After several months' worth of wrangling over the potential costs to the county of Inyo from BrightSource's proposed HIdden Hills solar project near Tecopa, the company and the county have reached an agreement. Under the terms of the settlement, BrightSource will pay Inyo County $15 million over the first 18 months of the project's operation.
The project, which would occupy about 3,277 acres of private land in the Pahrump Valley just inside the California state line, had been criticized by the county for increasing its infrastructural and service burden, requiring additional law enforcement and firefighting services in the remote Charleston Heights area.
Under the terms of the agreement, announced last week, BrightSource would pony up $2.5 million by the beginning of construction, paying the remaining $12.5 million within the first 18 months of the plant's operation. BrightSource will be able to credit some tax obligations it may owe the county toward the full amount.
The agreement also includes some provisions relating to decommissioning, use of overweight trucks on county roads, and Inyo County's claims on certain roads on-site.
With the agreement, Inyo County agrees not to oppose the project before the California Energy Commission, currently conducting hearings on the project in Sacramento. That's one less opponent for BrightSource, which hopes to start construction on the plant this year. But will one less project opponent make a difference? ReWire will have more on the Hidden Hills hearings as the week progresses.