The largest Concentrating Solar Power Receives Proposed Approval from California

Solar Trust of America announced that its project development subsidiary, Solar Millennium, LLC, has received a proposed decision from the California Energy Commission (CEC) granting the license to build and operate its Blythe Solar Power Project in Riverside County, which would be the largest Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) facility in the world. The recommendation marks an important milestone in the company’s efforts to obtain final approval to build the four 242-megawatt plants, totaling 968 megawatts of generating capacity, in Riverside County.

The CEC has determined that the planned facility complies with all applicable laws and regulations. BSPP would employ dry-cooled technology and would use 90 percent less water than previous plant designs, primarily for mirror washing, feed water and onsite domestic use.

The proposed decision is scheduled to be considered for vote by the CEC Commissioners in September following a public comment period.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved Solar Millennium, LLC’s power purchase agreement (PPA) with Southern California Edison (SCE) for two 242-megawatt (MW) solar power plants planned in Blythe, California. The agreement regulates SCE’s purchase of electricity produced by the facilities for 20 years from the start of operations. Solar Millennium, LLC has two PPA’s in place with Southern California Edison.

Uwe T. Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Solar Trust of America and Chairman of Solar Millennium, LLC, said the licensing recommendation is another positive indication of California’s goals regarding the use of renewable energy and the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring electricity providers to increase the use of renewable energy to 20 percent this year and up to 33 percent by 2020.

“We are extremely pleased with the CEC’s recommendation and efforts to accelerate the approval process for our Blythe project,” said Schmidt. “Our nation’s clean energy development initiatives are at a critical crossroads, and we expect to be a leading force in helping California meet its renewable energy goals and provide a significant boost to the state’s economy.”

Josef Eichhammer, President of Solar Trust of America and CEO of Solar Millennium LLC, said, "The recent approval of our power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison by the CPUC and this proposed decision by the CEC for our Blythe Solar Power Project are a crucial step towards completing the permitting process. We believe that we will obtain the record of decision for the construction permit by the Bureau of Land Management for Blythe following the issuance of the CEC license. We plan to receive all construction permits this fall and to finalize the financing for our first project, representing approximately 484 megawatts of generating capacity so that we can start construction by the end of this year.”

Solar Trust of America, LLC is an integrated industrial solar solutions company strategically positioned to support the critical need for renewable energy generation in the United States. The company’s Project Development, Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), financial resources and operational management expertise ensures the delivery of a fully integrated concentrated solar power solution using commercially viable and proven parabolic trough solar thermal energy technology.

Together with its wholly owned U.S. development subsidiary, Oakland, California-based Solar Millennium, LLC, and global business partners Solar Millennium AG and Ferrostaal AG, Solar Trust of America is actively pursuing the construction and development of multiple solar thermal power plants across the southwestern U.S. The company currently has nine solar thermal energy power plants in advanced stages of development near Ridgecrest, Blythe and Desert Center, California, as well as in the Amargosa Valley near Las Vegas, Nevada.