BLM issues environmental report on altered Palen solar project

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on July 26 issued for comment a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) for the Palen Solar Electric Generating System (PSEGS).

Palen Solar Holdings LLC is proposing to develop a 500-MW facility in Riverside County, Calif., using concentrating solar thermal power tower technology. In 2008, the previous project proponent, Palen Solar I LLC, filed a right-of-way (ROW) application for a concentrating solar project that would use solar parabolic trough technology to generate electricity (called the Palen Solar Power Project or PSPP).

The original PSPP application was analyzed through a proposed California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan Amendment/Final Environmental Impact Statement. In addition tp proposing a different technology than the PSPP, the PSEGS version of the project includes a shift in the location of a portion of the generation tie line to accommodate the relocation of Southern California Edison‘s Red Bluff Substation and align the transmission line corridor of the PSEGS within the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project transmission line ROW, and the addition of a natural gas supply line to deliver natural gas to the PSEGS from the existing Southern California Gas distribution system.

If the PSEGS is approved, amendments to the CDCA plan of 1980, as amended, would be required to allow power generation at the site and transmission over 161 kV outside of an approved corridor.

This Draft SEIS supplements and does not replace the May 2011 Proposed Resource Management Plan Amendment/Final Environmental Impact Statement issued for the Palen Solar Power Project.

The primary objective of the PSEGS is to deliver 500 MW of renewable electrical energy to the regional electrical grid to fulfill the existing approved Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Palen searched for a site that had been permitted for construction of a solar thermal power plant, was large enough to accommodate BSE Power Tower Solar Technology, was included within a BLM designated Solar Energy Zone, and had an executed and approved Large Generator Interconnection Agreement for interconnection to a substation that would be operational in time to meet delivery of electricity under current California Public Utilities Commission-approved PPAs.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.