The Blythe Solar Power Project, that we talked about in a previous article, has been approved by the U.S. federal regulators. It will occupy 7,000 acres in Riverside County, California, and will generate more than 1 gigawatt of totally renewable energy.
The project, built by Chevron Energy Solutions in collaboration with Solar Millennium, a German company’s US subsidiary, will use concave mirrors to focus the sun’s power onto oil-filled black tubes. The oil will be sent to a turbine, generating electricity.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Blythe plant would be “a major milestone in our nation’s renewable energy economy.” Although the power plant will be located on the natural habitat of some species of lizards, tortoises, owls and the bighorn sheep, the National Resources Defense Council declared that the project’s initiators have cooperated with them in limiting the damage done to those species, so the effects on them are minimum.
The Blythe project will be located near industrial and agricultural lands and in the vicinity of a newly-approved electricity transmission line, making things easier for it to reduce costs. Moreover, the area had been identified as fruitful for solar power development by several environmental groups.
All that the building companies will have to do now is start working before the end of the year, to catch the federal stimulus funds. That’s one of the reasons they were in such a hurry doing the paperwork.