Much-delayed 485MW Blythe California project gets federal approval

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

A mammoth 485MW PV plant project in California has passed the final hurdle to gaining federal approval after several years of back-and-forth changes to its development plans.

Blythe Solar, also known as Blythe Mesa, will be built on over 3,587 acres (1,483 hectares) and connected to a substation operated by investor-owned utility Southern California Edison.

This connection to the local network via a 230kv transmission line reserved for generation interconnection needed federal approval, because the line will cross over five miles of public lands. The actual installation itself will be on private land, most of which was apparently formerly used for agriculture but is no longer suitable.

This most recent approval, a Right-of-way Grant, was given by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management last week, with the department announcing the news yesterday. Riverside County, the jurisdiction where the project will lie, gave its own local green light after an environmental impact report which was published in April.

This wait of a few months to coordinate between regional and federal authorities, with DoI approval necessary because of regulations over the building of 230kv power lines, is however dwarfed by the amount of time that has already been spent by various parties looking at the site with interest. Original plans as far back as five years ago had been for a parabolic trough solar thermal plant, although this was changed due to a vote from the California Energy Commission in January 2014. The plant was also scaled down from 1GW in its original form.

The project was originally taken on by NextEra Energy, which had managed to also get approval for the 485MW plan in August 2014 before the project again changed hands. As it now stands Blythe Mesa will be developed by Renewable Resources Group (RRG). It is likely to be built across a number of phases, three phases of 125MW and one of 110MW. It is not clear if equipment suppliers have been selected yet although it is possible PV modules will come from a number of makers across the construction of the plant.

Despite the long wait, it is likely that this would have been better late than never, as the economics of the project would no doubt have changed significantly were it still to be under development when the US Investment Tax Credit (ITC) drops from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016.

19 August 2021
The utility-scale PV market is poised for exponential growth and yet the industry still has many fundamental opportunities to improve on standards and best practice. Tracker shade loss has been one of those topics that deserve more attention, but has been typically handled by derate factors rather than trying to accurately forecast the loss over the life of the system. Join Nextracker’s subject matter experts, Aron Dobos and Neelesh Umachandran, and Rounak Kharait, director of solar energy assessments at DNV, for a webinar about why shade modeling matters and recommendations on what the solar industry should do about it.
25 August 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.
25 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. The event will focus on predicting the key metrics underpinning the next big shift to n-type with answers to the key questions: When will the transition to n-type happen? Which companies will be first to 10 GW capacity and production? Who will be the key equipment suppliers for the new production lines? Which n-type process flow/architecture will emerge as the front-runner? What will polysilicon purity and wafer thickness levels look like for optimized n-type manufacturing? What will the upstream poly/wafer supply-chain look like in 5 years from now?
26 August 2021
In this webinar, JA Solar will present its product portfolio based on the latest technologies to improve your PV projects, ensuring maximum reliability and performance. During the webinar we will receive insight from JA Solar about its solar technology roadmap and how the manufacturer is providing customers with innovative solutions to suit their needs, while we will also analyse how to determine the best product solution for each solar project.
6 September 2021
The 38th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition will be held online from 6 - 10 September 2021, allowing PV experts from all around the globe to participate with just one click! The EU PVSEC is the world's leading forum for PV Research and Development and the biggest Conference on PV Solar Energy worldwide. That is why PV experts from all around the globe are keen on gathering together each year to be part of this specialist’s event, to present and discuss the latest developments in Photovoltaics, to network and to conduct business.

Read Next

August 2, 2021
ReneSola Power has formed a partnership with UK-based Emeren to co-develop ground-mounted solar projects in Italy.
August 2, 2021
Legislation that would increase and extend the US’ residential solar investment tax credit has secured the backing of a host of solar companies and non-profits.
August 2, 2021
Spanish oil and gas major Repsol has increased its renewable energy target from 5.2GW to 6GW and its Low Carbon generation objective from 7.5GW to 8.3 GW by 2025 after posting strong financial results for Q2 which saw the company largely return to pre-pandemic levels
August 2, 2021
First Solar has lowered its earnings and module shipment guidance for 2021 as the company continues to anticipate elevated shipping costs for the remainder of the year.
August 2, 2021
The amount of solar installed in the US in 2020 was 4000% higher than was installed in 2010, with 8,894MW of utility-scale solar projects being added, as corporate demand becomes almost on par with utilities
PV Tech Premium
August 2, 2021
In today’s installment of PV Tech’s ‘European solar under the spotlight’ feature, we assess the potential and key drivers behind Europe’s leading markets in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK