Sonoran Energy Project (Formerly Blythe Energy Project Phase II)

Docket Number:

02-AFC-01 (Application For Certification)
02-AFC-1C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Licensed; In Compliance Phase

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on December 14, 2005. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee Overseeing Sonoran Energy Project:

Janea A. Scott, Commissioner, Presiding Member

Karen Douglas, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Raoul Renaud

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

John L. Geesman, Commissioner, Presiding Member

Arthur Rosenfeld, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Raoul Renaud

Key Dates

  • February 19, 2002 - Applicant files Application For Certification (AFC).
  • July 17, 2002 - Commission finds project to be "data adequate," which begins formal licensing process.
  • November 14, 2003 - Commission staff issue their Preliminary Staff Assessment.
  • April 29, 2005 - Commission staff issue their Final Staff Assessment.
  • October 21, 2005 - Presiding Member's Proposed Decision released.
  • December 14, 2005 - Commission Decision approving Blythe Energy Project Phase II.


On February 19, 2002, Blythe Energy, LLC filed an application for certification with the California Energy Commission for the Blythe Energy Project Phase II. The proposed project is an addition to the approved Blythe Energy Project (BEP) described in 99-AFC-8. The Blythe Energy Project Phase II (BEP II) is a nominally rated 520 MW combined-cycle power plant. BEP II consists of two Siemens Westinghouse V84.3a 170 MW combustion turbine generators (CTGs), one 180 MW steam turbine generator and supporting equipment. BEP II required no offsite linear facilities in addition to the approved BEP offsite linear facilities (e.g., transmission line and natural gas pipelines).

BEP II is located entirely within the approved BEP site boundary. BEP II may utilize some existing facilities at the BEP site including the approved BEP Control/Administration and Maintenance Buildings. Other BEP facilities that may be expanded to serve BEP II include the ground water supply and treatment system, waste water treatment system, fire protection facilities and site access roads. Natural gas will be supplied to BEP II plant by the natural gas pipeline being constructed as part of the approved BEP.

BEP II will be electrically interconnected to the Buck Blvd. Substation, located at the northeastern corner of the approved BEP site. The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) is constructing the Buck Blvd. substation as part of the approved BEP. Additional facilities required in the Buck Blvd. substation for BEP II have already been evaluated and approved as part of the Western BEP Facility Study. The Buck Blvd. substation will connect to the Western owned Blythe substation and the Midway substation owned by Imperial Irrigation District. The Blythe Substation interconnects five existing 161 kV regional transmission lines. Three of the transmission lines are owned by WAPA, one by Imperial Irrigation District (IID), and the other by Southern California Edison. IID is constructing a new double circuit 230 kV connection from the Buck Blvd. substation to the Midway substation. The line is expected to be completed by December 2002. The Midway substation interconnects with the Highline substation and the Coachella Valley substation.

Water to operate the facility will be supplied by one additional groundwater well having the capacity to pump up to 3000 gallons per minute. Supply and wastewater treatment systems being constructed as part of the approved BEP will be duplicated. A third evaporation pond will be added for BEP II.

Note, the proceeding to handle the Transmission Line Modification to 99-AFC-8C has been moved to a new section:

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.

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