- Project Owner
- NextEra Blythe Solar Energy Center, LLC
- Docket Number
- 485 MW
- Riverside County
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV)
- Project Status
- Operational (Photovoltaic)
- Project Type
- Application for Certification
The Blythe Solar Power Project (BSPP) is located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at 4000 Dracker Drive, 2 miles north of the Interstate-10 freeway, approximately 8 miles west of the city of Blythe, Riverside County, California.
The modified (current and operational) BSPP was certified by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in January 2014. Construction of the modified BSPP began in March 2015. Unit 1 (110 MW) became operational on April 28, 2016. Unit 2 (125 MW) became operation on October 28, 2016. Unit 3 became operational on May 28, 2020, Unit 4a became operational on September 1, 2020, and Unit 4b became operational on November 10, 2020.
NextEra Blythe Solar Energy Center, LLC (NextEra) received CEC approval to develop the BSPP using both thin film and crystalline silicon photovoltaic generation technology, with an output of 485 MW. Linear access to the site is unchanged from the original proposal and the modified BSPP interconnects to the regional transmission grid via gen-tie line to Southern California Edison’s Colorado River Substation (CRS). NextEra petitioned the state legislature to allow the CEC to maintain jurisdiction despite the change to photovoltaic technology.
BSPP was developed in four operational phases. The first three units (phases) generate approximately 125 MW each. The fourth unit generates approximately 110 MW. The transmission corridor is in the center of the site and follows the access road. BSPP is entirely on public land within BLM Right-of-Way Grant No. CACA–048811. The total acreage of BSPP is approximately 4,070 acres, excluding linear facilities outside of the proposed solar plant site.
Palo Verde Solar I LLC, the original applicant, filed an application for certification on August 24, 2009, proposing to build the BSPP, a 1,000 MW solar thermal electric generating facility on 7,043 acres of land managed by the BLM, including linear features, i.e. transmission lines, etc. BSPP was to consist of four adjacent, independent units of 250 MW nominal capacity each. That proposal was approved by the CEC on September 15, 2010.
On August 10, 2016, the CEC approved a petition to transfer ownership of the BSPP, Unit 1, from NextEra Blythe Solar Energy Center LLC to Blythe Solar 110, LLC and Unit 2 from NextEra Blythe Solar Energy Center LLC to Blythe Solar II, LLC. On April 15, 2020, the CEC approved a transfer of ownership of Units 3 and 4 from Blythe Solar Energy Center, LLC, to Blythe Solar III, LLC, and Blythe Solar IV, LLC, respectively.
Order Approving Petition to Transfer Ownership of Units 1 & 2, TN 212731, Order No. 16-0810-01a, Commission approval to transfer ownership of Blythe Solar Power Project (BSPP), Unit 1, from NextEra Blythe Solar, LLC (NBS) to Blythe Solar 110, LLC and Unit 2 from NBS to Blythe Solar II, LLC.
Statement of Staff Approval to Transfer ownership of Units 3 & 4, TN 232875, 04/30/2020, Staff approval of NextEra Blythe Solar Energy Center, LLC only owning the shared facilities that are common to all four units of the BSPP and to transfer ownership of Units 3 and 4 from Blythe Solar Energy Center, LLC, to Blythe Solar III, LLC, and Blythe Solar IV, LLC, respectively.
Order Approving Petition for A Jointly Initiated Amendment to Remove Condition of Certification TRANS-8, TN 233119, 05/26/2020, Order No. 20-0513-01a, Commission approval of jointly initiated amendment to remove Condition of Certification TRANS-8 in the Commission Decision because compliance with the condition is legally impossible.
Statement of Staff Approval to Eliminate 94 Acres from Project, TN 233730, 07/02/2020, Staff approval to eliminate approximately 94 acres of land in the western portion of the site, just east of Dracker Drive.
Attention: Non-hypertext items above will need to be requested from the Compliance Project Manager, along with the document TN number, if provided above.
Power Plant Certification and Exemption Processes
The CEC has the exclusive authority to certify all thermal power plants 50 megawatts (MW) and larger and related facilities proposed for construction in California. The Application for Certification (AFC) process is a certified regulatory program under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As a certified regulatory program, the CEC does not prepare environmental impact reports (EIRs) in an AFC proceeding, but instead prepares environmental assessment documents that are functionally equivalent to EIRs. A certificate issued by the CEC is in lieu of any permit, certificate, or similar document otherwise required by any state, local or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law, and supersedes any applicable statute, ordinance, or regulation of any state, local, or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law.