Interior Department OKs Seventh Large Solar Project on U.S. Public Lands
November 10, 2010
The Genesis Solar Energy Project, a 250-megawatt facility in California, will use parabolic solar troughs like these to generate power.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on November 4 approved the Genesis Solar Energy Project, a 250-megawatt facility in California that will use parabolic trough solar thermal technology to produce clean energy. The project, the seventh on U.S. public lands, is expected to power 75,000–187,500 homes and generate 1,085 jobs at peak construction, along with 50 permanent positions. Proposed by Genesis Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, the facility will be located on nearly 1,950 acres of public land near Riverside County, California. The project's parabolic trough technology uses rows of parabolic mirrors that focus solar energy on collector tubes. The tubes carry heated oil to a boiler, which sends live steam to a traditional steam turbine generator, which produces electricity. DOI's decision authorized the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to offer Genesis Solar a right-of-way grant to use the public lands for 30 years if all rents and other conditions are met. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's payments in lieu of tax credits for specified energy program, Genesis Solar can apply for payments of up to 30% of the eligible costs of the project, about $300 million. See the DOI press release and the Genesis fact sheet.
In October, DOI approved six other large-scale solar energy projects that combined would produce 2,837 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 851,000 to 2.1 million homes, and would create 3,700 new construction jobs and more than 600 permanent plant operations jobs. On October 10, DOI Secretary Ken Salazar celebrated the groundbreaking of one of those projects, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, an innovative "power tower" project in San Bernardino County, California. The thermal solar technology project is expected to generate 1,000 construction jobs and provide 370 megawatts of renewable energy for up to 277,500 homes. See the DOI press release.