Builders Seek New Delay for Giant Solar Project

By Chris Clarke, Rewire

The owner of a proposed solar power plant in the California desert has asked state regulators for another year to redesign the project.

Spanish energy firm Abengoa, which took full ownership of the proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System after its partner BrightSource Energy withdrew from the project in late 2014, told the California Energy Commission August 4 that it needed the extra time to redesign the proposed concentrating solar power plant. Abengoa says it plans to add an energy storage component to the plant so that it can continue generating electricity after the sun sets.

The Palen project has attracted significant opposition from environmentalists concerned about the project’s effects on wildlife, cultural resources, and views across the expansive Chuckwalla Valley area adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park. That controversy, especially over the issue of concentrated solar energy injuring birds flying above the plant, culminated in the California Energy Commission closing the books on a previous redesign of the plant in late 2014, leading former owner BrightSource Energy to pull out, leaving Abengoa with sole control of the plant. Abengoa has said it will be redesigning the plant yet again, but has not yet released specifics on the redesign or confirmed how much power the new configuration would produce.

Read full article from Rewire

Related article: Solar Towers—Palen developers seek another year for 9-square-mile plan (The Press-Enterprise)

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