Project Status: Exempted: Under Review
- 3/5/2019 - Small Power Plant Exemption (SPPE) filed
- 8/28/2019 - Commission staff releases Intial Study and Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration.
- 1/24/2020 - Committee releases Small Power Plant Exemption Decision.
- 2/4/2020 - Commission approves Small Power Plant Exemption.
General Description of Project
MECP1 Santa Clara 1, LLC (Applicant) is seeking an exemption from the Energy Commission’s jurisdiction (Small Power Plant Exemption, or SPPE) and proceed with local approval rather than requiring an Energy Commission license. In reviewing an SPPE application the Energy Commission acts as the lead agency under section 25519(c) of the Public Resources Code and, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), will perform any required environmental analysis. The applicant proposes to construct and operate the Laurelwood Data Center (LDC or project) in Santa Clara, California. The LDC would consist of two multi-storied data center buildings, 56 3.0 megawatt (MW) standby backup diesel-fired generators capable of providing electrical power during utility outages or certain onsite electrical equipment interruption or failure. The maximum electrical load of the LDC would be 99 MW, inclusive of tenant-installed information technology (IT) equipment in the LDC and cooling and ancillary electrical and telecommunications equipment operating to support IT equipment. The LDC would also include an onsite 60 kilovolt (kV) substation with an electrical supply line that would connect to a Silicon Valley Power (SVP) distribution line located 0.1 miles west of the LDC. To make way for the project, demolition of asphalt/foundations and underground utilities would be necessary, prior to construction. CEQA requires the lead agency to consider the whole of the action; therefore, the Energy Commission will include the entire data center project in its analysis, which includes the demolition of asphalt/foundations and underground utilities and construction of two new multi-story data center buildings along with the installation and operation of the generators.
Small Power Plant Exemption Evaluation Process
The SPPE process allows projects between 50 and 100 MW to proceed with local approval rather than requiring an Energy Commission license. This exemption from the Energy Commission licensing process can be applied to projects that would not create a substantial adverse impact on the environment or energy resources. The Energy Commission acts as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and will prepare an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration that examines public health and safety, along with environmental impacts of the proposed project, including all related facilities such as electric transmission lines, natural gas and water pipelines. If the exemption is granted, the applicant would still need to secure the appropriate licenses and permits from relevant local, state, and federal agencies.
For Questions about this Exemption Proceeding Contact:
For Questions About Public Participation In Exemption Proceedings Contact:
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-12 Sacramento, CA 95814
Toll-Free in California: 1-800-822-6228
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Laurelwood Data Center
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