April 20, 2011 / 12:33 AM / 8 years ago

SunPower power plant approval survives appeals

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A major SunPower Corp solar power plant will move forward as planned in central California after San Luis Obispo County officials on Tuesday rejected appeals that sought to overturn the project’s approval.

The county’s five-member Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reject the appeals.

The four appeals were filed by environmental group the Sierra Club, Phil Ashley for the Canyons and Streams Alliance, area resident Michael Strobridge, and a joint appeal by conservation groups Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and North County Watch.

For the most part, the appeals took issue with the project’s impact on endangered species.

The photovoltaic California Valley Solar Ranch received approval from the county’s Planning Commission in February after a string of lengthy hearings during which the commission weighed the project’s economic and environmental benefits against its impact on native species, local residents and the region’s rural landscape.

Last week, SunPower received a conditional commitment for a $1.187 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund construction of the 250-megawatt plant.

Reporting by Nichola Groom, editing by Bernard Orr

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