Hearing on 750-MW solar project

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

When: Thursday, May 24, 2012, beginning at 9 a.m.

Where: California Energy Commission, Hearing Room B, 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: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/riomesa/notices/2012-05-24_Workshop_Notice_TN-65206.pdf

Why: The purpose of the workshop is to allow staff, the applicant, interested agencies, and the public to discuss biological resources, cultural resources, paleontological resources, and soil and water resources as related to staff’s data requests and applicant’s data responses. Other issues related the staff’s review of the project may also be discussed.

What: The developers for the 750-megawatt (MW) project are Rio Mesa Solar I, LLC, Rio Mesa Solar II, LLC, and Rio Mesa Solar III, LLC, which are subsidiaries of BrightSource Energy Inc.

The proposed project consists of three 250-MW solar thermal power plants located on the Palo Verde Mesa in Riverside County, about 13 miles southwest of Blythe. The proposed 5,750-acre site is located partially on private land and partially on public land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Each solar plant would use 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 cost for the project is about $3 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 second quarter of 2016. The project would average 1,040 workers per month during the 36-month construction period, with a maximum of 2,493 at the peak. One-hundred fifty full-time employees would be needed when the project is operating, according to the applicant.