Ridgecrest Solar Power Project

Docket Number:

09-AFC-09 (Application For Certification)

Project Status: License Terminated April 22, 2014.

Committee Overseeing This Case:

TBD, Commissioner, Presiding Member

TBD, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Raoul Renaud

Key Dates


Solar Millennium LLC is proposing to construct a utility-scale solar thermal electric power generating facility named the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project. The project will have a nominal output of 250 megawatts (MW), consisting of a single power plant utilizing two solar fields.

The project will be located in the high northern Mojave Desert in northeastern Kern County, California, about five miles southwest of the City of Ridgecrest, California. The project right-of-way (ROW), for which a ROW grant sought by the Applicant from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), will extend across approximately 3,920 acres of public lands owned by the federal government.

The project facilities will occupy 1,440 acres of the 3,920-acre site, and there will be a total disturbance area (including areas outside the facility fence line), of approximately 1,760 acres. The project will utilize solar parabolic trough technology to generate electricity. With this technology, arrays of parabolic mirrors collect heat energy from the sun and refocus the radiation on a receiver tube located at the focal point of the parabola. A heat transfer fluid (HTF) is heated to high temperatures (750 degrees Fahrenheit) as it circulates through the receiver tubes. The heated HTF is then piped through a series of heat exchangers where it releases its stored heat to generate high pressure steam. The steam is then fed to a traditional steam turbine generator where electricity is produced.

Energy Commission and Bureau of Land Management Joint Environmental Review Process

The BLM and the Energy Commission have executed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning their intent to conduct a joint environmental review of the project in a single National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)/California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. It is in the interest of the BLM and the Energy Commission to share in the preparation of a joint environmental analysis of the proposed project to avoid duplication of staff efforts, to share staff expertise and information, to promote intergovernmental coordination at the local, state, and federal levels, and to facilitate public review by producing a joint environmental document and a more efficient environmental review process.

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