DoE Offers $2.1 Billion Loan for 484MW Blythe Solar Thermal Power Project in California

concentrating solar parabolic through photo

A parabolic trough concentrator in Israel. Photo: Wikipedia, CC
Blythe Will Nearly Double Large-Scale Solar in U.S.
Looks like its the season for clean energy news (for both solar and wind). The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that it will offer loans guarantees for $2.1 billion to fund the construction of the Blythe Solar Power project in Southern California (loan guarantees are a relatively cost-efficient way to support clean power). The concentrating solar thermal power plant includes two units comprising a combined 484 megawatt (MW) generating capacity, an eight-mile transmission line and associated infrastructure. Read on for more details.
concentrating solar parabolic through photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC
Units 1 & 2 Are Just The Beginning of a Larger Project
"Units 1 and 2 of the Blythe project represent the first phase of a larger project that, when completed, will generate 1,000 MW of solar power using parabolic trough technology. Units 1 and 2 will include HelioTroughTM collectors, which feature a larger yet simplified design, making them less expensive to build and install, and more efficient than earlier trough technology. The project will be the first concentrating solar power (CSP) parabolic trough plant to use an air-cooled condenser unit, which will decrease water use by nearly 90% compared with a water-cooled CSP facility."

This project is expected to create over 1,000 construction jobs and approximately 80 operations jobs. The plant is estimated to avoid over 710,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over 123,000 vehicles. Not bad.

The first phase of the project should start generating electricity in 2013.

See also: Google Invests $168 Million in 392MW Mojave Desert Solar Thermal Plant
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