Blythe Energy Project Phase II (Sonoran Energy Project Petition to Amend Withdrawn)

Docket Number:

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

Project Status: License Expired: June 14, 2018

Key Dates


On April 25, 2012, the California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) approved a petition to amend (PTA) the Blythe Energy Project Phase II (BEP II) 2005 Decision to be a nominal 569 MW combined-cycle facility. The PTA included identifying a new point of interconnection into the proposed Southern California Edison (SCE) Keim Substation; replacing the Siemens Westinghouse V84.3a turbines with Siemens SGT6-5000F turbines, which will not use inlet chillers and thus remove the need for anhydrous ammonia; modifying the combustion turbine and steam turbine enclosure; incorporating an auxiliary boiler to allow fast start technology; expanding the approved cooling tower configuration by 1,020 square feet; and to optimizing of the general arrangement of the facility.

The BEP II site is located entirely within the approved BEP site boundary. BEP II was to 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.

On December 14, 2005, the Energy Commission granted a license to Caithness Blythe II, LLC (Caithness), to construct the nominal 520 megawatt (MW) combined-cycle BEP II. The approved BEP II was to consist 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 Blythe Energy Project (BEP) offsite linear facilities (e.g., transmission line and natural gas pipelines).

The BEP II was to be electrically interconnected to the Buck Boulevard substation, located at the northeastern corner of the approved BEP site. The Western Area Power Administration constructed the Buck Boulevard 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 Boulevard substation connects to the Western owned Blythe substation and the then named Midway substation (renamed Colorado River Substation (CRS)) owned by Imperial Irrigation District (IID). The Blythe substation interconnects five existing 161 kV regional transmission lines. Three of the transmission lines are owned by WAPA, one by IID, and the other by Southern California Edison. IID is constructing a new double circuit 230 kV connection from the Buck Boulevard substation to the then Midway substation (renamed the Colorado River substation). The CRS interconnects with the Highline substation and the Coachella Valley substation.

Water to operate the BEP II was to 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.

On October 23, 2009, a petition to modify the 2005 BEP II Decision was submitted by Caithness, proposing several revisions to the license to modify the BEP II to be a nominal 569 MW combined-cycle facility.

On December 1, 2010, the Energy Commission approved a petition to extend the commencement of construction deadline for one year, from December 14, 2010 to December 14, 2011. The extension was granted to allow Caithness time to provide additional information so that staff could complete the analysis required for the October 2009 PTA without having the construction deadline lapse.

On October 12, 2011, the project owner filed a second petition to extend the deadline to commence construction for BEP II by five years, from December 14, 2011 to December 14, 2016. This matter was heard at the December 14, 2011 Business Meeting. At that time, the Energy Commission granted a limited extension, from December 14, 2011 to May 14, 2012, to allow staff to complete the analysis on the original 2009 PTA so both the 2009 PTA and the five-year extension request could be heard at the same Business Meeting. Based on the information provided by Caithness and on the analysis conducted by staff of the proposed changes to the project, staff supported the Petition to Extend the Deadline to Commence Construction.

On April 25, 2012, the 2009 PTA was approved by the Energy Commission. Concurrently, the five-year extension of the deadline to commence construction of the BEP II was approved, from December 14, 2011 to December 14, 2016.

On June 18, 2014, the Energy Commission approved the project ownership change, from Caithness Blythe II, LLC to AltaGas Sonoran Energy Inc.

On August 7, 2015, AltaGas filed a Petition to Amend BEP II. Among the proposed amendments was changing the project name to the Sonoran Energy Project.

On May 17, 2016, the Energy Commission approved an 18-month extension on the start of construction deadline, from December 14, 2016 to June 14, 2018.

On August 25, 2017, the Energy Commission terminated the August 2015 petition to amend proceedings; the Commission Decision certifying the Blythe Energy Project Phase II, dated December 14, 2005, as previously amended, remains in effect.

The Energy Commission license for the Blythe Energy Project PHase II expired on June 14, 2018; project not constructed.

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:

~AFC License Expired
NoPM Project Manager
Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection (STEP) Division
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-
Sacramento, CA 95814

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California Energy Commission
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Compliance Proceeding

Original Proceeding



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