US: CEC approves 250 MW Abengoa Mojave solar thermal project

The proposed facility will be constructed on 1,765 acres of private land that had been developed for agricultural purposes. The site is located in San Bernardino County halfway between Barstow and Kramer Junction and 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Construction is expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year, with commercial service by the first quarter of 2013.

Proposed by Mojave Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Abengoa Solar Inc., the project will reportedly use parabolic trough technology where parabolic mirrors are used to heat a transfer fluid, which is then used to generate steam. Electricity is produced from the steam expanding through steam turbine generators.

"The Energy Commission, working in collaboration with other state and federal partners, scored another big win for the economy, the environment, and for California’s clean energy future with today’s approval of the Abengoa solar project," said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert, who served as the presiding member of the committee that reviewed the plant’s application for certification. "The facility’s 250 MW of clean, renewable energy brings us closer to meeting California’s renewable energy and climate goals while providing hundreds of green jobs."

The Abengoa Mojave Solar Project is among nine large solar thermal projects scheduled to go before the Energy Commission for a decision before the end of the year in order to qualify for federal stimulus dollars. More than 4,300 MW of solar power will be added, if all nine projects are approved.

The eight other high priority projects are: the 250 MW Beacon solar energy project; the 1,000 MW Blythe solar power project; the 850 MW Calico solar project; the 250 MW Genesis solar energy project; the 709 MW Imperial Valley solar project; the 370 MW Ivanpah solar electric generating system project; the 500 MW Palen solar power project; and the 150 MW Rice solar energy project.

On August 25, the full five-member Commission unanimously approved the Beacon Solar Energy Project, the first solar thermal power plant permitted in 20 years. The PMPD for the Abengoa Mojave Solar Project said the facility, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards.