Four separate appeals have been filed challenging the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission’s recent approval of the 250-megawatt SunPower solar project on the Carrizo Plain.
The county Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hear the appeals April 19.
Following a common theme during the Planning Commission hearings, the appeals focus on the effect the project will have on a host of rare and endangered species that live in the Carrizo Plain.
Nearly 2,000 acres of land will be covered by solar panels which will produce enough power for 100,000 homes. The project was redesigned several times to avoid endangered species, particularly the giant kangaroo rat.
“The best solution is no development on the Carrizo in areas where there are endangered species,” according to a joint appeal by environmentalist groups Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and North County Watch. “There are many other locations where solar energy systems can be developed without affecting so many species.”
The other appellants are Carrizo Plain resident Michael Strobridge, the environmentalist group Sierra Club and Phil Ashley for the Canyons and Streams Alliance. The appeal period closed Thursday.
Project applicant SunPower will argue that the alternative energy and economic benefits of the project outweigh the potential environmental effects.
“SunPower has seen community support for the California Valley Solar Ranch grow over time as we fine-tuned the design to maximize both environmental conservation as well as the economic benefits to the county,” said Greg Blue, SunPower director.
A surface gravel mine associated with the SunPower project will go before the Planning Commission on March 24.
A week later, the commission will hold its first hearing on a second solar project proposed for the Carrizo Plain, a 550-megawatt project proposed by First Solar.
Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.