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Calexico Development 202
Calexico Development 2020

County Reveals More Details on Expected 2020 Projects

IMPERIAL COUNTY — Major projects coming up for county approval in 2020 include a residential development for the Sunbeam Lake area by local businessman Marty Coyne and a battery-storage facility in the El Centro area by New York City-based ConEdison.

The various projects identified by Imperial County Planning and Development Services and are in various stages of development, said Michael Abraham, Planning assistant director.

Coyne Ranch has been under review by Planning for about three years, Abraham said. It is in the environmental document phase and needs a zone change, general plan amendment and tract-map approval, all from the county Planning Commission and county board.

It could reach the county board for consideration toward the end of 2020, Abraham added.

Coyne did not immediately return calls for comment.

The development, near Sunbeam Lake off Ross and Bennett roads, calls for 443 single-family homes and 180 multi-family units, or duplexes, on 130 acres of land owned by Coyne, Abraham said.

While there is no timeline attached to the project, once all of the approvals are made by the end of the year, Abraham said Coyne would have up to 10 years to record his maps associated with the project. After that, he could start construction.

“Right now, we’re waiting on some things from the developer to move forward” on reviewing the project, Abraham said.

Battery Storage

The ConEdison project, tentatively named the Westside Canal Battery Storage Complex, is slated to be built in numerous phases, Abraham said. Battery storage units would be developed in 25-megawatt to 350-megawatt pieces over five to 10 years. When fully operational, he said, the project is planned for a total of 2,025 megawatts of storage capability.

The battery storage facility would be on 148 acres of land owned by ConEdison located about eight miles southwest of El Centro south of the Westside Canal at Liebert Road, Abraham said.

“The first phase is anticipated to begin in 2021 and completed in 2022,” he said. 

ConEd officials did not immediately return emails seeking more information on the project.

Utility-scale battery storage is believed to be vital to the continued development of renewable energy as a way to store produced power during off-peak demand times or during times when energy from solar or wind sources is not being produced. Developing utility-scale battery storage in Imperial County is among the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp.’s targeted development sectors, according to its website.

Another Solar Farm Planned

Projects furthest along this year are a solar-energy project being developed by Ormat Energy and the expansion of a geothermal landfill facility by CalEnergy, Abraham added. Both could see Planning Commission and county board approvals toward the middle of the year.

The Ormat project is called the Wister Solar Energy Project. It is a 20-megwatt solar farm being developed outside Niland near Highway 111 and Wilkins and Wiest roads. It would be on about 160 acres of privately owned land outside the irrigated desert, Abraham said.

Ormat, known for operating several geothermal plants, is looking to continue to expand its energy portfolio locally by developing solar fields, Abraham said. He added Ormat already has a Heber-area solar project that is operational.

The CalEnergy landfill expansion is part of an already-approved geothermal-specific landfill project that is nearly full some 12 miles west of Westmorland. Operated under the name Desert Valley Company, the landfill takes nonhazardous waste from geothermal-drilling operations that cannot be reused (such as geothermal brine byproducts called “filter cakes”) and deposits it in the landfill, Abraham said.

This story is featured in the Jan 09, 2020 e-Edition.

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