U.S. Approves World's Biggest Solar Energy Project

Oct. 26, 2010
The Blythe solar power plant will generate up to 1,000 Megawatts of energy.

On Oct. 25 a permit was issued for the largest solar energy project in the world -- four massive plants at the cost of $1 billion each in southern California.

"The Blythe solar power plant will consist of four, 250-Megawatt plants, built on public lands in the sun-drenched Mojave desert," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

"When completed the project is expected to generate up to 1,000 Megawatts of energy... That's enough electricity to power up to 750,000 average American homes and to make Blythe the largest solar power plant facility in the world."

The total capacity will be roughly equal to the turbine output of a nuclear power plant or a large modern coal-fired power plant, according to Solar Millennium, the company developing the facility.

Solar Millennium plans to begin construction on Blythe this year, the company says. At the height of construction, the project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs.

The Blythe facility is one of a raft of renewable energy projects that have been approved in recent weeks by the Interior Department.

Earlier this month, Salazar approved the first five renewable energy projects on public lands, four in California and one in Nevada, both states that have been hard hit by the economic downturn.

Two weeks ago, Salazar inaugurated the world's largest wind tower manufacturing plant in the working class town of Pueblo, Colorado, which will be run by Danish company Vestas Wind Systems.

One week earlier he signed a lease for the first major offshore wind farm, off the coast of New Jersey.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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