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

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

RELATED ARTICLES

Intersolar Europe 2015: Spirits Up, Stats Down

William P. Hirshman, Contributor Intersolar Europe, billed at the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry, is indeed big. But Intersolar Europe 2015, one of five Intersolar-branded gatherings around the globe each year, was not as large as the an...
US Capitol

Republicans and Democrats Back Bill to Level the Playing Field for Renewable Energy

Vince Font, Contributing Editor U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Jerry Moran are leading a bipartisan effort to reintroduce tax code legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for renewable energy investment. The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act w...
Solar thermal desalination

Solar Thermal Desalination Now Underway in Water-hungry California

Susan Kraemer, Correspondent Regional droughts are being exacerbated by climate change, which is mostly caused by what is tasked with bailing them out — fossil fuels. Israel, Australia, and now southern California have all turned to expensive energy-gu...
Memo pad on table

IRS Issues Solar Tax Equity Memo Stating the Obvious

David Burton and Richard Page, Akin Gump On Friday, the IRS issued a heavily redacted Chief Counsel Advice (“CCA”) memorandum, that addresses the intersection of solar investment tax credit partnership flip transactions and the wind production tax credit part...
Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, 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, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

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

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

SAP for Utilities

The SAP for Utilities conference is the most comprehensive SAP for Utili...

Training: Preparing for Rule 21 - SPI 2015

What: Rule 21 Training When: September 16th @ 4:30-5:30pm Wher...

Training: NEC 2014, AFDI, & Rapid Shutdown - SPI 2015

What: NEC 2014, AFDI, & Rapid Shutdown When: September 15t...

COMPANY BLOGS

More Middle-Class Massachusetts Residents Are Going Solar

Massachusetts is known for the Pilgrims, Boston cream pie and its excell...

Harnessing Emotions

Think about how you interact with your prospects. Are you going from the...

Before Going Solar: Five Tips for Surviving Your HOA

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are an inevitable part of living in plann...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS