Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger applauded the California Energy Commission (CEC) for approving the 500 MW Palen concentrated solar energy project and the 150-MW Rice Concentrating Solar Power Project.
With the approval of these two projects, the CEC has licensed nine large-scale solar thermal power plants over the last four months, totaling nearly 4,200 MW of renewable concentrating solar power in the California desert. If all nine concentrating solar power projects break ground, they would provide more than 8,000 construction jobs and more than 1,000 operational jobs in California.
“Today’s announcement is great news for California because these projects will help power our homes and businesses with clean electricity while creating thousands of jobs,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I applaud the California Energy Commission for their hard work and dedication to advancing renewable energy in our state and continuing California’s leadership in clean energy. The construction of these large-scale solar projects will help us meet our long-term energy and environmental goals, while creating jobs and moving us toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.”
Both the Palen Solar Power Project and Rice Solar Thermal Energy Project will be located in Riverside County. The Palen concentrating solar power project will require a peak workforce of 1,145 during construction and another 134 jobs when in operation.
The Rice concentrated solar energy project will require a peak workforce of 438 during construction and another 47 jobs when in operation. Both projects still require decisions from the Bureau of Land Management, which approves the use of federal public lands, before they can proceed. The Rice project also requires approval from the Western Area Power Administration. Those approvals are scheduled to be made in 2011. For more information on the projects, visit www.energy.ca.gov.
California has consistently led the nation in renewable energy development. The state currently has over 270 renewable energy projects, totaling approximately 70,000 MW, interested in building and running facilities in the Golden State. The CEC has now approved nine large-scale that will likely start construction in California by the end of this year in order to qualify for federal stimulus dollars.
This includes the 370-MW BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Concentrating Solar Power which broke ground earlier this year. The approximately $2 billion project is the first-of-its-kind to be built on federal land and will create more than 1,000 jobs.
Earlier this month, the Governor also celebrated the groundbreaking of the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink transmission line in the Imperial Valley, which will have the capacity to deliver enough clean energy to power 650,000 homes and is expected to create approximately 2,000 direct jobs.
Additionally, there are 12 large wind power and photovoltaic projects working to break ground in California. On top of being home to the world’s largest solar energy project, California is also home to the world’s largest wind energy project, the Alta Wind Energy Center.
According to Terra-Gen Power, the Alta Wind Energy Center will increase wind power industry jobs in California by 20 percent, creating more than 1,500 domestic manufacturing, construction and operation and maintenance jobs and contributing more than $600 million to the local economy in Kern County.
The Center will also increase the installed wind power capacity in California by 30 percent. Generating 1,550 MW of clean, renewable energy, it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 52 million metric tons, the equivalent to taking 446,000 cars off the road, and result in $1.2 billion in direct local economic benefits over the life of the project.