This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 20, 2011

California CSP Plant Gets $2.1 Billion DOE Loan Guarantee

DOE announced on April 18 its offer of a conditional commitment for a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to support Units 1 and 2 of the Blythe Solar Power Project, sponsored by Solar Trust of America, LLC. The concentrating solar thermal power plant includes two units with 484 megawatt (MW) of generating capacity. The project will be built adjacent to the City of Blythe in Riverside County, California and is expected to create more than 1,000 construction jobs and approximately 80 operations jobs. The plant is estimated to avoid more than 710,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, an amount equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 123,000 vehicles.

Units 1 and 2 of the Blythe project represent the first phase of a larger project that, when completed, will generate 1,000 MW of solar power using parabolic trough technology. Units 1 and 2 will include HelioTrough collectors, which feature a larger, yet simplified design, making them less expensive to build and install, and more efficient than earlier trough technology. The project will be the first concentrating solar power (CSP) parabolic trough plant to use an air-cooled condenser unit, which will decrease water use by nearly 90% compared with a water-cooled CSP facility. The project will sell all its electricity output to Southern California Edison. DOE's Loan Programs Office has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling more than $21 billion to support 22 clean energy projects across 14 states. See the DOE press release and Loan Programs Office website.