Oakland, Calif., October 17, 2011 — BrightSource Energy, Inc., a solar thermal technology company, has filed an application for certification with the California Energy Commission to develop three 250 MW solar power plants (750 MW combined) in California's Riverside County.
The plants, which will be located primarily on land owned by the Metropolitan Water District, will collectively generate enough electricity to power more than 300,000 homes.
BrightSource will develop three separate 250 MW solar thermal power plants, each with its own solar field and solar power tower. When complete, the three plants will produce enough clean electricity to avoid more than 750,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The proposed Rio Mesa site is located in unincorporated Riverside County about 13 miles southwest of Blythe, Calif., on 5,750 acres, most of which is owned by the Metropolitan Water District and previously disturbed.
The remainder of the land is public and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The project will require the approval of the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The Rio Mesa site is an outstanding location for a solar thermal power plant with excellent solar resources and access to existing, nearby high-voltage transmission lines.
The area is sparsely populated and surrounded by desert and agricultural parcels. The Metropolitan Water District had specifically designated the land for renewable energy development. During WWII, the Rio Mesa site was used as military training grounds and in the 1970's, the site was slated for what was to be the SunDesert Nuclear Power Plant.
The Rio Mesa project will create about 2,500 construction jobs at the peak of construction and about 150 operations and maintenance jobs. Construction wages are expected to reach $660 million, and operation and maintenance employee wages are estimated at an additional $410 million over the plant's first 25 years.
The project is expected to contribute about $120 million in sales and use tax during the three year construction period and generate about $7 million per year in property taxes for a combined total of about $300 million in local and state taxes over the plant's 25 year life.