Planet Gore

Going Solar on Public Lands in California

The Epoch Times:

Construction for what has been dubbed the largest solar power station in the world was approved by the U.S. government last week.

The U.S. Department of the Interior gave final clearance for the project on Oct. 26 to be built in California.

Solar Trust of America, the project’s developer, got a 30-year grant to use public land for the plant’s installation and power transmission lines from the Department of the Interior. Palo Verde Solar I, a subsidiary of Solar Millennium, LLC, and Chevron Energy Solutions will construct, own, and operate the facility.

The project will cover 7,025 acres of the Mojave Desert on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) near the California-Arizona border, about two miles north of Interstate 10 and eight miles west of the city of Blythe in Riverside County, Calif. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar authorized the BLM to offer the land in a right-of-way grant for the 30-year period if all proper legal and financial conditions were met.

In September, the project was licensed by the California Energy Commission, which oversees solar thermal projects. Currently, these projects generate close to 50 Megawatts (MW) of electricity.

The rest here. The piece doesn’t discuss how much taxpayer money is being used to actually build it, but if this similar project, as reported in the Los Angeles Times is any indication, we’re talking over a billion dollars. An excerpt:

The Ivanpah project will be able to take advantage of government incentives including a $1.37-billion federal loan guarantee. Analysts said that without the government support, the solar thermal industry might struggle against cheaper technologies such as photovoltaics.

Seems like another example of the government playing venture capitalist with taxpayer money, while receiving no upside with all the risk.

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