Sunpower Corporation proposed to construct and operate a 250-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant on approximately 4,000 acres of rangeland in the Carrizo Plain, an unincorporated portion of eastern San Luis Obispo County. Sunpower’s proposal also included an electrical substation, a 2.8-mile transmission line, and an aggregate mine north of the project site. Aspen prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project on behalf of San Luis Obispo County. Aspen concurrently evaluated re-conductoring of 35 miles of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Morro Bay-Midway 230-kV transmission line, which is necessary for delivery of the project’s power to the regional grid.
This controversial project is located within core habitat for protected wildlife species, and its primary construction route is located in close proximity to a small community and elementary school. The key issues included: greenhouse gas emissions; agriculture; visual impacts; noise; traffic; and biological impacts. Aspen also coordinated with the County Administrative Office to identify and quantify the fiscal impacts associated with the construction and operation of the project. The Socioeconomic and Fiscal Impact Report was included as an appendix to the EIR.
Aspen carried out a full public participation program for this EIR and supported the County at multiple public hearings. Aspen monitored project construction for compliance with mitigation measures.