U.S. Department of Energy

    California Licenses First Solar Thermal Power Plant in 20 Years

    September 1, 2010

    The California Energy Commission on August 25 approved the construction of the proposed 250-megawatt (MW) Beacon Solar Energy Project, the first solar thermal power project permitted in the state in 20 years. The project, built by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, is a concentrated solar electric generating facility on approximately 2,012-acres on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. Its parabolic trough solar thermal technology will produce electricity by heating fluids that transfer heat to drive steam generators.

    During August, the Energy Commission also issued proposed decisions on a variety of solar projects totaling 2,800 MW of power. In addition to the siting committee's approval on August 26 of the proposed 709-MW Imperial Valley Solar Project, others recommended for a license to construct were the 250 MW Abengoa Mojave Solar Project; the 1,000 MW Blythe Solar Power Project; the 250 MW Genesis Solar Energy Project; and the 370 MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project. The state's utilities are required to get 20% of their power from renewables by the end of this year. See the Energy Commission press releases on Beacon and Imperial projects, and August 18 edition of EERE Network News.