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Riverside County solar project gets $2.1-billion federal guarantee

Yet another California renewable energy project will get financial support from the federal government, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday.

The first two parts of the Blythe Solar Power Project in Riverside County were awarded a conditional commitment for a $2.1-billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy -– the controversial program’s largest offering to a solar project.

So far, 22 clean-energy projects –- including wind, geothermal and biofuels, in 14 states have been handed $21 billion in conditional commitments. In April, BrightSource Energy Inc. closed on a $1.6-billion loan guarantee for a 392-megawatt solar installation in the Ivanpah Valley.

“We could sit on the sidelines and watch the competition pass us by, or we could get in the race to win,” Chu said.

The Blythe solar thermal facility, backed by Solar Trust of America subsidiary Solar Millennium, will initially be able to generate 484 megawatts of power and will feature an eight-mile transmission line.  Eventually, the completed project will produce a full gigawatt, to be sold to the Southern California Edison utility.

The company said construction will require more than 1,000 construction jobs and create 80 permanent operations positions.


Subpar record-keeping at Energy Dept.'s loan guarantee program, audit finds

Blythe solar project wins federal approval

New California law:one third of state's electricity to come from renewable sources

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Initial construction on Blythe solar project. Credit: Solar Millennium

Comments () | Archives (8)

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Why bulldoze desert when we have acres of roof space and carpark that's already flat? Note, that in England, if you have solar panels on your house, the privatized and competing electricity companies there will buy your excess electricity from you. Why can't the DWP do that for LA residents?

It seems Google is showing more interest in investing solar related projects.

What a colossal shame. Billions of dollars of taxpayer money going to destroy desert when it would be far better spent on putting solar energy panels on rooftops and to make covered parking roofs in the cities. And where are the teapartiers to protest this abuse of our land and our tax money?

On the one hand I want to congratulate our elected leaders in making strides toward renewables. Overall, production scale projects such as this will help drive the costs down and make solar a more mainstream sustainable, economically viable solution.

On the other hand we are losing efficiencies in using today's infrastructure philosophies...centralized generation schemes require expensive transmission systems and the consumption of pristine land to make happen.

Home/personal generation systems negate the need for such advances are made we'll no longer need rooftop panels, your roof will be the panel - no land is wasted and no turtles are harmed...

Put simply it appears our politicians are getting the message but missing the subtler points. We are at a point where we can drive real efficiencies but we choose to keep status quo so that certain corporate entities(SCE) can ensure their financial future.

In the end market forces will prevail...I'm personally at the point now where I am seriously looking at home solar...

Why is it necessary for these projects to have nothing but dry, bare, lifeless dirt beneath them? Could they not lift the mirrors to allow a great, low-level, partially shaded, protected, ecosystem to survive? Perhaps between the service tracks? Seriously, how much would that cost to manage? Seems like a lost opportunity.

first of all, what a TOTAL waste of taxpayer money - 200,000 American families could have used the Blythe money for PACE loans to install rooftop solar systems that would have provided them with 40 years of free power, and as those families repaid the loans, thousands more families could have become essentially energy independent.

Instead, once again, we are being forced to subsidize Big Energy who can then hijack us and rip us off. unbelievable.

secondly, you don't have to look past the photo to see how "green" this is. it is a full-on industrialization of wilderness, and it's PERMANENT. meanwhile, our cities and burbs bake and sprawl without rooftop panels. it is outrageous.

when you pay your taxes today, be sure and keep in mind that you are still subsidizing Big Energy (never mind they are exponentially richer than you already) instead of getting improved property values, more and better local jobs, clean air and grid reliability by being allowed to borrow YOUR OWN MONEY for rooftop solar.

Good. The Inland Empire needs the jobs.

We who live in the San Bernardino County Desert and southwest US Desert, know that the jobs politicians are talking about are not worth the price of Solar on Public Desert Land. First of all, the thousands of jobs are all temporary except for maybe ten. Big foreign made tractors ripping up the desert-land are not permanent jobs. Second, the impact of the big scraper blades crushing the endanger Tortoise in their burrows, along with all the vegetation that going to be rip up, both common and rare that will be loss is mind bogging. And consider criminal to me. Have they thought of migrating birds looking for their food chain of life that they depended on that was in the flowering plants that will be lost because of ripping up the land vegetation during their migrations effect will be? The transmission lines and towers that will be necessary to carry solar energy will scar the desert for more years than my grandchildren’s children, children will ever see it as it is now. Third the price the desert has to pay for large cities, and metropolitan area to burn their flood light on all night is a joke. When I was young we did not burn light all night ( I still do not) as some large city people do now days. Why does the desert have to be destroyed for light pollution abusers? Why not introduce a bill that would outlaw and give fines for outside lights on after 9 PM. Please encourage roof-top solar and not miles and miles of rip up the living desert, just for light-polluters’
Frank Schneider Southern California Desert Lover


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