SAN FRANCISCO — The builders of what they say will be the biggest water desalination plant in the nation are now slated to ask for more than one-half billion dollars of private-activity bond allocation by the end of the month.
Poseidon Resources is now scheduled to make its request for $530 million of private-activity bond authority to the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee at its Jan. 27 meeting, according to spokespersons for both Poseidon and CDLAC.
Poseidon, which had first been expected to make its request to the committee late last year, had been on the agenda for a special committee meeting Thursday, which was canceled.
Stamford, Conn.-based Poseidon is building the desalination plant at Carlsbad, in San Diego County.
If the PAB volume-cap request goes through this month, then the project would go to the board of the planned conduit issuer, the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, on Feb. 23, said Paula Connors, the I-Bank’s bond program manager.
According to Poseidon, nine public water agencies have signed agreements to buy water from the project, which is slated to deliver about 50 million gallons of water daily, or enough for 300,000 people. The plant is slated to open in 2012.
Barclays Capital signed on last year as financial adviser to Poseidon.
The Carlsbad project has been in the works since 1998, and the developers say construction began in November, following a long regulatory approval process that culminated in November with a permit from the California Coastal Commission.
The project also required approvals from the city of Carlsbad, the State Lands Commission, and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Also in November, the nine water utilities that have signed up for desalinated water from Poseidon received approval for $350 million in incentive payments from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to help make up for the higher costs of desalinated water.
The desalination project remains under fire from some environmental organizations, though Poseidon announced Friday that the Surfrider Foundation has withdrawn from a lawsuit challenging the State Lands Commission’s approval of the desalination plant.
The Surfrider Foundation and Coastkeeper jointly appealed of a Superior Court ruling in favor of Poseidon in November, and Coastkeeper is continuing to pursue the case, according to Poseidon.
“We urge Coastkeeper to follow the Surfrider Foundation’s lead and put the interests of the San Diego region first,” Poseidon Resources vice president Scott Maloni said in a statement.
Poseidon claims to have beaten back five lawsuits and five permit appeals from Coastkeeper and Surfrider.
There are currently desalination plants operating in California, Texas, and Florida.