsidian Energy, LLC has amended its license for the Salton Sea Unit 6 Geothermal Power Plant to allow for the construction of three smaller geothermal plants totaling 159 MW net of generating capacity. The Major Amendment Petition is available on our website on a NEW proceeding page (docket 02-AFC-2C) at:


On July 29, 2002, CE Obsidian Energy filed an Application For Certification (AFC) seeking expedited approval from the California Energy Commission to construct and operate a geothermal steam turbine electric generating facility. The project is proposed for an 80-acre parcel located six miles northwest of Calipatria, within the unincorporated area of Imperial County, California. The new geothermal power facility would generate approximately 185 megawatts (MW).

The project would consist of a resource production facility (RPF), a power generation facility (PGF), a new 161 kV switchyard, and ancillary facilities including ten geothermal production wells, seven brine injection wells, and two electrical transmission lines. The RPF, the PGF, two production wells, and two of the injection wells would be contained within the project site. The remaining wells will be located off-site. Cooling and potable water for the project would be supplied by Imperial Irrigation District from an existing canal approximately 500 feet from the project site via a buried 10-inch pipe, and treated on-site. Annual water use is estimated at 293 acre-feet. The plant is planned to insure that no wastewater will leave the site.

The transmission system would consist of two separate lines, totalling 31 miles, connecting the project with separate segments of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) transmission system. Both lines will be built as 230 kV, and operated at 161 kV.

The Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (KGRA) encompasses 100,887 acres, with only 4,808 acres currently developed. The proposed project would develop another 3,180 acres. The Salton Sea KGRA currently sustains 10 electricity generation projects, delivering approximately 326 MW of power, and the proposed project would bring the total to 511 MW of a 680 MW proven reserve.

Energy Commission Facility Certification Process

The California Energy Commission is the lead agency (for licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and has a certified regulatory program under CEQA. Under its certified program, the Energy Commission is exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report. Its certified program, however, does require environmental analysis of the project, including an analysis of alternatives and mitigation measures to minimize any significant adverse effect the project may have on the environment.

For Questions About This Siting Case Contact:

For Questions About Participation In Siting Cases Contact:

Public Adviser
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-12 Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-654-4489
Toll-Free in California: 1-800-822-6228

News Media Please Contact:

Media & Public Communications Office
Phone: 916-654-4989