The biggest solar project that plans to provide power to more than 3,00,000 homes in southern California was permitted by the US interior department.
The US$6 Bn, 1,000MW project, a joint venture of Solar Millennium AGand Ferrostaal AG, will be located on federal lands near Blythe, in the southern tip of California.
“The Blythe Solar Power Project is a major milestone in our nation’s renewable energy economy and shows that the United States intends to compete and lead in the technologies of the future,” said US interior secretary Ken Salazar.
This the 6th solar power project approved by the department in the last few weeks, which together have the potential to generate 2,800 MW of electricity, enough to power 2 million homes.
The project will consist of four concentrated solar electric generation facilities that would equal to the generation capacity of a large natural gas or coal-fired power plant.
Rows of curved mirrors up to 192m long will collect heat energy from the sun. The project will have thousands of mirrors lined up on the desert floor.
The project will be built in four units of 250MW each. The first 250MW should be up and running in 2013 and the second one in 2014.
Project’s operators expect approval from the Energy Department by the end of the year for a loan guarantee to cover 75 to 80% of the estimated US$3 Bn cost for the first units of the project.
The solar project, once fully operational, is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 1 MMTPA, which is equivalent to removing 1,45,000 cars off the highway.