- Project Owner
- Rice Solar Energy LLC
- Docket Number
- 150 MW
- Riverside County
- Solar Thermal
- Project Status
- Facility Closure
- Project Type
- Application for Certification
Rice Solar Energy, LLC, (RSE) a wholly owned subsidiary of SolarReserve, LLC (project owner) had proposed construct, own, and operate the Rice Solar Energy Project (RSEP). The RSEP would be a solar generating facility located on a privately owned site in unincorporated eastern Riverside County, California. The proposed project would be capable of producing approximately 450,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually, with a nominal net generating capacity of 150 megawatts (MW).
On May 31, 2019, the project owner filed a petition with the CEC requesting permanent termination of the license of the facility (TN 228433). RSEP submitted a biological resources mitigation plan required by their conditions of certification with the request to terminate. Before the license could be terminated, RSEP abandoned the biological resources mitigation plan review process. The site is privately owned, and the landowner does not want to restore the land that was disturbed during the installation and removal of the site perimeter fence.
The RSEP's license required a letter of credit be provided to the CEC if the project owner failed to fulfill its obligation to mitigate for the project’s effects on habitat. CEC exercised its right to the funds at the September 8, 2021, CEC Business Meeting, United States Fish and Wildlife Service was awarded the biological resources mitigation plan funds for desert tortoise restoration at an alternative location.
On February 16, 2022, the CEC approved a petition (TN 241586) to terminate CEC certification of the Rice Solar Energy Project.
Power Plant Certification and Exemption Processes
The CEC has the exclusive authority to certify all thermal power plants 50 megawatts (MW) and larger and related facilities proposed for construction in California. The Application for Certification (AFC) process is a certified regulatory program under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As a certified regulatory program, the CEC does not prepare environmental impact reports (EIRs) in an AFC proceeding, but instead prepares environmental assessment documents that are functionally equivalent to EIRs. A certificate issued by the CEC is in lieu of any permit, certificate, or similar document otherwise required by any state, local or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law, and supersedes any applicable statute, ordinance, or regulation of any state, local, or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law.