The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

K Road Gives Up on Calico Solar Project

Another massive solar energy project in California is being abandoned, with K Road asking the California Energy Commission to drop its permit and subsequent amendments for the 294-MW Calico Solar Project after three years and as many redevelopment efforts.

Calico, located 37 miles east of Barstow, California along Interstate 40, originally was approved and licensed by the CEC in late 2010 as a 850-MW project using solar thermal technology on about 4,100 acres, half its original proposed footprint of 8,200 acres. K Road had acquired the project earlier in the year from its original developer Tessera Solar, which had run into financial troubles; Southern California Edison had just cancelled its power purchase agreement at that point, which was in place since 2005.

In 2011 K Road scaled back and altered its Calico project plans, deciding to switch to mostly solar PV (563 MW vs. just 100 MW of Stirling engines). That required a new round of approvals and public input, which opened the door for environmental groups who opposed the project due to effects on local wildlife habitats. Shortly thereafter, in September 2011, the project's solar thermal tech supplier Stirling Energy Systems (a sibling to Tessera) went bankrupt. Last summer K Road filed another petition to switch entirely to solar PV and reduce the projects size and footprint by another 16 percent to roughly 618 MW on 3,851 acres.

Then in December of last year, K Road notified the CEC that it was running into "transmission issues related to the CAISO," which might require modifications to its Large Generator Interconnection Agreement and further delay the project's progress. And finally, days ago, K Road filed a brief letter with the CEC, tersely citing "changed market conditions" (without clarifying) in its inability to move the project forward.

Due to its original CEC approval, Calico would have been grandfathered into recent land use policies restricting such solar development to identified "variance lands" and away from defined "exclusion zones" in that vicinity. But its cancellation now means the proposed lands where it was to be developed will now revert to the new rules, meaning no solar development at the proposed project site at all.

The Calico saga illustrates yet again the sufferings of proposed large-scale solar energy projects using solar thermal (or concentrated solar) technologies, which initially made economic sense but have became increasingly unrealistic as PV prices have plummeted. In the past few months NextEra has announced it will convert its 250-MW Beacon Solar project from parabolic trough to solar PV, and vastly scaled back its massive Blythe Solar Power Project in California, shrinking it by more than half to less than 500 MW as it shifts that project to solar PV technology as well. And earlier this year Brightsource pulled two projects off its table: Hidden Hills, a dual-250-MW CSP project, and the 500-MW Rio Mesa solar thermal project.

Lead image: White flag via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...

US, China Solar PV Players Team Up, Invest $100M in Chile, Uruguay and Japan

Andrew Burger Private equity infrastructure specialist Hudson Clean Energy Partners and Hong Kong-based independent power producer ...

PRESS RELEASES Welcomes Jennifer Delony as Associate Editor

PennWell Corporation is pleased to announce that Jennifer Delony has joined the company...

Customized Energy Solutions Executes Agreement with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (“MassCEC”) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) for Important Energy Storage Study

Customized Energy Solutions (CES) has entered into agreements with Massachusetts Clean ...

CleanTX Releases New White Paper on the Future of Texas Solar in Texas

We love this new White Paper from our clean energy partners CleanTX

Sun Xtender® Launches New Website at

The newly designed website for Sun Xtender solar batteries is now live on the World Wid...


energy efficiency

Beyond the Trend: Maximizing the Impact of Your Energy Efficiency Solution

A revolution is happening in the energy sector. From the new regulations pushed out earlier this summer by the EPA’s ...

Northeast States Create Cap-and-Trade Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Northeast states have worked together for several decades to address air quality issues and, more recently, climate c...

Why the Solar PV Industry Should Love Geothermal Heat Pumps Pt 2

It’s a marriage made in heaven: Solar PV and Geothermal Heat Pumps Part 2 of a 6-Part Series Prevailing Heati...

Park District Goes Solar, Saves Big While Preserving Open Space

Not only do community parks provide green space for recreation and leisure, they also increase property values, attra...


Jim is Contributing Editor for, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Power Asset Management and Performance

SEIA and SEPA collaborated with industry leaders to present the first ev...

Solar Power Northeast

  From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sol...


Saving Vs. Gaining

Whenever I do a national keynote speech or customized coaching session f...

SPI Brings Out The Best In Solar

Phew…...those cross-country flights sure take a lot out of a guy....

Join us at the New Solar Power Northeast

From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sold out P...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now