World’s Biggest Solar Thermal Plant Licensed By California

California regulators have approved what is for the moment the world’s largest solar thermal power plant, a 1,000-megawatt complex called the Blythe Solar Power Project to be built in the Mojave Desert.

By contrast, a total of 481 megawatts of new solar capacity was installed in the United States last year, mostly from thousands of rooftop solar arrays, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group.

After years of environmental reviews, the California Energy Commission has in the past three weeks licensed solar thermal farms that would produce 1,500 megawatts of electricity when completed.

Solar Millennium, whose U.S. operations are based in Oakland, Calif., at present has two other solar power plants that would generate a total of 734 megawatts undergoing licensing in California, as well as projects in Nevada.

“The Blythe Solar Power Project will help build the bridge for renewable energy here in California,” Alice Herron, a senior director at Solar Millennium, said at Wednesday’s meeting. “It will take renewable energy from a small portion of our energy base to flattering the backbone of the state’s power base.” Bookmark and Share