Calif. reinstates Tessera solar project approval

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Dec 1, 2010 4:02pm EST

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SAN FRANCISCO Dec 1 (Reuters) - The California Energy Commission reinstated approval for a controversial $2 billion solar power plant to be built by NTR's (NTRb.CO) Tessera Solar that opponents had said was wrongly licensed.

Last month, the commission withdrew its decision granting approval for the 663.5-megawatt Calico plant after the California Unions for Reliable Energy said that the CEC had not properly filed written findings about the plant's impact on local wildlife.

On Wednesday, energy commissioners set a 30-day notice for opponents to challenge approval of the project that is planned for the Southern California desert.

Tessera Solar is racing to begin construction by the end of the year to be eligible for a federal cash grant program that covers 30 percent of the cost of renewable energy projects.

The Sierra Club and California Unions for Reliable Energy told commissioners that they are considering filing a legal challenge to Calico over its impact on the imperiled desert tortoise and other wildlife.

(Reporting by Todd Woody)

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