Concentrating solar power: California approves 570 MW hybrid natural gas-solar thermal plant

By a 4-0 vote, the Energy Commission adopted the presiding member’s proposed decision (PMPD) for the Palmdale Hybrid Power Project. "The project will provide reliable and consistent power," said Commissioner Karen Douglas, who is the presiding member for the committee reviewing the Palmdale project.

The city of Palmdale plans to start construction after securing a developer and a power purchase agreement for the project.

Concentrating Solar Thermal Power to provide about 10 percent of the peak power. The proposed project consists of natural gas-fired, combined-cycle generating equipment integrated with concentrated solar thermal generating equipment (CSP). During daylight hours when the parabolic solar thermal collectors are in use, the solar field will provide about 10 percent of the peak power generated. The solar field will provide heat directly to the heat-recovery steam generators to produce steam, reducing the natural gas used at the facility.

The PMPD said the project, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards. The decision was based solely on the record of facts which were established during the facility’s evidentiary hearings as part of the application for certification.

The PMPD determined that the record, which contains a detailed environmental impact assessment required by the California Environmental Quality Act, was adequate. The record includes the Energy Commission staff’s thorough and independent assessment of the project’s potential impacts on the environment, public health, and safety.

The Palmdale project, which is being proposed by the city of Palmdale, would be located on a 333-acre industrial site located in the northern portion of the city. The site is part of a 613.4-acre property owned by the city. The property, 60 miles north of Los Angeles, is located northwest of the Los Angeles/Palmdale Regional Airport and U.S. Air Force Plant 42.