- Project Owner
- Docket Number
- 96 MW
- Santa Clara
- Reciprocating Engine
- Project Status
- Under Review
- Project Type
- Small Power Plant Exemption
The CA3 Backup Generating Facility will consist of a total of forty-four (44) 2.75-MW diesel fired generators that will be used exclusively to provide up to 96 MW of backup emergency generation to support the CA3 Data Center, to be located at 2590 Walsh Avenue in Santa Clara, California. Forty (40) of the generators would be dedicated to replace the electricity needs of the data center in case of a loss of utility power, and four (4) of the generators would be used to support redundant critical cooling equipment and other general building and life safety services (house generators).
Presiding Member: Karen Douglas, Commissioner
Associate Member: Siva Gunda, Commissioner
Hearing Officer: Susan Cochran and Kristen Driskell
- 4/5/2021 - Small Power Plant Exemption (SPPE) filed
Small Power Plant Exemption
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has the exclusive authority to certify thermal power plants 50 megawatts (MW) and greater proposed for construction in California, including the infrastructure serving the plants such as such as electric transmission lines, fuel supply lines, and water pipelines. The two processes available to developers are the Application for Certification (AFC) and the Small Power Plant Exemption (SPPE).
The Application for Certification (AFC) is the standard licensing process for proposed power plant projects that fall under CEC’s jurisdiction. The CEC's power plant site certification program is a certified regulatory program under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It incorporates all state, local, and regional agencies’ requirements necessary for a plant to be constructed and operated. The CEC also coordinates its review with federal agencies that will be issuing permits.
The Small Power Plant Exemption (SPPE) process allows applicants with facilities between 50 and 100 MW to obtain an exemption from CEC’s jurisdiction and proceed with local permitting rather than requiring CEC certification. CEC can grant an exemption if it finds that the proposed facility will not create a substantial adverse impact on the environment or energy resources. Public Resources Code section 25519(c) designates CEC as the “lead agency”, in accordance with CEQA, for all facilities seeking an SPPE. In granting an SPPE, the CEC is not the final approval necessary for construction and operation of a project. Instead, if the CEC grants an SPPE, the responsible local land use authorities and other agencies, such as the local air management district, will assume jurisdiction over the project under their respective permitting processes, and conduct any other necessary environmental review as “responsible agencies” under CEQA.
The AFC filing fee must be made when the project is submitted. There is also an annual compliance fee for projects granted a license.
The fee for filing an SPPE is the cost for the CEC to prepare the CEQA environmental document. A deposit is required at the filing. If the deposit exceeds the review cost, the remainder will be refunded. If the costs exceed the deposit, the applicant will be billed for the difference.