BrightSource’s 500-MW Hidden Hills CSP Project Delayed — Again

The California Energy Commission has agreed to extend, until April 3, 2015, its suspension of a review proceeding for the 500-MW Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating project.

Hidden Hills Solar Holdings LLC, an affiliate of BrightSource Energy LLC, had on April 11 requested the extension of a suspension that had been due to expire on April 3. The company didn’t say why the continued suspension is needed. The commission on May 6 agreed to the extension, requiring that the company file quarterly status reports beginning Oct. 1, 2014.

In August 2011, Hidden Hills Solar Holdings had submitted its application for certification (AFC) to construct and operate the Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System (HHSEGS). HHSEGS would generate in total 500 MW (net) from two plants located on about 3,277 acres in Inyo County, Calif., right next to the Nevada border. The project site is approximately eight miles south of Pahrump, Nevada, and approximately 45 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada. The project companies are Hidden Hills Solar I LLC and Hidden Hills Solar II LLC.

On April 3, 2013, following all discovery, analysis and hearing phases of the HHSEGS AFC licensing proceeding, including evidentiary hearings, and just prior to the commencement of the proposed decision phase, the company filed a notice of suspension.

Commission staff on April 28 said the company should offer future updates on various things, including:

  • Whether BrightSource has worked with any agencies or transmission companies (the Valley Electric Association or others) on alternative routes or plans for delivery of HHSEGS-generated electricity into California via the California ISO and its real-time energy market (as it currently exists, or would exist following future expansion plans);
  • The current interconnection status with CAISO and the Valley Electric Association, including the expected execution date for the Large Generator Interconnection Agreement, and whether or not the Phase I and/or Phase II interconnection study identified the need for any downstream transmission facilities that would require environmental review; and
  • Has BrightSource discussed HHSEGS project viability in light of the Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) sunset on Dec. 31, 2016, given the ITC concerns related to the schedule for BrightSource’s Palen Solar Energy Project.

HHSEGS will be made up of two solar fields and associated facilities: the northern solar plant (Solar Plant 1) and the southern solar plant (Solar Plant 2). Each solar plant will generate 270 MW (gross) and 250 MW (net). Each solar plant will use heliostats, which are elevated mirrors guided by a tracking system mounted on a pylon. This system focuses the suns rays on a solar receiver steam generator (SRSG) atop a solar power tower near the center of each solar field.

This article was originally published on GenerationHub and was republished with permission.

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