Officials say BrightSource is dim benefit to Inyo

brightSolar development in Inyo County sounds like a good idea, but Inyo officials have found the proposed BrightSource Energy mega- solar project in Southeast Inyo along the Nevada border frustrating and potentially costly.

According to Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio, The California Energy Commission has most of the authority when it comes to granting permission for the big project.  The CEC is expected to come out with a preliminary assessment of the project June 1st.  In an earlier press release, Carunchio said, “The primary concern is that the county is being asked to accommodate a $2.7 billion commercial solar-energy project that could end up never paying for its share of the impacts and costs it imposes on the local government and environment because of a purported state property tax exclusion.”  Carunchio said Inyo County costs for public services associated with the project would add up to $1.7 million per year while property taxes from BrightSource would amount to $1.2 million.

The other concern – most of the plant’s employees will not live in or spend money in Inyo County.  They are expected to live in Pahrump, Nevada. So, Inyo could expect no gain through employees.

Carunchio said that Inyo has little influence over the terms and conditions in the state approval of the solar operation.  He said that state law gives the CEC sole power of approval with some consideration of Inyo’s laws and regulations.

In government’s quest for alternative energy, control over solar projects goes to the State for expedited approval.  Inyo’s CAO said, “We have extremely scant control.”  Inyo does have an alternative energy ordinance and will submit comments to the CEC.  Carunchio said he and other county officials have been very engaged with the CEC on this project and the environmental review process. He said they are quantifying costs and counting on the CEC to protect Inyo.  Carunchio said BrightSource Energy is ignoring any local processes.

Carunchio said he spends nearly 20 hours a week on this project along with the time of 3 county attorneys, a socio-economic consulting firm, the Planning and Water Departments.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that BrightSource Energy has put off plans for an initial public offering because of “adverse market conditions.”  The Times said that it has been a challenging year for solar energy firms and “tepid interest from investors.”  It’s unclear if this news will have an impact on the Death Valley area project.

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4 Responses to Officials say BrightSource is dim benefit to Inyo

  1. NewEra April 17, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    So now it depends on where the money is going? And not on the Idea of being more efficient in our everyday convenient lives. If it works for Mother Earth and not us who cares, its been way to long things have been working for us and not for Mother Earth.

  2. Steve Reese April 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Lets not be to quick to kill this. This is in the same area that ” Charleston View” was proposed. I say let it be built and the new town of Charleston View along with it. That should bring in money for Inyo Co.

    • Big AL April 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      This company is not in the business of bringing money to Inyo County or to green us with renewable energy. They are in the business to make money.
      I doubt that Charleston View will be bolstered by this solar steam generator, Because there is housing available in Pahrump for the workers. It isn’t that the company expects it’s workers to live in Pahrump, it is that there is housing presently available there. already.
      But we most likely will not have to worry about all of that, the desert tortoise will probably keep it from happening, but then .. green energy will be a formidable opponent
      for the tortoise’s.

  3. upthecreek April 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that BrightSource Energy has put off plans for an initial public offering because of “adverse market conditions.”


    Facebook doesn’t seem to have a problem with an IPO



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