The Energy Commission of California has approved the project to construct and operate the Solar Millennium, a subsidiary of Solar Trust of America, the mega power project of 968 MW Solar Thermal, Riverside County, California.

The Ivanpah project, the forerunner of its kind in the United States, and which must be completed in 2013 will therefore find a competitor.

The new solar project that must take root in the city of Blythe will be supervised both by Solar Millennium and Chevron Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Chevron Oil Corporation.

The facility will consist of four independent solar power plants, each capable of generating 242 MW of energy, an annual total of 2,200 GWh.

The concentrating solar power plant in Blythe consists of a field of solar collectors – heliostats – that concentrate sunlight onto tubes of liquid coolant which is raised to high temperature (420°C). This coolant is then passed into a boiler which turns water into steam. Finally, the steam turns the turbines that drive generators to produce electricity.

“We expect to receive any building permits this fall to finalize the financing of our first project, about 484 megawatts of generating capacity, so we can start construction before the end of this year,” said Josef Eichhammer , President of Solar Trust of America and CEO of Solar Millennium.

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