California plans series of workshops on Palen solar station

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has scheduled a series of July workshops on the planned 500-MW Palen solar power station in Riverside County, Calif.

The workshops will be held July 17, 22, 25-26. The July 17, 25, and 26 workshops are scheduled for a CEC hearing room in Sacramento. The July 22 session will be held at the University of California at Riverside, Palm Desert Campus.

The workshops are being held to address the preliminary staff assessment of proposed changes to the Palen development plan.

A BrightSource Energy subsidiary acquired the rights to the solar thermal tower technology project via a bankruptcy auction in 2012. Palen was sold as part of the Solar Trust of America’s bankruptcy auction

The estimated capital cost for the project is in the neighborhood of $2bn.

If the Commission approves the Palen amendment, the project owner plans to start construction during the fourth quarter of 2013 with commercial operation in June 2016.

The two-unit power system will be built on about 3,800 acres and will create more than 2,300 jobs for construction workers and support staff, according to the BrightSource website.

The project is being co-developed by BrightSource Energy and Abengoa. Abengoa will build the plants as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, and will lead the operation and maintenance (O & M) of the plant once online. BrightSource will provide the solar technology and plant design.

The CEC authorized construction of 500 MW parabolic trough technology project. In December 2012, BrightSource filed to amend the existing permit to replace the permitted trough technology with a “lower impact, lower cost power tower technology,” the company says on its website.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at