World's Biggest Solar Power Plant? US & South Africa Race For First 1 GW Project


photo: Naimi Grondin/Creative Commons

No matter who wins the bragging rights, it's all pretty great news: In the United States, the Department of the Interior just gave approval to a 1 GW solar power on public lands in southern California; and, in South Africa plans for 5 GW solar power plant, large enough to supply 10% of the nation's current electricity demand, was announced. South Africa Hopes to Get 1 GW Online by 2012
As The Guardian reports, the $29 billion project is planned to reach that 5 GW in ten years' time, with the first 1 GW phase being completed and sending power to the grid in 2012. Nearly 35 square miles of state-owned land in the Northern Cape has been set aside for the project.

Blythe Solar Power Plant Aims for Completion by 2013
In the Mojave Desert, the $6 billion Blythe Solar Power Project, developed by Solar Millennium, is expected to begin construction by the end of the year and be completed by 2013. As previously reported, this project will more than double current US solar power capacity, and is expected to produce enough electricity for at least 300,000 homes.

The Blythe Solar Power Project had been delayed in permitting over concerns about wildlife conservation.

Alice Bond, a public lands policy advocate with the Wilderness Society commented, "Each time we evaluate on of the permit applications we are reminded that there is a great need for national guidance and siting standards. This is like a team hitting the playing field without having a solid game plan or game regulations in place...Each development has upsides and downsides and the way to ensure we see stronger projects is better planning from the start."

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More on Solar Power:
1.25 Gigawatts of Solar Thermal Power Approved in California in Past Two Days Will Double US Capacity
US Army Goes Solar: 500 MW Solar Thermal Power Plant to be Built at Fort Irwin
5000 MW of Solar Power in India Touted Under Clinton Climate Initiative Plans

Tags: Renewable Energy | Solar Power | South Africa | United States

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