California Energy Commission Approves Modified Calico Solar Project

The California Energy Commission has approved the Calico Solar Project in San Bernardino County, the seventh solar power plant licensed in the past two months.

The commission unanimously adopted the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) that recommended licensing the 663.5 MW project. The Calico Solar Project is being developed by Calico Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Tessera Solar, on approximately 4,613 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The project initially had been proposed as an 850 MW facility on 8,230 acres, but Calico Solar worked with commission staff to reduce it to 6,215 acres. Even so, the committee reviewing the project initially did not recommend approval because of the scope and scale of high-quality habitat for desert tortoises and bighorn sheep that would be affected, the commission says.

The committee required that Calico Solar present additional reduced footprint alternatives that minimized the project's impacts on environmental resources, primarily the desert tortoise. Calico's 4,613-acre footprint significantly reduced the environmental impacts on desert tortoises and their habitat by 79%, according to the commission.

SOURCE: California Energy Commission

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