The California Energy Commission released its preliminary staff assessment, or PSA, for Victorville 2 in which it explored the environmental impacts of the 388-acre project. It also listed five areas of concern where it asks Victorville to provide more information.
"The fact that they've issued the PSA in November and we've been shooting for a permit issuance in April or May means we're right on target," Mayor Terry Caldwell said. The five areas of concern include possible legal challenges to the way Victorville obtained emissions credits and the possibility that glare from parabolic "solar collectors" could interfere with SCLA flight patterns.
The commission also wrote that storm water management plans need to be updated to make sure the power plant does not exacerbate flood conditions. And it also noted that the plant would impact species such as the state threatened Mohave ground squirrel and federally threatened desert tortoise.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game must determine how the power plant would affect the species before the California Energy Commission or Victorville can decide what kind of mitigation or habitat compensations needed, according to the PSA. One more area of concern is the amount of reclaimed water the hybrid power plant will use from the nearby Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, since water from VVWRA is used to recharge the Mojave River and other areas.
"We're very pleased with the PSA," said Buck Johns, president of Inland Energy, which is the master developer for Victorville 2. Caldwell said the power plant will be a "carrot" to entice more companies to SCLA where they will have access to electricity from Victorville 2. "We will control the output to provide power to the entities located at George Air Force Base," he said. "That gives us a huge advantage over our competitors."
A public meeting on the PAS will be scheduled in December, and the commission expects to have completed a final assessment by January or February.