Reports: BrightSource shelves 500MW CSP plans

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US solar thermal developer BrightSource Energy has shelved a 500MW concentrating solar (CSP) plant in California, according to reports.

The Oakland-based company is understood to have asked regulators to suspend the permitting process for its US$2.7 billion Hidden Hills project the same day as utility Pacific Gas & Electric cancelled plans to buy power from the plant.

A company spokeswoman quoted by Bloomberg said BrightSource and PG&E had “mutually agreed to terminate” their contracts because of uncertainties over the timing of transmission upgrades to support the project.

The Hidden Hills project was to have been formed of two 250MW CSP plants and has had a contract to supply the electricity it generates to PG&E in place since 2009.

The project is the second BrightSource project to be put on ice this year. In January the company confirmed it had cancelled power purchase contracts with Southern Californian Edison for the first and second phases of its 500MW Rio Mesa project.

Earlier this year, BrightSource’s chief executive declared that CSP in the US would continue to grow despite the gradual disappearance of government funding for large-scale projects. He told PV-Tech he thought costs in CSP would continue to fall as they have done with PV and wind.

BrightSource is currently working on a number of other CSP projects, including its flagship Ivanpah scheme and the 500MW Palen project, which the company told Bloomberg would be its main focus now.

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