Thursday, November 4, 2010

Solar Plant on Public Land to Get Stimulus $$$$

Yes, another solar plant approved: Genesis project clears federal regulators

November 4, 2010 | 12:54 pm

Feels like this fall has been all about desert solar, all the time.

Federal regulators on Thursday pushed through yet another large proposal, approving the 250-megawatt Genesis Solar Energy Project for construction.

With the go-ahead from the Bureau of Land Management, plus the California Energy Commission permit awarded in September, Genesis can now take advantage of federal stimulus funds to cover up to 30% of the project costs, which comes out to roughly $300 million.

The Riverside County installation, backed by a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, will use parabolic-trough solar thermal technology to make enough energy to power up to 188,000 homes. The company estimates the project will create nearly 1,100 jobs at the height of construction and 50 permanent operating positions once construction wraps up, likely in late 2012 or early 2013.

In an oft-repeated story this season, Genesis will also sit on a large patch of public land -- and will pay for the privilege.

In addition to leasing the nearly 1,950 acres that make up the site 25 miles west of Blythe, developers must fund more than 2,000 acres of land -- habitat for the local desert tortoise and the Mojave fringe-toed lizard -- to mitigate potential environmental damage from construction. They will also use a dry-cooling plan for the mirrors instead of the water-intensive wet-cooling technique.

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