The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

California Gives Go-Ahead to Blythe Solar Plan

The California Energy Commission (CEC), following the recommendation of its own staff, has approved the proposed shift of NextEra's Blythe Solar Power Project from concentrated solar power (CSP) to solar photovoltaic (CPV).

Blythe originally was proposed in 2010 as a 1-GW CSP project (parabolic trough), backed by a $2.1 billion DoE loan guarantee. Then-project owner Solar Millennium decided to switch to PV technology in 2011, part of an industry-wide shift away from utility-scale CSP as PV prices plummeted and CSP's economics became less attractive. Last spring Blythe's new owner NextEra submitted a revised plan that would shrink Blythe by more than half to 485 MW of solar PV.

In mid-December the CEC internally recommended that the Blythe project be approved as a 485-MW solar PV, believing that potential "cumulatively significant" environmental impacts would be outweighed by its benefits, including its contribution to the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) and economic and jobs benefits.

And so yesterday the CEC voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the Blythe project. Construction is projected to take about four years and cost $1.13 billion.

Paired with the CEC's staff recommendation in December about Blythe was with a less-favorable opinion of another proposed utility-scale solar project, the 500-MW Palen Solar Electric Generating System with two solar thermal power towers, also originally designed by Solar Millennium and now owned by BrightSource and Abengoa, which would take nearly three years to build at a cost of roughly $2 billion. CEC staff's concerns include "significant environmental impacts" even with recommended mitigation measures, from "solar flux" (essentially cooking birds in mid-flight as they pass through the solar-reflecting field) to whether the mirrors might appear as a body of water and attract overhead birds down into collisions.

The CEC originally was supposed to rule issue a final vote on Palen earlier this month, but BrightSource and Abengoa, which already revised and scaled back the Palen plan to address various concerns from reducing land and water usage to eliminating an extra transmission line, asked for a delay until later this spring to conduct further assessments, so the CEC's scheduled Jan. 7 meeting became a discussion of further input from the CEC, stakeholders, and other interested parties.

Lead image: Thumbs up, via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Why the Future of the Yieldco Is at Risk

Haresh Patel In the past two years, the proliferation of YieldCos, and their ability to open new sources of capital for renewable energy projects, has captured the attention of the energy industry. While a YieldCo’s potential to catalyz...

Schneider Electric and Saft Partner on Corsican Solar-Energy Storage Project

Andrew Burger Lithium-ion batteries will be used to store PV energy produced by two new solar energy installations and dispatch it to the grid on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. Supplied by Saft, each 1-MWh advanced battery s...

Listen Up: Vampires Sucking Power from your House

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Here’s a nightmare for you: at night, when you’re asleep and you think things are quiet, there are vampires sucking power out of your house and increasing your electric bill. The fact of the matter is that every plugged in ...
Renewable Energy World's network editors help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S. and the UK, the team is comprised of editors from Pennwell Corporation's myriad of publications that ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Grid-connected and Off-grid Photovoltaics

This training covers all aspects of planning, installation, maintenance,...

2015 Green Energy Expo

Stop by and visit Canadian Solar at the Green Energy Expo in Mexico City!

2015 Intersolar-South America

Canadian Solar will be exhibiting @ Intersolar-South America. Stop by an...

COMPANY BLOGS

Fort Collins Residents Help City Reach Climate Targets While Saving...

Fort Collins resident Norman Illsley, 90, is making a statement. He purc...

6 Tips For Finding Great Leads

Embrace and cultivate all of the empowering qualities of a sa...

Compression: That’s What It's All About

With Intersolar already 2 weeks behind us (how did that happen...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS