The U.S. Department of the Interior Monday approved plans for the world's largest solar power plant.
The 1,000 megawatts (MW) Blythe Solar Power Project will be built on public land in Riverside County, California by Solar Millennium, LLC.
When completed it will cover roughly 7,025 acres. It is expected to create 1,066 jobs at the peak of construction and 295 permanent solar jobs.
The DOI decision is the latest of six approvals announced in recent weeks for so-called "fast-tracked" renewable energy projects proposed for public lands. Developers must break ground by the end of the year in order to receive Recovery Act funding.
“With the approval of the Blythe project, the solar projects approved on BLM public lands in the last few weeks have the potential to generate up to 2800 megawatts of renewable energy. That’s enough to power up to 2 million homes,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey.
Earlier this month, the Secretary approved the first five renewable energy projects ever on public lands – Imperial Valley Solar Project, Chevron Lucerne Valley Solar Project, Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System and the Calico Solar Project, all in California; and the Silver State North Solar Project in Nevada.
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Solar Millennium is eligible to secure $1.9 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy for this project.
BLM is requiring that Solar Millennium provide funding for more than 8,000 acres of desert tortoise, western burrowing owl, bighorn sheep and Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat to mitigate the project’s impacts.
The Blythe Solar Power Project uses parabolic trough technology where rows of parabolic mirrors focus solar energy on collector tubes. The tubes carry heated oil to a boiler, which sends live steam to a turbine to produce electricity. A new 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line will be constructed to connect the Blythe Solar Project to the Devers-Palo Verde #2 500 kV line at the Colorado River substation.