U.S. OKs World’s Largest Solar Plant
Solar Millenium LLC of Oakland, California, agreed to fund conservation measures protecting the desert tortoise and Mojave fringe-toed lizard in return for permission to build the Blythe Solar Power Project on public land, the Interior Department said today. Blythe will use mirrors to concentrate the sunâ€™s energy rather than solar panels that convert light directly into electricity.
Blythe Solar will cover 7,025 acres on a site 216 miles east of Los Angeles, producing as many as 1,000 megawatts, the Interior Department said. The facility will use rows of parabolic mirrors to focus the sunâ€™s energy onto tubes that carry heated oil to a boiler, which sends steam to a turbine.
â€śThe Blythe project and others approved by Interior demonstrate the need for the agency to improve the permitting process,â€ť Johanna Wald, NRDCâ€™s senior attorney, said in a statement. â€śBy making future renewable-energy projects smart from the start, we can better ensure their biggest impact is on our energy supply, not other natural resources.â€ť
On Oct. 5, Salazar approved on Oct. 5 projects in California proposed by Chevron and Tessera Solar. Before todayâ€™s announcement, four solar facilities on public lands in California and a project in Nevada with capacity to generate a total of 1,800 megawatts of electricity won approval this month. A megawatt is enough to power about 800 average U.S. homes, according to the Energy Department.