California commission holds workshop, hearing on Blythe solar project

The California Energy Commission is holding a Nov. 12 workshop and a Nov. 19 evidentiary hearing on the proposed Blythe Solar Power Project Amendment.

The workshop will enable commission staff to discuss with the project applicant issues identified in the staff assessment for the proposed 485-MW solar photovoltaic project. Air quality, biological resources, paleontological resources, and soil and water resources will be discussed. The public can also ask questions.

The assessment, published Sept. 23 and Oct. 11, will serve as staff’s testimony at the evidentiary hearing held by a committee of two commissioners reviewing the project. The committee will issue a proposed decision based on evidence from the hearing. The proposed decision will be presented to the full commission for a final decision.

In September 2010, the commission approved the 1,000-MW Blythe Solar Power Project, a solar thermal power project using parabolic trough technology. The site is located about eight miles west of Blythe in eastern Riverside County. It was originally to be built on 7,043 acres of federal public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The project owner, Palo Verdes Solar I LLC, a subsidiary of Solar Millennium, filed an amendment with the commission in June 2012 to change the technology to solar photovoltaic. In April 2013, the new project owner, NextEra Blythe Energy Center LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), filed a revised amendment to reduce the project’s physical size and generation capacity.

The 485-MW project would be developed on 4,070 acres of BLM land in four phases, with the first three consisting of 125 MW and the fourth generating 110 MW. The estimated capital construction cost is $1.13bn, according to the project owner.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.