Workshops to be held April 30 and May 1 for Palen Concentrating Solar Power Project Amendment

The proposed solar thermal project consists of two 250-MW concentrated solar power plants for a total of 500 MW.

The California Energy Commission staff will hold a workshop for the proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System amendment.

When: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, beginning at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013, beginning at 11 a.m.

Where: April 30 – California Energy Commission, Hearing Room B, 1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California
May 1 – University of California at Riverside, Palm Desert Campus, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, “B” Building, Rooms B114-B117, Palm Desert, California

Arrangements have been made for people unable to attend the workshops to participate by telephone and/or computer. For details, go to the following links:

April 30 –

May 1 –

Why: The workshops are being held to allow Commission staff, the applicant, intervenors, interested agencies, and the public to discuss technical issues related to the proposed amendment.

The issues scheduled for the April 30 workshop are: air quality; facility design; hazardous materials; land use; noise and vibration; public health; socioeconomics; traffic and transportation – glint and glare; transmission line safety and nuisance; transmission system engineering; and water resources.

The areas being discussed on May 1 are: biological resources; cultural resources; worker safety-fire needs assessment; and other topics related to solar flux such as visual and traffic. Riverside County staff will be discussing the project’s impacts on the public safety enterprise communication system.

Technical issues discussed in previous workshops will be discussed as necessary.

The workshops are also an opportunity for the public to comment or ask questions about the project and the Commission’s environmental review of the amendment.

What: In December 2010, the Commission approved the 500-megawatt (MW) Palen Solar Power Project, which would use parabolic trough technology. In December 2012, the new owners of the project filed an amendment with the Commission requesting to change the technology from parabolic trough to solar power tower.

The applicant for the amended project, now called the Palen Solar Electric Generating System, is Palen Solar Holdings, LLC, a joint venture of BrightSource Energy, Inc. and Abengoa.

The proposed project consists of two 250-MW solar plants for a total of 500 MW. Each plant would have about 85,000 heliostats for a total of 170,000 heliostats. Heliostats are elevated mirrors used to focus the sun’s rays on a solar receiver which produces steam to generate electricity. The solar receiver would be located atop a 750-foot tall power tower near the center of each solar field.

The project site is located about 10 miles east of Desert Center, halfway between Indio and Blythe, in eastern Riverside County. The applicant is seeking a right-of-way grant for approximately 5,200 acres of federal public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

In addition to the technology change, the amended project was reconfigured to 3,794 acres, a smaller footprint than either of the two alternative configurations approved in the original Commission decision.

If the Commission approves the Palen amendment, construction would start the fourth quarter of 2013 with commercial operation in June 2016. The estimated capital cost for the project would be $2 billion. The project would average 998 workers during construction with a peak of 2,311. Up to 100 workers would be needed when the project is operational, according to the applicant.

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