California is certainly positioning itself as a major player in solar power generation. The latest move in this arena comes via regulatory approval today of the Abengoa Mojave Solar Project, the second solar thermal project to be licensed in that state in as many weeks.
The California Energy Commission approved the Abengoa Solar owned 250 MW facility, planned for San Bernardino County, by unanimous vote. It is believed this project will have “no significant impacts on the environment and complies with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards.” It will make use of “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 solar project, once fully developed, will occupy 1,765 acres of land used for agricultural needs. Construction is planned to kick off in the fourth quarter of this year, with a targeted completion date by the first quarter of 2013. It is also said this plant will provide “hundreds of green jobs,” most likely temporary at first during the construction phase but later permanent in the form of those who will keep the facility up and running.
In terms of California’s growing obsession with solar energy, this project is among nine large solar thermal projects, generating a potential total of over 4,300 MW of clean energy, scheduled to go before the Energy Commission for a decision before the end of the year. On Aug. 25 the the Beacon Solar Energy Project, the first solar thermal power plant permitted in 20 years, was approved the the commission. It is believed that these various solar projects will help the state meet its Renewables Portfolio Standard, which requires its electricity utility companies to use renewable energy to produce 20 percent of their power by 2010 and 33 percent by 2020.