From Our Blogosphering Buddies...
California: The "Solar Saudi Arabia"
September 23, 2010
By Craig Miller
Prepare for a solar building boom in the deserts of Southern California. …
State regulators have now given the green light to four major solar power projects in as many weeks. The most recent was on Wednesday, when the California Energy Commission gave the nod to a 370-megawatt solar-thermal array known as the Ivanpah project … Developed by Oakland-based BrightSource Energy and built by Bechtel Corp., it will consume more than 3,500 acres near the California-Nevada border, in the northern Mojave Desert.
In recent weeks the CEC has also approved applications for three other projects in Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The four projects combined will be rated to deliver almost 1,900 megawatts of power, or the equivalent of two typical commercial nuclear reactors … Projects representing about 1,000 more MW of solar-thermal energy come up for final decision before the end of the month.
BrightSource CEO John Woolard told me that after more than three years in the review process, the wait was worth it.
"Ultimately I think the process works," Woolard told me in a brief interview after the CEC's approval of Ivanpah. "Hopefully it'll work faster or more expeditiously for people behind us. But I can tell you that it's the most through and complete process I've ever gone through."
"Southern California--the desert, the Mojave, represents the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy," said Byron [Energy Commissioner, Jeff]. "There's geothermal, wind and solar there, so--this is a start. It's a substantial start."