Desertec had just been a dream and a brilliant example of innovative thinking when the global climate change was about to struck the community. Then Spanish giant Abengoa Solar won the bid to build a humungous 6,500 square mile concentrated solar power (CSP) hub in the Sahara and send the massive amounts of power generated to Europe. To cut long distance transmission losses to well under 15% across the incredible distances involved, Desertec proposed to use existing technology to build a supergid of High-Voltage Direct Current transmission lines.
Recently Mojave Solar, the US subsidiary of Abengoa Solar, is taking local residents on a bus tour Wednesday to see the site of the proposed 250 MW solar thermal plant to be built near Barstow in the California Mojave desert.
After the tour, the California Energy Commission will lead a public hearing at Barstow City Hall to seek the public’s questions, concerns and comments as part of the approval process.
The $1.25 billion, 250 MW project with its estimated 1,260 construction jobs; is about halfway through very extensive environmental review. I have to wonder if the companies churning out the 25 GW worth of natural gas plants that have been approved since 2000 have had to ponder questions quite like this one posed by the California Energy Commission.
If the company can navigate the maze of this complex approval process in time, then Mojave Solar will be able to start building by next October, the deadline for receiving any Federal green stimulus dollars, and start making some good clean sunshine power and jobs out of the finest solar radiation in the USA, in the California desert.