NextEra Energy subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) are celebrating the culmination of a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project seven years in the making.

NextEra Energy subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) are celebrating the culmination of a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project seven years in the making.

Development of the Genesis Solar Energy Center began in 2007. In 2010, Genesis received its license from the California Energy Commission and its right-of-way grant from the Bureau of Land Management. The project actually broke ground in January 2011. Located on approximately 1,950 acres in Riverside County, California, the solar facility, comprised of two identical 125 MW generating units, entered service in November 2013 and March 2014, respectively.

The facility features more than 600,000 mirrors that capture and concentrate sunlight to heat synthetic oil, which then heats water to create steam. The steam is piped to an onsite turbine-generator to produce electricity, which is then transmitted over power lines. This solar thermal technology will provide 100 percent of the power generated by the plant without the need for supplemental fuel. The project is helping to avoid approximately 330,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year or the equivalent of removing more than 68,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

The Genesis solar facility is capable of generating 250 MW of solar power, which is being provided to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) under long-term contract. With the help of the Genesis solar facility, PG&E remains on track to meet California’s clean energy goals by 2020, according to PG&E Chairman, President and CEO Tony Earley. Earley was part of the recent facility dedication, which celebrated the plant and its role in California’s clean energy transformation.

"California is light years ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to pursuing clean energy," Earley said at the dedication, "and Genesis is part of a continuing government and industry partnership that is providing tangible benefits to the environment and the air we breathe."

The plant comprises two 125 MW units and utilizes parabolic trough CSP technology. NextEra commissioned the first unit in November 2013 and the second in March 2014, seven years after development of the project began in 2007.

“We are proud to be a part of an initiative that contributes to California’s renewable energy supply and helps to power Riverside County’s local economy,” said NextEra Energy Resources President and CEO Armando Pimentel. “Reaching this important project milestone would not have been possible without the cooperation and hard work of all our project partners.”

The Genesis CSP project is located on 790 hectares of public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County. Development of the project began in 2007, and construction began in January 2011.

The CSP plant comprises Senertrough parabolic trough collectors by Sener, with Flabeg RP3 mirrors. These heat Therminol VP-1 heat transfer fluid by Solutia to 390 degrees Celsius, which is then used to create steam to drive turbines. The plant is cooled with an air-cooled condenser, in a “dry-cooling” design which uses far less water than wet-cooled CSP plants.

All of the electricity generated by the plant is being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E, San Francisco, California, U.S.) under a long-term contract.

Genesis is part of over 1 GW of CSP plants which have come online in the U.S. states of Arizona, California and Nevada over the last six months. These include Abengoa’s 280 MW Solana CSP plant in Arizona, which came online in October 2013, and the 377 MW Ivanpah CSP plant which owner NRG says achieved commercial operation in February 2014.

Finally, SolarReserve began commissioning its 110 MW Crescent Dunes CSP plant in the U.S. state of Nevada in February 2014.