The U.S. approved a massive, gigawatt-scale solar-thermal power generation project on federal land in southern California, the largest solar project ever planned on U.S. public lands. The $6 billion Blythe Solar Power Project, to be built in the Mojave Desert near Blythe, Calif., by Solar Millennium of Germany, will cover more than 7,000 acres of public land in the desert near the Arizona-California border and generate 1,000 MW of power once online.
The project is the sixth solar power development approved by the Interior Department this month -- all in California and Nevada. Approval of a seventh project -- also in California -- is expected in the next few weeks. All could start transmitting electricity by the end of 2011 or early 2012. At full capacity, the seven projects would generate about 3,000 megawatts (3 gW) of power and provide electricity for up to 2 million homes. The projects are expected to create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and several hundred permanent jobs.
A new 230 kV transmission line will be constructed to connect the Blythe Solar Project to the Devers-Palo Verde #2 500 kV line at the Colorado River substation.