California Energy Commission Letterhead
 

SUPPLEMENTAL NOTICE OF PUBLIC WORKSHOPS

REGARDING THE PROPOSED
RIDGECREST SOLAR POWER PROJECT (09-AFC-9)

The workshops will be held on TWO separate days:
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 and Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Starting at 8:00am on both days

Ridgecrest City Hall
Council Chambers
100 West California Avenue
Ridgecrest, CA 93555

(Wheelchair Accessible)
(Map to Location)

To participate in either or both meetings by telephone,
please call: 1-888-282-1744 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada)
Enter pass code: 23143

Purpose

This notice is to inform you that the Energy Commission staff and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff will jointly hold two workshops to discuss the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project (RSPP) Application for Certification (09-AFC-9) and to encourage public participation, as it relates to the proposed RSPP and the agencies respective permitting processes. The workshops will provide an opportunity for agencies, members of the public and other interested parties to present questions and comments on the RSPP. All interested agencies and members of the public are invited to participate. This notice is a supplement to the related notice issued by the BLM which can also be found on the BLM website: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ridgecrest.html. Both of these workshops are separate from and in addition to the "Site Visit and Informational Hearing/Scoping Meetings" that have also been publicly noticed.

Based upon the dialogue from this workshop and future workshops, written comments received regarding the RSPP, and additional information that will be gathered, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff will cooperate with the Energy Commission staff to prepare a joint environmental document to satisfy the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Background

On September 1, 2009, the California Energy Commission received an Application for Certification (AFC) from Solar Millennium LLC for the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project (RSPP). Solar Millennium LLC has also applied to the BLM for a right-of-way on public lands to construct the RSPP. The project is proposed to be developed on a 3,920-acre site, administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The project site is located in northeastern Kern County, along U.S Highway 395, just west of the China Lake Boulevard exit. The site is approximately four miles southwest of Ridgecrest, California. The community of Ridgecrest is at the southwestern boundary of China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS).

The applicant's basic process for solar electric power generation would be to utilize parabolic trough solar collectors to concentrate solar energy onto heat collection elements (HCE) that contain a fluid, referred to as heat transfer fluid (HTF). After being warmed in the solar troughs, the HTF would be run through a heat exchanger where it would convert water into steam. In the next stage, the steam would be converted into electricity utilizing a Rankine-cycle reheat steam turbine electric generator, which is housed in the power block facility. After the steam is cycled through the turbine, it would be processed through a cooling tower where it would be condensed back to a liquid form (water) and recycled through the system again to drive the steam turbine generator.

The project site arrangement would generally consist of two separate 900-acre, rectangular arrangements of parabolic trough solar collectors surrounding a centrally located power block. The power block facility would house the majority of electrical generation equipment and related systems, with exception of the solar field. The solar collectors would be constructed in long rows across the project site and aligned side by side in a north-south orientation to allow the parabolic troughs to slowly rotate from east to west, tracking the movement of the sun. Adjoining the solar field, immediately to the west, would be various support facilities, including administration and storage buildings.

The project will include constructing a new switchyard and a 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line to interconnect with Southern California Edison's (SCE) existing 230 kV InyoKern/Kramer Junction transmission line passing west of the project site.

Energy Commission Licensing Authority

The Energy Commission is responsible for reviewing and ultimately approving or denying all applications for construction and operation of thermal electric power plants, 50 MW and greater, proposed for construction in California. The Energy Commission's facility certification process carefully examines public health and safety, environmental impacts and engineering aspects of proposed power plants, and all related facilities such as electric transmission lines and natural gas and water pipelines. The Energy Commission is the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and produces several environmental and decision documents rather than an Environmental Impact Report.

Bureau of Land Management Permitting Authority

The BLM, under Federal law, is responsible for processing requests for ROWs to authorize such proposed projects and associated transmission lines and other appurtenant facilities on land it manages. The BLM is currently reviewing Solar Millennium's proposed Plan of Development (POD) and jointly reviewing the Application for Certification that has been submitted to the Energy Commission for the proposed development of the project.

Workshop Topics

The topics that will be discussed during the workshops are project alternatives, biological resources, soil and water resources, and streambed alteration design goals. An agenda will be available at each workshop(s).

Public Resources, Contact Information and Additional Sources for Information If you desire information on how to participate in the Energy Commission's review of the proposed project, please contact James Davis, the Energy Commission's Public Liaison, at (916) 654-4701 or toll free in California at (800) 822-6228, or by email at: publicadviser@energy.state.ca.us.

To request special accommodations for those persons with disabilities, please contact Lourdes Quiroz, the Energy Commission's Equal Employment Opportunity Officer at lquiroz@energy.state.ca.us or by telephone (916) 654-5146. For those persons with limited English knowledge, request interpreter services by contacting the Project Manager, Eric Solorio, at (916) 651-0966.

Information about the project and the permitting process can be found at the following websites: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_ridgecrest/index.html and http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ridgecrest.html. For additional information contact Eric Solorio, CEC Project Manager at (916) 651-0966 or email at esolorio@energy.state.ca.us or contact Janet Eubanks, BLM Project Manager at carspp@blm.gov.

News media inquiries should be directed to Assistant Director, Susanne Garfield, at (916) 654-4989, or by email at: mediaoffice@energy.state.ca.us.

Sincerely,

Date: 12/29/09

____________/ SIGNED /__________
TERRENCE O'BRIEN, Deputy Director
Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection Division