BrightSource, NextEra buy California solar projects

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:58pm EDT

* Insolvent Solar Millennium developed projects

* Plants can generate 1,000 MW and 500 MW of power

* Other development projects still to be sold

June 29 (Reuters) - BrightSource Energy and NextEra Energy Inc have bought two large solar power projects in California from insolvent German renewable power company Solar Millennium AG.

Solar Millennium said in a statement that the projects were sold in an auction concluded at the end of June as part of U.S. Chapter 11 insolvency proceedings.

Florida power company NextEra bought the planned 1,000-megawatt (MW) Blythe project and BrightSource bought the planned 500-MKW Palen project. Both said they wanted to continue with the projects in the near future, Solar Millennium said.

Officials at BrightSource and NextEra were not immediately available for comment.

The auction generated $80 million dollars and the sales will not be implemented until certain closing conditions have been fulfilled, which is expected to be in July or August, Solar Millennium said.

An initial sale of the projects failed when the buyer, Solarhybrid AG, another German solar power company, became insolvent.

Solar Millennium said it was still looking for buyers for its proposed 500-MW Amargosa solar power project in Nevada and 250-MW Ridgecrest solar power project in California.

PROJECT DETAILS

In 2009, units of Solar Millennium and California oil company Chevron Corp proposed the Blythe project in Riverside County about 225 miles (362 km) east-southeast of Los Angeles, according to the project filing on the California Energy Commission website.

Blythe will have four 250-MW concentrated solar thermal plants with a total capacity of 1,000 MW and will occupy about 5,950 acres.

Also in 2009, Solar Millennium and Chevron proposed the Palen project in Riverside County about 175 miles east-southeast of Los Angeles.

Palen will have two 250-MW concentrated solar thermal plants with a total capacity of 500 MW. The developers sought a right of way grant from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management of about 5,200 acres.

Solar Millennium also proposed the Ridgecrest project in 2009. The project is in the northern Mojave Desert in Kern County, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, according to the filing.

Ridgecrest will consist of a single 250-MW solar thermal plant. The project will occupy about 1,440 acres.

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