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Riverside County solar project gets $2.1-billion federal guarantee

April 18, 2011 | 12:02 pm

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.


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-- Tiffany Hsu

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