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California Energy Markets / This Week
[CEM 1293 / July 25, 2014]
CEC Hearing Spotlights Avian Mortality at Palen
CEC staff asserts that Palen Solar Holdings is downplaying the risks to avian species from its proposed 500 MW solar power-tower project. Based on a review of the similar Ivanpah plant, the developer estimates avian fatalities of up to 1,700 annually, but a biologist's back-of-envelope calculations indicate that as many as 28,000 birds could die at the Ivanpah site every year, many from solar flux or singeing. Meanwhile, the CEC has approved nearly $50 million in grants to construct hydrogen fueling stations in California, part of an effort to prepare for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles next year.
Santa Barbara County Plans for Utility-Scale Solar Projects on Farmland
Santa Barbara County may soon have its first utility-scale renewables project. The county's planning commission has approved a 40 MW solar-energy project proposed by First Solar, to be built on prime farmland in Cuyama Valley. The county is moving forward with land-use changes that would allow for utility-scale solar development totaling 75 MW in the valley, as officials try to strike a balance between resource protection and renewable-energy development.
EDF Renewable Energy to Receive First Eagle Take Permit From Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is granting a first-of-its-kind golden-eagle take permit to a subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy. The permit will allow for the deaths of up to five golden eagles at the 102.5 MW Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County over a five-year period. The company is required to implement an eagle conservation plan to minimize or prevent the project's impacts on eagles. FWS is now considering applications for eagle take permits for three other wind farms in California.
Groups Suggest More Cuts in PG&E Rate Case
Ratepayer and consumer groups are criticizing Pacific Gas & Electric's revenue forecasts for various categories-including smart meters and nuclear-related work. A draft decision would approve for PG&E a cumulative revenue increase of about $2.37 billion over three years, cutting about $1 billion from the utility's request. Consumer groups suggested trimming proposed revenue increases for areas such as nuclear operations and customer retention.
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