Author Archives: Phil Millenbah

About Phil Millenbah

Philip Millenbah has over 30 years of experience as a permitting and environmental planner working with private clients and local governments. He has worked as a staff permitting planner for the cities of San Diego, Oakland, and several other jurisdictions in both Northern and Southern California where he managed the permitting of complex development projects. As an Energy Planner for the City of Oceanside he created the nation’s first Municipal Solar Utility (MSU) under contract to the California Energy Commission, and raised $25 million from third party investors for the city’s solar leasing program. He has written complex environmental documents (CEQA and NEPA) for a variety of clients and processed entitlements for major development projects at both the local and state level – including the California Energy Commission and the California Coastal Commission. Mr. Millenbah has experience with State of California Title 20 facility siting requirements and has expertise with FLPMA, NEPA, CEQA, ESA, CESA, NHPA, 404 and related regulatory approvals. Critical Expertise includes experience as a permitting planner with local agencies and direct experience with local, state and federal agencies in securing use permits, subdivisions, and environmental clearances. Finally, Mr. Millenbah is active in energy policy development (Feed-in tariff’s, RPS policy, etc) and has extensive working contacts at both the California Energy Commission and the CPUC. He has a Master’s Degree in Energy and Environmental Management from the University of New Mexico and a Professional Degree in Real Estate Development from the University of California, San Diego.

The Williamson Act: Agricultural Land Conservation and Solar Development (Update)

The California Department of Conservation has issued an updated position paper on the Williamson act called, “Considerations in Citing Solar Facilities on Land Enrolled in the Williamson Act”. Among the suggestions made in the paper have to do with solar compatibility to underlying agricultural uses. A positive compatibility determination can be made under the following conditions: Continue reading

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Solar Project Permitting Trends in California

Solar Project Permitting Trends in California
By Philip L. Millenbah, AICP
VP Project Development and Land Services
Solar Land Partners, Inc. Continue reading

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Distributed Generation Market Drivers

The Renewable Portfolio Standard requires retail sellers (defined as investor‐owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators) to increase renewable energy as a percentage of their retail sales to 20 percent by 2010. State law also requires publicly owned utilities to implement the standard but gives them flexibility in developing specific targets and timelines. In November 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger raised California’s renewable energy goals to 33 percent by 2020 in his Executive Order S‐14‐08. In July 2009, the California Public Utilities Commission reported that the three investor‐owned utilities were supplying approximately 13 percent of their aggregated total sales from eligible renewable resources as of 2008, far below the 20 percent required by 2010. Publicly owned utilities are showing some progress in renewable energy procurement with expectations for the 15 largest publicly owned utilities of 12.4 percent of RPS eligible renewable retail sales by 2011, but this progress is still far short of the renewable target. Continue reading

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Land Use and Utility Scale Solar Projects

With the approval of these projects and with the demand for utility scale projects growing rapidly, solar developers will be called on to develop best management practices to mitigate any land use impacts associated with solar development. But during the course of their permitting process solar developers need to educate the local permitting staff about the true regional impacts of fossil fuel energy facilities and on the long term environmental benefits utility scale solar provides their community. Continue reading

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Utility Scale Solar Generation Facilities Conditional Use Permitting

In California counties have essentially two kinds of uses, permitted uses and conditional uses. Permitted uses have been determined to be allowed by right and can proceed with no approval-except a business license-in the city with no other approvals required. Conditional uses are uses determined by the county to be acceptable but are thought to have impacts that need to be mitigated. Continue reading

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