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Calico Solar permitting bill advances

A bill to allow the Calico Solar project to receive state approval to change the type of solar panels it will use is moving closer to passing the state Legislature in Sacramento.

AB 1073, introduced by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar, passed the state Senate 28-2 Wednesday and will now head to the Assembly.

Because it is an urgency measure, it would take effect immediately if passed by both houses and signed by the governor.

Under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year, SB 226, the California Energy Commission can authorize changes to approved projects, rather than requiring the projects to go through local authorities. But projects challenged in court, even if the case was dismissed, were not eligible.

Environmental groups filed suit in federal court this week, aiming to derail the project.

The project would be too disruptive to wildlife populations of desert tortoises and golden eagles in the Pisgah Valley, the National Resources Defense Council said, and should be moved to nearby degraded agricultural land.

“We drew a line in the sand and the Calico solar project crossed it,” senior attorney Johanna Wald said in a statement.

Edison sued by Sand Canyon wind developers

Two energy developers sued Southern California Edison Wednesday in a dispute over land they purchased near Tehachapi, the Associated Press reported.

Helo Energy LLC and Saugatuck Energy LLC sued Edison in Los Angeles County Superior Court, along with two other companies and four individuals.

The companies say they purchased 300 acres in Kern County for $9 million, but were unable to build the wind turbines. They alleged intentional deceit, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract from Edison, citing what they claim were exaggerated estimates of the land’s potential wind strength and allegedly false data that had actually been calculated for other projects.

Edison had previously ended its contract with the companies in 2010 and they withdrew their permit application shortly afterward.

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