SCE Gets CPUC Approval for 245-MW Solar Thermal Plans

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved plans to develop up to 245 megawatts (MW) of concentrating solar thermal generation in the state. The approval comes under the terms of a deal between Southern California Edison (SCE) and plant developer eSolar.

The decision follows a 20-year power purchase agreement that was signed between SCE and eSolar for the output from the facility, known as the Gaskell Sun Tower. The agreement was signed in June 2008. Gaskell is the first solar thermal project that SCE has executed a contract for since the start of the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program.

Regulatory approval from the CPUC allows SCE to recover the costs of the deal from its customers. The plant is set to be built in Kern County. Financing for the plant is set to come from Google.org, Idealab and Oak Investment Partners.

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