For Immediate Release: November 12, 2010
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Proposed Decision Recommends License for Rice Solar Energy Project

SACRAMENTO - A California Energy Commission siting committee is recommending approval of the planned Rice Solar Energy Project in Riverside County.

In its presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) released today, the committee said the proposed 150-megawatt plant, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards.

The proposed decision for the Rice Solar Energy Project was based solely on the record of facts, which were established during the facility's certification proceeding.

The PMPD is not a final decision on the project. The committee released the document for 30 days of public comment and will consider input before bringing the proposed decision to the full five-member Commission. The entire document can be found on the Commission's website at:

The Rice Solar Energy Project is being proposed by Rice Solar Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of SolarReserve, LLC. The facility will be located 15 miles northeast of Vidal Junction and about 40 miles northwest of Blythe in eastern Riverside County. The project will be on 1,410 acres of a 2,560-acre parcel of private land located immediately south of State Route 62. A 161-kilovolt generation tie line and substation would be located partly on federal Bureau of Land Management land.

The project is a concentrating solar thermal power project with a central receiver tower, sun-tracking heliostat field and an integrated thermal storage system using molten salt as the heat transfer and storage medium. A large field of mirrors or heliostats concentrates and focuses the sun's energy onto a central receiver. The project uses thermal energy storage that allows solar energy to be captured throughout the day and retained in a molten salt heat transfer fluid. When electricity is generated, the hot liquid salt is routed to heat exchangers to heat water and produce steam. The steam is used to generate electricity in a conventional steam turbine cycle.

The Rice Solar Energy Project is among nine large solar thermal projects scheduled to go before the full Commission before the end of the year. More than 4,100 megawatts of solar power will be added if all nine projects are approved.

The seven plants that have already have been licensed are: 250-MW Abengoa Mojave Solar Project (Sept. 8); the 250-MW Beacon Solar Energy Project (Aug. 25); the 1,000-MW Blythe Solar Power Project (Sept. 15); 663.5-MW Calico Solar Project (Oct. 28); the 250-MW Genesis Solar Energy Project (Sept. 29); the 709-MW Imperial Valley Solar Project (Sept. 29) ; and the 370-MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project (Sept. 22).

The 500-MW Palen Solar Power Project is still under review.

The federal government and the State of California have established the need to increase the development and use of renewable energy in order to enhance the nation's energy independence, meet environmental goals, and create new economic growth opportunities.

More information on the proposed project is at:

# # #