Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. joined local officials and representatives from Solar Trust America at a ceremony launching the start of construction of the Blythe concentrating solar power project.
According to the Department of the Interior, the 1,000 MW plant will be the world's largest solar power facility. Located on public lands in eastern Riverside County, Calif., the project will be built in two phases of 500 MW each.
As part of its Record of Decision issued in October, the Bureau of Land Management is requiring that Solar Millennium provide funding for more than 8,000 acres of desert tortoise, western burrowing owl, bighorn sheep and Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat to mitigate the project's impacts.
The project received a $2.1 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy in April.