California to hold meeting on NextEra Blythe solar power plant

Reuters

Nov 11 (Reuters) - California regulators will hold a publicmeeting on Nov. 12 with a unit of NextEra Energy Inc onenvironmental and other issues related to its proposed485-megawatt Blythe solar photovoltaic power plant.

The California Energy Commission said in a press release onFriday its staff will discuss air quality, biological resources,paleontological resources, and soil and water resources it hasfound with the $1.13 billion project.

In September and October, the Commission staff issued anassessment that will serve as its testimony at an evidentiaryhearing held by a committee of two Commissioners who arereviewing the project.

The committee will issue a proposal that will be presentedto the full commission for a final decision on the project, theCommission said.

In September 2010, the Commission approved German renewablecompany Solar Millennium's proposal to build a 1,000-MW solarthermal power project using mirrors and sunlight to heat a fluidand generate power.

Solar Millennium wanted to build the plant on 7,043 acres offederal land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management nearthe town of Blythe in Riverside County about 225 miles (362 km)east of Los Angeles.

Solar Millennium went bankrupt at the end of 2011 and inJune 2012 filed an amendment with the Commission to change thetechnology to solar photovoltaic.

In April 2013, the new project owner, a unit of NextEra,filed a revised amendment to reduce the project's physical sizeand generation capacity. It is the revised amendment theCommission is considering.

NextEra wants to build the 485-MW project on 4,070 acres ofBureau of Land Management land in four phases, with the firstthree each 125 MW and the fourth generating 110 MW.

NextEra has said construction is expected to last 48 monthsand employ an average of 341 workers. Once operational, NextErait will take about 15 workers to run the plant.

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