For Immediate Release: July 26, 2012
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Workshop to be held August 2 for Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop for the proposed Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility.

When: Thursday, August 2, 2012, beginning at 9 a.m.

Where: California Energy Commission, Second Floor Fishbowl, 1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California.

Arrangements have been made for people unable to attend the workshop to participate by telephone and/or by computer. For details, click the link and scroll to page 4:

Why: The workshop is being held to allow staff, the applicant, interested agencies, and the public to discuss paleontological resources and cultural resources associated with the project. The cultural resources discussion will focus on geoarchaeological research design, archaeological resources evaluation, and data requests numbers 174 to 178.

What: The developer for the 500-megawatt (MW) project is Rio Mesa Solar Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of BrightSource Energy, Inc. The proposed project consists of two 250-MW solar thermal power plants located on the Palo Verde Mesa in Riverside County, about 13 miles southwest of Blythe.

The proposed 3,805-acre site would be located on private land leased from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The project gen-tie line, emergency and construction electrical power supply land, and primary access road would be located on federal land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

In July 2012, BrightSource filed an amended application for certification that removed the northernmost power plant that would have been on BLM land. The company made the change in response to issues raised during the early review process including cultural resources, biological resources, transmission corridor conflicts, and scheduling concerns from BLM.

The project had originally been submitted to the Commission in October 2011 as a 750-MW project. The site was proposed on approximately 5,750 acres located partially on private land and partially on public land administered by the BLM.

Each solar plant would use approximately 85,000 heliostats - elevated mirrors guided by a tracking system mounted on a pylon - to focus the sun's rays on a receiver located atop a 750-foot-tall solar power tower near the center of each solar field.

The estimated capital construction cost for the 500-MW project is about $2 billion. If the project is approved, construction of the facility, from site preparation and grading to commercial operation, would take place from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2016. The project would average 840 workers a month during the projected three-year construction period, with a maximum of 2,200 at the peak. Up to 100 full-time employees would be needed when the project is operating, according to the applicant.

More information on the Rio Mesa project can be found at:

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