From: Sarah McBride, Reuters
Published September 17, 2010 06:40 AM

World's largest solar plant advances

The world's largest solar power plant cleared an important hurdle on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for a dramatic expansion in solar energy generation in the United States and around the world.

The proposed $6 billion-plus Blythe, California plant, originally proposed by Chevron Corp. and Solar Millennium AG, won clearance to build from the California Energy Commission.

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The plant has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. By comparison, for all of last year, the U.S. installed about 481 megawatts of solar energy, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association. The largest solar plants to date are in the 200-350 megawatt range.

The Blythe plant essentially groups four 250-MW plants, with the first slated to start generating electricity in 2013. The total pricetag is estimated at north of $6 billion.

On Wednesday, Solar Millennium said it and Ferrostaal AG were the sole two co-developers, working through a U.S. joint venture, Solar Trust of America LLC. Chevron Corp. maintained it was still a co-developer through Chevron Energy Solutions.

The commission said it had received no word that Chevron had dropped out. Although Chevron is still listed as a developer on the commission's website, it didn't mention Chevron in its press release about the approval.

The developers have already struck an agreement with Southern California Edison, which has said it will purchase the full capacity of the first two plants.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68E5GV20100916

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