Abengoa Mojave Solar Project cleared for construction


State regulators on Wednesday unanimously cleared the Abengoa Mojave Solar Project for construction, pushing California closer to approving 4,300 megawatts of solar power by the end of the year.

The 250-megawatt Abengoa project is one of nine solar proposals angling for the go-ahead from the California Energy Commission by the end of 2010, when federal stimulus funds expire.

The commission unanimously approved the 250-megawatt Beacon Solar Energy Project at the end of August and is likely to consider the 1,000-megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project next week.

The Abengoa project will be set up in San Bernardino County, on more than 1,700 acres of private land about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Construction, set to start in the fourth quarter of this year, will be managed by a subsidiary of Abengoa Solar Inc., itself a subsidiary of Spanish giant Abengoa. In early July, President Obama announced a $1.45-billion federal loan guarantee for Abengoa to construct its 250-megawatt Solana project southwest of Phoenix.

The Mojave plant is scheduled to start producing energy commercially by early 2013. The installation will use technology in which the sun hits parabolic mirrors that heat fluid. The fluid then generates steam that produces electricity as it expands through steam turbine generators.

The state is pushing investor-owned utilities to glean 33% of their power from renewable sources by 2020.