Newsbrief Archive

Electric Currents News - December 2016

California Solar Development to Power 180,000 Homes

Four million solar panels now stand on 4,000 acres of the desert of Riverside County, California, promising to produce 485 megawatts at peak capacity. The Blythe and McCoy Solar Energy Centers are expected to supply over 181,000 homes with power. These two vast solar energy plants are the product of NextEra Energy Resources and its partners.

Armando Pimentel, NextEra Energy president, said: “These projects represent a more than $1.2bn investment in California and a tremendous step forward to help the state meet its renewable energy goals.” The Blythe and McCoy Centers are expected to reduce 774,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Most of the land the two centers stand on is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). BLM Director Neil Kornze said: “The completion of these projects is further proof that America’s shift toward clean, renewable energy is underway.”

Blythe and McCoy is currently the largest solar development on federal land in the country and later phases of the project will cover more than 12 square miles. When completed, later phases of panel installment will double the MW production. Four million of the panels have been built with trackers to follow the sun and maximize energy production.

Power from Blythe and McCoy is under contract with both Southern California Edison and Kaiser Permanente. The 20 year-power purchase agreement for 110 MW Kaiser Permanente holds with NextEra Energy Resources is a step in towards Kaiser Permanente’s goal of becoming carbon net positive by 2025.

The Energy Commission Solar exercises jurisdiction over thermal projects of 50 MW or larger and has approved five such plants since 2009. All are operational and the Blythe Solar Energy Center will be the most productive at its peak 485 MW capacity. This project is another step towards California’s goal of producing 33 percent of their power through renewable means by 2020.

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