1,000-Megawatt Plant in Calif. Marks New Milestone in Solar Expansion  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The New York Times has a report on the largest of the solar thermal power plants proposed for California - 1,000-Megawatt Plant in Calif. Marks New Milestone in Solar Expansion.

Federal regulators are nearing final approval of what would be the largest solar power plant in the world, a milestone that sets a new standard for the industry and marks a major advancement in the Obama administration's efforts to expand renewable energy production nationwide.

The Bureau of Land Management has issued a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Blythe Solar Power Project in southeast California. When fully operational, the solar thermal power plant would have the capacity to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power roughly 800,000 homes.

The final EIS, which is considered the last federal regulatory hurdle before a record of decision authorizing construction, is open for public comment through Sept. 18. The California Energy Commission, which must also render a decision on the Blythe plant, formally recommended this month that the project be approved.

"We're already beginning work on the record of decision, on compliance monitoring plans, on getting all the paperwork together for the rentals and reclamation, and our hope is to package it all together for one big signing" as early as October, said Holly Roberts, associate field manager for BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office in Palm Springs, Calif.

Solar Millennium LLC, the Oakland, Calif.-based project developer, said it will take at least six years to complete all four phases of the $6 billion project, which will be located on 7,025 acres of BLM land in Riverside County, about eight miles west of the city of Blythe.

When completed, the Blythe plant would nearly double the current 585 megawatts of installed commercial-scale solar generation nationwide and would have a capacity to generate nearly three times the electricity produced at the country's largest solar facility -- the nine-unit, 354-megawatt Solar Energy Generating Systems plant in Kramer Junction, Calif., according to statistics provided by the Solar Energy Industries Association.


So you're convinced renewables is the way to go? Even though vast segments of the power grid would be wiped out by night? Or less effective due to weather? Or less effective again due to the seasonal influences on available sun?

I'm having trouble with the idea that we can actually *rely* on renewables when there are so many truly horrid scenarios ahead if we get peak oil wrong.

If we build out GenIV reactors they can eat nuclear waste and solve our nuclear waste problem, generate all the electricity we need despite the time of day or weather or season, and help us survive the end of oil through electric cars and some synfuel creation.

If we get this wrong... well, you know where that could go. A grid that crashes, the water stops coming out of the taps, "The Road"...

Yes - I'm convinced renewables are the way to go.

We've been over this many times - intermittency is handled by diversity of supply sources (type and geography), a better interconnected grid and demand management via a market mechanism.

GenIV reactors remain a theoretical concept in the real world while most types of renewables are available today.

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