California Energy Commission Approves Beacon Solar Energy Project

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved the construction of the proposed Beacon Solar Energy Project, the first solar thermal power project permitted by the commission in 20 years.

In a unanimous vote, the CEC adopted the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) that recommended licensing the 250 MW facility in eastern Kern County. The last solar thermal power plants that the CEC approved were Luz Solar Electric Generating Systems IX and Luz SEGS X in February 1990.

The PMPD for the Beacon Solar Energy Project said the facility, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards. The PMPD was based solely on the record of facts that were established during the facility's certification proceeding, the CEC notes.

Beacon Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, would construct, own, and operate the proposed plant. The project is a concentrated solar electric generating facility on approximately 2,012 acres in eastern Kern County on the western edge of the Mojave Desert, four miles from California City and 15 miles north of the town of Mojave.

The project will use parabolic-trough solar thermal technology to produce electrical power using a steam turbine generator fed from a solar steam generator. The solar steam generators receive heated heat-transfer fluid from arrays of parabolic mirrors that collect energy from the sun.

SOURCE: California Energy Commission

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