World's Largest Solar Plant in Blythe, California Approved for Construction
Solar Millenium 1000MW Blythe Solar Plant to generate electricity for 300,000 homes and create over 1000 jobs
Construction of a 1000 MW solar plant in Blythe, California finally received approval yesterday by the U.S. government. The plant, to be built in the Mojave Desert, is currently the largest solar plant to begin construction and will generate electricity to power 300,000 homes, more than doubling the amount of solar power currently produced in the United States.
The 7000 acre solar plant will be developed by Solar Millenium and will create 1066 jobs during construction and 295 permanent jobs when operational. Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2010 and to produce electricity by 2013. The project is estimated to cost $6 billion.
The solar plant will use a parabolic trough system, a form of concentrating solar power (CSP), "whereby parabolic mirrors focus the sun’s energy onto collector tubes. Fluid in the tubes is then heated and sent to a boiler, which sends live steam to a turbine to produce electricity.”
This is the sixth solar plant the U.S government has approved for construction on public land. Others include:
The U.S. is expected to approve, within the next few weeks, a seventh solar plant on public land. The seven projects are expected to generate more than 3,000 MW of solar power at full capacity and provide electricity for 2 million homes. They will create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and hundreds of permanent jobs.
Apparently the Solar Millenium solar plant was held up due to wildlife threats. According to MSNBC, Solar Millenium has to "provide funding for more than 8,000 acres of desert tortoise, western burrowing owl, bighorn sheep and Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat to mitigate the project’s impacts."
The approval comes at an opportune time for Solar Millenium since solar plants that begin construction before December 31 qualify for a Treasury Department grant of 30 percent of the project's cost.