Washington, D.C. — U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is arguably the Man of the Year in renewables. After approving the Cape Wind project and giving the nod to four large-scale solar energy projects slated for federal lands, he added another concentrating solar power development to the list this week: The 663.5 MW capacity Calico Solar Project.
The Calico project is being developed in San Bernardino County, California by Tessera Solar with dish-engine technology from Stirling Energy Systems. It’s the second project approved for Tessera/Stirling. The other, a 709-MW development in the Imperial Valley of California, was green-lighted in the beginning of the month.
Also approved this month: Chevron’s Lucerne Valley Solar Project, BrightSource’s Ivanpah Project and First Solar’s Silver State North Solar Project. Including the Calico and Imperial Valley projects, the approved facilities will have a capacity of 1.8 GW.
The Calico project isn’t ready to proceed, however. Tessera still needs final approval from the California Energy Commission and a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. In order to collect the 30% Treasury grant, construction activities will need to start before the end of the year. However, the likelihood of getting everything in place by December 31 is getting slimmer by the day.
Salazar has been running the renewable energy conference circuit in recent months. Below is a video of his speech from the Solar Power International Conference in Los Angeles last week.