Solar Millennium AG: Blythe Solar Power Plant Recommended For Approval

published: 2010-08-16 15:16 | editor: | category: News

Solar Millennium AG has hit another milestone in the permitting process for realizing its first parabolic trough power plants in the American southwest. Solar Millennium, LLC, the U.S. project development subsidiary of Solar Trust of America, announced that its proposed Blythe Solar Power Project was recommended for final approval for licensing by the California Energy Commission (CEC). This is an important milestone in the company's efforts to obtain final approval to build four 242-megawatt plants in Riverside County. The CEC has determined that the planned facility capable of producing a combined 968 megawatts of generating capacity would have no significant environmental impact and complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

The CEC committee recommended the CEC to grant Solar Millennium a license to construct and operate the Blythe plant. The recommendation may be considered for vote by the CEC Commissioners in September following a public comment period. The committee's recommendation also includes conditions that will ensure that construction and operation of the power plants will comply with all laws and regulations.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved a power purchase agreement (PPA) between Solar Millennium, LLC, and Southern California Edison (SCE) for two 242-megawatt (MW) solar power plants planned in Blythe, California. The agreement regulates SCE's purchase of electricity produced by the facilities for 20 years from the start of operations. A total of up to four 242-megawatt power plants can be realized there, which together would supply electricity of ca. 2,200 gigawatt hours annually and would save roughly 900,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year. Solar Millennium LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Solar Trust of America LLC, a US-American joint venture of Solar Millennium AG and Ferrostaal AG.

Josef Eichhammer, President of Solar Trust of America and CEO of Solar Millennium LLC, said, "The recent approval of our power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison by the CPUC and this licensing recommendation by the CEC for our Blythe plants are crucial step towards completing the permitting process. We believe that we will obtain the record of decision for the construction permit by the Bureau of Land Management for Blythe in October. We plan to receive all construction permits this fall and to finalize the financing for our first project such that we can start construction by the end of this year."

Uwe T. Schmidt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Solar Trust of America adds: "We are extremely pleased with the CEC's recommendation and efforts to accelerate the approval process for our Blythe project. Our nation's clean energy development initiatives are at a critical crossroads, and we expect to be a leading force in helping California meet its renewable energy goals and provide a significant boost to the state's economy."

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