For Immediate Release: March 11, 2010
Media Contact: Michele Demetras - 916-654-4989


Joint Staff Assessment/Environmental Impact Statement
Released for Blythe Solar Project in Riverside County

SACRAMENTO - The staff of the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released a joint staff assessment/draft environmental statement (SA/DEIS) for the Blythe Solar Power Project. The project is being jointly developed by Solar Millennium, LLC, and Chevron Energy Solutions.

The facility, planned eight miles west of the city of Blythe in an unincorporated area of Riverside County, would help meet California's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

While not a final decision on the project, the SA/DEIS will serve as commission staff's testimony and recommended mitigation measures during the evidentiary hearings phase on the proposed project. The joint SA/DEIS for the Blythe Solar Project is now available for public comment until mid-June, 2010.

A Notice of Availability (NOA) for the SA/DEIS is being posted and distributed by the BLM and will be published in the Federal Register.

The Energy Commission will conduct evidentiary hearings and staff/BLM will publish a Supplemental Staff Assessment/Final Environmental Impact Statement (SAA/FEIS). The Energy Commission will then publish the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision (PMPD). The PMPD will be available for public review and comment, after which the full Commission renders a final decision and the federal government issues its record of decision and land use plan amendment on the proposed project. If the project is approved, BLM will issue a right-of-way grant to the applicant and implement its plan amendment. The decisions are currently expected this year.

The Energy Commission and the BLM jointly review solar thermal projects of 50 megawatts and greater proposed on public land managed by the BLM. The Commission is the lead permitting agency under the California Environmental Quality Act. The BLM is the lead permitting agency under the National Environmental Policy Act.

If approved, the proposed project would use solar parabolic trough technology by collecting heat energy from the sun and turning it into steam, generating turbines to produce electricity. The project's nominal 1,000 megawatt output will be generated by four identical and independent 250 megawatt units (unit #1 through unit #4). Project construction is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2010 and take approximately 69 months to completion of unit #4 in 2016. Commercial operation of the first completed unit is expected to begin in mid-2013, with subsequent units coming online in six to twelve month intervals.

For additional details on the Blythe Solar Project SA/DEIS, click on:

For more information on Governor Schwarzenegger's Executive Order to advance the states Renewable Portfolio Standards, go to: