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NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada Transmission Project Approved by PUCN

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Industry News

California Energy Commission Approves Amendment for 485-MW Blythe Solar Power Project

LCG, January 16, 2014--The California Energy Commission yesterday approved an amendment to convert the 485-MW Blythe Solar Power Project from a solar thermal design using parabolic-troughs to a solar-photovoltaic (PV) facility. By a 5-0 vote, the Energy Commission adopted the proposed decision by a 5-0 vote to change technologies for the project, now owned by NextEra Blythe Solar Energy Center, LLC.

In September 2010, the Energy Commission approved the 1,000-MW Blythe Solar Power Project for a site located roughly eight miles west of Blythe on 7,043 acres of federal public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Approximately 4,100 acres of BLM land will be disturbed by project construction and operation. The original project owner, Palo Verde Solar I, LLC, a subsidiary of Solar Millennium, filed an amendment with the Commission in June 2012 to change technologies from solar thermal to solar PV. Solar Millennium went bankrupt at the end of 2011.

In April 2013, a revised amendment was filed to reduce the project's physical size to 4,070 acres and the generation capacity to a total of 485 MW that would be developed in four phases. The first three phases install 125 MW apiece, and the fourth phase adds 110 MW.

One Commissioner stated, "The project will spur California's transition to renewable energy and help advance its aggressive climate change goals." In the presiding member's proposed decision released December 13, 2013, the Blythe Solar Power Project Amendment Committee concluded that the project, as mitigated, may have environmental impacts that are cumulatively significant when considered along with the impacts of other projects in the region. The cumulative impacts that cannot be mitigated to less than significant levels are impacts to biological resources, cultural resources, land use, and visual resources.

The Committee found that the project benefits-including its contribution to meeting California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating nearly 500 peak construction jobs, and boosting the economy-justify an override of those impacts.Construction on the project is expected to last 48 months, and the estimated capital construction cost is $1.13 billion.
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