California to hold workshop on giant solar power plant

Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:38am EDT

* Solar plant to serve PG&E's customers in 2015

* 500-MW project to cost more than $2.7 billion

* Project to create over 1,000 construction jobs

April 20 (Reuters) - California energy regulators will hold a workshop on April 26 for private solar power company BrightSource Energy's proposed 500-megawatt Hidden Hills solar power plant estimated to cost more than $2.7 billion.

If approved, the project will provide power to California power company PG&E Corp under two power purchase agreements already approved by the state's utility regulators in 2010, according to releases by the California Energy Commission and BrightSource which is headquartered in California.

Construction of the Hidden Hills project was expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015 with commercial operation in the first half of 2015.

The project is expected to create 1,087 jobs at the peak of the 29-month-long construction, with another 120 full-time jobs when the plant becomes operational.

Hidden Hills consists of two 250-MW solar thermal power plants located on 3,277 acres of private land leased in Inyo County, next to the Nevada border about 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Las Vegas.

The power transmission line and natural gas pipeline would be located in Nevada on public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Each plant would use about 85,000 heliostats, elevated mirrors guided by a tracking system mounted on a pylon, to focus the sun's rays on a receiver located atop of a 750-foot tall solar power tower near the center of the each solar field.

About 85,000 heliostats would be used for each plant.

Separately, BrightSource is building the 392-MW Ivanpah solar power plant in California's Mojave Desert for PG&E and Southern California Edison, a unit of California power company Edison International. The expects Ivanpah to enter service in 2013.

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