For Immediate Release: November 18, 2009
Media Contact: Michele Demetras - 916-654-4989

Review starts for three planned power plants

Sacramento – The California Energy Commission has started the review of three proposed solar thermal power plants.

The Energy Commission, by a unanimous vote determined today that the application for certification (AFC) for each of these proposed facilities is complete or data adequate.

  • the 484-megawatt Palen solar parabolic trough project near Palen Dry Lake in Riverside County;
  • the 968-megawatt Blythe solar parabolic trough project near the city of Blythe, Riverside County.
  • the 250-megawatt Ridgecrest solar trough project in the high northern Mojave Desert in northeastern Kern County, about five miles southwest of the city of Ridgecrest.

Data adequacy means the applicants have submitted enough information for the Commission to start the yearlong review of each project's AFC.

The Commission has named Commissioner Jeffrey Byron to lead the review of the Palen project. Commission Chairman Karen Douglas is the associate member.

Commission Chairman Karen Douglas has been named committee leader for the Blythe project. Commissioner Jeffrey Byron is the associate member.

Commissioner James Boyd heads the review of the Ridgecrest project, with Commissioner Julia Levin as the second member.

As lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Commission, through its facility certification process, examines public health and safety, environmental impacts, and engineering aspects of proposed power plants and all related facilities, such as electric transmission lines and natural gas and water pipelines.

The Energy Commission works closely with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in reviewing applications for large solar thermal power proposed on federal lands. The plants located on BLM-managed desert areas require both federal and state approval.

Solar Millennium LLC and Chevron Energy Solutions propose to construct, own, and operate the Palen Solar Power Project. The project is a concentrated solar thermal electric generating facility with two adjacent, independent, and identical solar plants of 250 megawatt (MW) nominal capacity each for a total capacity of 500 MW nominal. The project site would be located approximately 10 miles east of Desert Center, along Interstate 10 approximately halfway between the cities of Indio and Blythe, in Riverside County, California. Additional information on the Palen project is at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_palen

Solar Millennium, LLC and Chevron Energy Solutions propose to construct, own, and operate the Blythe Solar Power Project. The project is a concentrated solar thermal electric generating facility with four adjacent, independent, and identical solar plants of 250 megawatt (MW) nominal capacity each for a total capacity of 1,000 MW nominal. The project site is located on about 6,000 acres of federally managed land approximately two miles north of U.S. Interstate-10 (I-10) and eight miles west of the City of Blythe in an unincorporated area of Riverside County, California. Additional information on the Blythe project is at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_blythe/index.html

Solar Millennium LLC proposes to construct the Ridgecrest project. The project facilities will occupy 1,760 acres and utilize solar parabolic trough technology to generate electricity. Additional information on the Ridgecrest project is at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_ridgecrest/

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