By Dorothy Davis
The California Energy Commission (CEC) in a unanimous vote approved the construction of the $6 billion proposed Blythe Solar Power Project. The 1000-megawatt Blythe Project once completed will be the world’s largest concentrated solar power facility, as well as among one of the first commercial solar thermal plants permitted on federal public land in the U.S. Blythe is still pending final approval from the Bureau of Land Management, which sanctions the use of U.S. public lands, before the project can commence.
Blythe is set to be located in an unincorporated area of Riverside County, California, and will consist of four smaller plants with a generating capacity of approximately 250 megawatts each, which will utilize parabolic trough technology to convert solar radiation into power. Power utility Southern California Edison has already secured a 500-megawatt Power Purchase Agreement with developers for electricity from the first of those independent plants scheduled to be commissioned in 2013.
The Blythe project is one of nine large-scale solar thermal projects that are set to come before the CEC for consideration before the close of 2010 in order to qualify for federal stimulus funding that would cover up to 30 percent of project costs. Blythe is the third project in the last few weeks the CEC has approved, following the Beacon Solar Energy project licensed on August 25 and the Abengoa Mojave Solar project approved on September 8.
If all nine projects meet final approval and proceed with construction they would generate more than 4,300 megawatts of renewable energy, provide more than 8,000 construction jobs, and over 1,000 permanent jobs once operations commence.
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California Energy Commission licenses 1,000MW Blythe solar project
By Dorothy Davis