The California Energy Commission has given its unanimous approval to Solar Millennium to build and operate the Blythe Solar Power Project in Riverside County, a planned 1GW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant that would be the largest solar generating station in the world. Construction on the first pair of four planned 250MW parabolic-trough CSP sections is scheduled to begin by the end of the year.
Although the CEC approval was critical, the company must still secure a “Record of Decision” approving the project’s “Right of Way Grant” from the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which is expected to occur this fall.
The Solar Trust of America project development subsidiary said it is also actively pursuing completion of financing with the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program for the initial 500MW phase of the project.
The project will generate approximately 2500 jobs during the construction period and create more than 200 permanent jobs once the 1GW facility is fully operational, according to the company. Once completed, the dry-cooled CSP plant will produce enough energy annually to supply more than 300,000 homes.
Solar Trust says it has nine utility-scale solar thermal projects in advanced stages of development in California and Nevada.
The Blythe plant is the third major CSP farm to gain CEC approval recently, following the go-ahead given to NextEra Energy’s proposed 250MW Beacon project in late August and the 250MW Abengoa Mojave Solar Project last week. The commission is expected to rule on several other CSP projects before the end of the year.