Walsh Data Center

Docket Number:

19-SPPE-02 (Small Power Plant Exemption)

Project Status: In Review

Committee Overseeing This Case:

Karen Douglas, Commissioner, Presiding Member

Patricia Monahan, Commissioner, Associate Member

Hearing Officer: Susan Cochran

Key Dates


GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT The Walsh Data Center (WDC) would consist of thirty-two (32) 3-MW diesel fired generators that would be used exclusively to provide backup generation to support a data center to be located at 651 Walsh Avenue in Santa Clara, California. The project would also include one (1) 2-MW emergency generator that would provide backup electricity for an administrative building. The project has been designed with a 5-to-make-4 and a 6-to-make-5 design basis to ensure uninterrupted power up to 80 MW, which is the maximum building load of the WDC. The generators will be located in one generator yard in a two-level stacked configuration. The lower level generator package will integrate a dedicated fuel tank with a capacity of 12,800 gallons. The upper level generators will have a day tank with a capacity of 600 gallons. A new distribution substation would be constructed to support the WDC—this substation would ultimately be owned and operated by Silicon Valley Power (SVP) as part of its distribution network. While SVP has not yet designed the 60 kV transmission lines that interconnect the new substation, SVP has estimated that one transmission line will come in to the site from the north and one from the south, both routes paralleling the existing UPPR rail lines. There may be up to 6 new transmission poles. The California Environmental Quality Act (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 construction of the data center buildings along with the installation and operation of the generators and any associated utility connection facilities.

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:

Leonidas (Lon) Payne
Project Manager
Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection (STEP) Division
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-15
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-651-0966
E-mail: Leonidas.Payne@energy.ca.gov

For Questions About Public Participation In Exemption Proceedings Contact:

Public Advisor
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-12 Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-654-4489
Toll-Free in California: 1-800-822-6228
E-mail: PublicAdvisor@energy.ca.gov

News Media Please Contact:

Media & Public Communications Office
Phone: 916-654-4989
E-mail: mediaoffice@energy.ca.gov

Original Proceeding



Walsh Data Center
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