World’s Largest Solar Installation Coming to Blythe, CA
Department of the Interior has Approved Construction on Blythe CSP Plant-
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced last Tuesday that construction will begin on the world’s largest solar power plant, which is to be built in Blythe, California. The facility will use Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology to deliver 1,000 megawatts of generating capacity — enough renewable energy to power 300,000 homes annually — and will span 7,025 acres of federal property in the Mojave Desert. Since the plant will be “dry-cooled”, it will use 90 percent less water than a standard “wet-cooled” solar thermal system of this kind. Solar Trust, the project’s developer, plans to use water from the Palo Verde Mesa Groundwater Basin which is replenished via the Colorado River. Communications Manager for Solar Trust, Andrea Elliot, says that the project is not likely to affect the river, as the Palo Verde Mesa Basin is “very remotely connected” to it. “After construction, there will be a review,” Elliott said. “If withdrawals affect surface flows, then we will take steps to mitigate, though it is uncertain what those will be at this point.” The Colorado River is shared between several states, so any exorbitant use by the plant would need to be offset. Five other solar power projects also received federal authorization last month and, with the new Blythe approval, will have combined 2,800 megawatts in generating capacity — enough to power close to 2 million homes. The project will offer roughly 2,500 jobs during the construction period and create more than 200 permanent jobs once the facility is fully operational.