Californian solar plants given approval by commission

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The California Energy Commission has given approval for two solar power plants to be built in Southern California.

The 500MW Palen Solar Power Project and the 150MW Rice Solar Energy Project, both in Riverside County, are the eighth and ninth solar thermal power plants that the California Energy Commission has licensed in the past four months.

Both projects still require decisions from the federal Bureau of Land Management, which approves the use of federal public lands, before they can proceed. The Rice project also requires approval from the Western Area Power Administration. Those approvals are scheduled to be made in 2011.

During the construction of the Palen project, a peak workforce of 1,145 will be required, with another 134 jobs when the plant is in operation. With the Rice project, a peak workforce of 438 will be needed during construction, with another 47 jobs when the plant is operating.

Palen Solar, a subsidiary of Solar Millennium, applied for the application to build the Palen project - a concentrating solar trough thermal electric generating facility with two adjacent and independent units of 250MW each.

The Rice Solar Energy Project is being proposed by Rice Solar Energy, a subsidiary of SolarReserve. This project is a concentrating solar thermal power project with a central receiver tower, sun-tracking heliostat field and an integrated thermal storage system using molten salt as the heat transfer and storage medium.

The seven previously licensed plants are: the 25MW Abengoa Mojave Solar Project; the 250MW Beacon Solar Energy Project; the 1,000MW Blythe Solar Power Project; the 663.5MW Calico Solar Project; the 250MW Genesis Solar Energy Project; the 709MW Imperial Valley Solar Project; and the 370MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project.