California Energy Commission Approves Additional Large Solar Plants

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved nearly 1 GW of solar power in Southern California. The Genesis Solar Energy Project and the Imperial Valley Solar Project, totaling 959 MW, are now the fifth and sixth solar power plants that the CEC has licensed in the past five weeks.

In two separate unanimous votes, the Energy Commission adopted the presiding member's proposed decisions (PMPDs) that recommended licensing the 250 MW Genesis project and the 709 MW Imperial Valley project. In order to qualify for federal stimulus funds, the projects needed to be approved by the before Dec. 31, 2010.

The Genesis project is being proposed by Genesis Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The project site is located in eastern Riverside County about 25 miles west of Blythe. In July, Genesis Solar said it would dry-cool the project, in accordance with CEC recommendations.

The Imperial Valley project is being developed by Imperial Valley Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Tessera Solar, in Imperial County. The project is located about 14 miles west of El Centro and received recommended approval from the CEC in August.

The PMPDs for the Genesis and Imperial Valley projects said the facilities, even with mitigation measures, will have significant impacts on cultural resources, land use, and visual resources. The Imperial Valley project also will have a significant impact on biological resources and would be inconsistent with an Imperial County land use ordinance, according to the CEC.

However, the benefits of the projects would override those impacts. The Genesis project will require a peak workforce of 1,085 during construction, and another 50 jobs when the plant is in operation. The Imperial Valley project will need a peak workforce of 731 during construction, with another 164 operational jobs.

SOURCE: California Energy Commission

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