The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved NextEra Energy’s plans to convert the Blythe Solar Power project in Southern California from concentrating solar power (CSP) technology to solar photovoltaic (PV).
Despite findings of unmitigable biological, cultural, land use and visual impacts, CEC found that project benefits outweigh those concerns. The project now must seek approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The commission voted 5-0 to adopt a recommendation of approval for the 485 MW project made in December 2013. “The project will spur California’s transition to renewable energy and help advance its aggressive climate change goals,” said Commissioner Karen Douglas, the author of the December decision.
In this ruling and the earlier presiding member’s proposed decision, CEC members have overridden cumulative impacts of this project and others in the region found by CEC staff in its assessment, which were described as