Posting in Energy
State and federal agencies are in the process of approving over 4,500 megawatts of solar energy production capacity in California.
Solar power may be on the rise in California with the state Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) approval of several power purchase agreements on Thursday. Meanwhile, a host of other projects that would significantly increase that state's solar power production are awaiting approval from state and Federal agencies.
CPUC is permitting Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to purchase energy for a 20-year period from three solar photovoltaic facilities that are owned by Eurus Energy America, as well as a 25-year deal with Genesis Solar. Southern California Edison was granted approval for a power purchase agreement with Solar Partners I, a private energy company that is based in Oakland, CA.
Eurus Energy is expected to add its capacity to PG&E's grid beginning in mid-2011, according to CPUC. An estimated 77 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy will be delivered annually, and facilities will be located near Fresno, CA.
In 2013, PG&E will purchase 524 GWh of renewable energy annual from Genesis Solar, an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources. The facility will be built in Riverside County, CA.
The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must approve projects that are developed on federal land. CNET reports that BLM today announced its final environmental impact statement for Chevron Energy Solutions' Lucerne Valley Solar Project, which would produce 1,000 megawatts worth of generating capacity.
Over nine solar projects are awaiting fast-track approvals from BLM; they would add over 4,500 megawatts in generating capacity to the state's energy mix. That is enough energy to power 3.8 million homes, according to federal estimates cited in CNET's report.
The fast-track approval process was created to determine whether projects had advanced far enough to qualify for funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. California has mandated that utilities generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources before the end of the year.
Aug 13, 2010
It's a relief to see the BLM is getting with the program on renewable energy. When the first surge of interest in Concentrating Solar hit, the BLM froze all new applications and said there would have to be a two year Environmental Impact Study on each site. There was an uproar and they backed off. Now, if it was a coal mine... there would be a big impact. Toxic tailings, mountain-tops blown off, streams polluted. Not to mention mercury output from the coal after it's burned, and the huge amount of fly ash that is building up. But this is a DESERT. That's WHY we want to build solar plants there. There isn't that much to impact in a desert anyway. The rattlesnakes and prairie dogs would probably appreciate the shade cast by the mirrors. And of course, the only emission from a Concentrating Solar Plant is a trace of steam. Water is an issue, but it doesn't have to be DRINKABLE water. Even deserts may have a layer of saline water underground if you drill for it. The power can be transmitted up to 1,500 miles. That's a BIG swathe of the United States that will be able to back off on coal plants.
@Daryl420: Agreed! A step in the right direction, for sure. Efficiency will be more of an issue in the next decade, considering that so many companies are taking their sweet time to get on the green energy bandwagon as it is. Your idea for the specialized vehicle is definitely something that could be done effectively, and without pinching too much into the return on this investment.
This is great news! We need more power plants like this- Love it. -California Solar Engineering www.calsolareng.com
WTG california... get it done... my only issue with this solar farm is that the spacing between the rows could be cut in almost in half and not impede maintenaince (there looks to be about 20 feet between the rows of solar panels), esspecially if a speciallized vehicle were used that was wider in the bottom for stability and narrower at the middle and top for mobility between the rows of solar panels; they could thusly have 33-50% more generating capaity using the same amount of land and the same solar panels, as currently judging by the picture more light is hitting the sand between the rows of solar panels than is actually hitting the solar panels which makes the setup that much less efficent than it could be.... but still, a step in the right direction to be sure.