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Victorville 2 Hybrid Power Project, Inland Energy Inc., CA

STATUS: On hold

TYPE: Hybrid Solar Electric Power Plant

OPPOSITION: California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE); Local Residents

PROSPECTS: Indeterminate

BACKGROUND:  Inland Energy’s Victorville 2 is a hybrid solar electric power plant located in Victorville, CA.  The plant would combine a solar thermal powered system along with a natural gas fired system. It would have a net electrical output of 570 megawatts.  The project is designed to use solar technology to generate a portion of the project’s output and thereby support the State of California’s goals of increasing the percentage of renewable energy supplies.  The $700 million project was estimated to create 35-40 permanent, and several hundred construction jobs.

Environmentalist opposition and strict regulations have significantly delayed construction of the project and increased costs.  The project began to run into problems during the permitting phase.  The first problem was the Mohave ground squirrel, which is considered to be threatened.  The California Department of Fish and Game decided that the squirrel required a mitigation ratio of 3:1. This means that 3 acres of the desert needs to be purchased and set aside for the squirrel for every acre of project site. This increased costs dramatically since there were few parcels available for set aside.

The project has also faced opposition from the labor union group called California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE), which is supported by various construction unions. It has a history of fighting new projects in California unless the applicant agrees to use union labor for the project.

In July 2008, the California Energy Commission approved the project. Inland Energy had hoped to begin construction by early 2010 and have the plant operational in 2012.  However, the project was reportedly put on hold for lack of funding.

SOURCES: American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/04/solar_energy_meets_greenies_an.html;
New York Times: http://www.allianceforresponsibleenergypolicy.com/NYT%20-%20Solar%20Projects%20Draw%20New%20Opposition%209-24-08.pdf;
Victorville Daily Press http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/contract-11887-terminates-victorville.html;
Inland Energy http://www.inlandenergy.com/projectv2.html;
Victorville 2 http://www.victorville2.com/index.html;
City of Victorville http://www.ci.victorville.ca.us/site/popup.aspx?id=2768;
California Energy Commission http://www.energy.ca.gov/2008publications/CEC-800-2008-003/CEC-800-2008-003-CMF.PDF;
EcoSeed: http://www.ecoseed.org/en/solar-energy/concentrating-solar-power/article/53-concentrating-solar-power/7872-first-u-s-solar-thermal-power-plant-in-decades-receives-license

Last updated November 8, 2010