October 26, 2021

California Approves Construction of Massive Solar Power Project

California Solar Energy Project

California Solar Energy Project

Energy commissioners in California granted approval for construction of the world’s largest solar energy project earlier this week. The 1,000-megawatt facility features parabolic mirrors as well as heating elements in Riverside County where it should generate hundreds of new construction jobs.

Once completed, the $4 billion ‘Blythe Solar Power Project’ will produce electrical power to service over 800,000 homes, according to a report by the California Energy Commission. Authorities labeled it as a milestone in California’s drive to generate 1/3 of its energy requirements from renewable sources.

“Please build this project. It is exactly what we are looking for,”  said commissioner Jeffrey D. Byron, senior director of development for the Blythe project’s developer, Solar Millennium.

Construction is projected to commence by December 2010 and should last an estimated 69 months. An average of approximately 600 workers will be employed by the project. However, it will eventually employ over 1,000 workers at its peak. When completed, the solar plant will provide employment for 221 individuals, plans indicate.

The commission’s vote marked the third major solar project okayed by the energy commission recently, and the second in California’s Inland area. Last week, commissioners also authorized a 250-megawatt energy project northwest of the town of Barstow.

These initiatives are among 9 major solar energy applicants, totaling more than 4,000 megawatts, requesting state approval. Officials need to take action by Dec. 31 in order for the work to be eligible for federal stimulus grants. Federal stimulus loan guarantees remain available through the end of September 2011.

Federal funding will pay for 30 % of the Blythe project’s price tag, according to Rachel McMahon, Director of Government Affairs for Solar Millennium.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lauded the vote, labelling renewable energy “the future for California’s economy.”