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September 2nd, 2010

World’s largest solar plant nears approval

Published on September 2nd, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

The New York Times reported that what it claims will be the largest solar plant in the world is nearing final approval.

The Blythe Solar Power Project in southeast California will have the capacity to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity – enough to power roughly 800,000 homes. The California Energy Commission formally recommended this month that the project be approved.

Project developer Solar Millennium predicts the project will to take about 6 years to complete, and cost around $6 billion. The company specializes in parabolic trough power plants.

“A 1,000-megawatt plant is a grand undertaking,” Uwe T. Schmidt, Solar Millennium’s executive chairman, told the NYT. “But the benefits are so positive.” Schmidt says, the Blythe facility will prevent an additional 2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, compared to a traditional power facility.

According to the NYT, the Blythe plant is the fifth of nine proposed solar projects in California that have placed on a “fast-track” schedule with hopes of getting the projects started by the end of the year. Projects underway by year’s end can qualify for lucrative federal grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The nine solar plants would cover 41,229 acres and generate 4,580 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 3.8 million businesses and homes.

The full Bureau of Land Management Environmental Impact Statement can be found here. The EIS is open for public comment through Sept. 18.

 


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