California to hold workshop on giant solar power plant

Reuters News
Posted: May 04, 2012 9:43 AM
California to hold workshop on giant solar power plant

(Reuters) - California energy regulators will hold a workshop on May 9 for private solar power company BrightSource Energy's proposed 500-megawatt Hidden Hills solar power plant in California estimated to cost more than $2.7 billion.

According to releases late Thursday by the California Energy Commission and BrightSource, the project, if approved, will provide power to PG&E Corp under two purchase agreements already approved by state's utility regulators in 2010.

Construction of the Hidden Hills project was expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015 with commercial operation in the first half of 2015.

The project is expected to create 1,087 jobs at the peak of the 29-month-long construction, with another 120 full-time jobs when the plant becomes operational.

Hidden Hills consists of two 250-MW solar thermal power plants located on 3,277 acres of private land leased in Inyo County, next to the Nevada border about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The power transmission line and natural gas pipeline would be located in Nevada on public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Each plant would use about 85,000 heliostats, elevated mirrors guided by a tracking system mounted on a pylon, to focus the sun's rays on a receiver located atop of a 750-foot tall solar power tower near the center of the each solar field.

Separately, BrightSource is building the 392-MW Ivanpah solar power plant in California's Mojave Desert for PG&E and Southern California Edison, a unit Edison International. The company expects Ivanpah to enter service in 2013.

(Reporting By Scott DiSavino; Editing by John Picinich)