California Energy Commission licenses Abengoa Mojave solar project

Source: California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission approved the construction of the Abengoa Mojave Solar Project, the second solar thermal project to be licensed in California in as many weeks. 

In a unanimous vote, the Energy Commission adopted the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) that recommended licensing the 250-megawatt facility planned in San Bernardino County. 

"The Energy Commission, working in collaboration with other state and federal partners, scored another big win for the economy, the environment, and for California's clean energy future with today's approval of the Abengoa solar project," said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert. "The facility's 250 megawatts of clean, renewable energy brings us closer to meeting California's renewable energy and climate goals while providing hundreds of green jobs." 

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Eggert served as the presiding member of the committee that reviewed the plant's application for certification.
The Abengoa Mojave Solar Project is among nine large solar thermal projects scheduled to go before the Energy Commission for a decision before the end of the year in order to qualify for federal stimulus dollars. More than 4,300 megawatts of solar power will be added if all nine projects are approved. 

The eight other high priority projects are: the 250 MW Beacon Solar Energy Project; the 1,000 MW Blythe Solar Power Project; the 850 MW Calico Solar Project; the 250 MW Genesis Solar Energy Project; the 709 MW Imperial Valley Solar Project; the 370 MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project; the 500 MW Palen Solar Power Project; and the 150 MW Rice Solar Energy Project. 

On Aug. 25, the full five-member Commission unanimously approved the Beacon Solar Energy Project, the first solar thermal power plant permitted in 20 years. 

The PMPD for the Abengoa Mojave Solar Project said the facility, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards. The PMPD was based solely on the record of facts that were established during the facility's certification proceeding. 

The Abengoa Mojave Solar Project is being proposed by Mojave Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Abengoa Solar Inc. The proposed project would use parabolic trough technology where parabolic mirrors are used to heat a transfer fluid which is then used to generate steam. Electricity is produced from the steam expanding through steam turbine generators. 

The proposed facility will be constructed on 1,765 acres of private land that had been developed for agricultural purposes. The site is located in San Bernardino County halfway between Barstow and Kramer Junction and 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. 

The project would start construction in the fourth quarter of 2010, with commercial service by the first quarter of 2013. 

The proposed solar thermal power projects that the Energy Commission is considering will help meet the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard, which requires California's electricity utility companies to use renewable energy to produce 20 percent of their power by 2010 and 33 percent by 2020. Solar energy is a main source of renewable power. 

The federal government and the State of California have established the need to increase the development and use of renewable energy in order to enhance the nation's energy independence, meet environmental goals, and create new economic growth opportunities.

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