* Firm says 500 MW project suspended
* Regulators have said facility would impact environment
LOS ANGELES, April 3 U.S. BrightSource Energy
Inc has shelved a major solar power project in California, its
second such move this year.
The solar plant developer said in a document filed with the
California Energy Commission on Wednesday that it was suspending
its application for permission to build the 500 megawatt Hidden
Hills solar thermal power project until further notice.
It added in an emailed statement that it had agreed with
Pacific Gas and Electric to terminate the utility's plan to
purchase power from the plant due to "challenges associated with
the project schedule and uncertainty around the timing of
Late last year, CEC staff said the Hidden Hills facility
would have "significant" impact on the environment, adding that
the use of photovoltaic solar panels "would be environmentally
superior" to BrightSource's solar thermal technology.
BrightSource disputed those claims at recent hearings, and
the CEC was expected to issue a final decision on the
development later this year.
BrightSource, based in Oakland, California, said it would
continue to evaluate the project, which was to be located in
Inyo County near the Nevada border.
In January, BrightSource suspended its 500 MW Rio Mesa
project in Riverside County, California, after multiple delays
in the permitting process.
The company, which canceled a planned initial public
offering last year, said Hidden Hills remains "a valuable site"
but that it would focus on its 500 MW Palen project in the
In March, BrightSource said Spain's Abengoa would
become a partner in that project, expected to begin construction
at the end of 2013 and to come online in 2016. It is still
waiting for regulatory approval.
BrightSource is more than 20 percent owned by French power
equipment maker Alstom SA. Other investors include
VantagePoint Capital Partners, DBL Investors, Goldman Sachs Inc
, Chevron Technology Ventures and BP Ventures