Californian authorities approve huge Blythe concentrating solar power

The Commission of Energy of California (CEC) approved the construction of the Blythe plant, the largest solar energy project presently planned in the world.

Proposed by two companies, Solar Millennium from Germany and Chevron Energy Solutions from the USA, the project includes the construction of four 250 MW concentrating production groups with linear parabolic mirrors, for a total capacity of 1,000 MW. The project is expected to cover a surface of 94 square km in the Riverside County, close to the south-eastern tip of California.

The construction works will begin by the end of this year, also because of requirements regarding government support. Actually, operations will begin after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM, the agency that owns the federal land) will have issued its approval at the end of October, said the CEC.

Over the last few weeks, the CEC had already given the green light for the development of other two concentrating solar farms that will be built on private land, so do not require any authorization from the federal agency.

The total investment for the Blythe project is estimated in over $5 billion. The first electricity generation is scheduled within the first half of 2013.