The California Energy Commission has approved has approved Tessera Solar’s 663.5-megawatt (MW) solar thermal plant to be built in southern California’s San Bernardino County.
Like many other plants being built on California desert land,the Calico Plant has raised questions its potential impact on wildlifein the area. This time, environmentalists are worried about the bighornsheep that live in the mountains just above the 4,600 acres on which the plant will be built.
But in the end, the powers that be decided the benefits of the plantoutweigh the negatives. According to the U.S. Department of Interior,the Calico Plant will cost over $2 billion to build and will be able topower anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 homes every year when it’s fullyfunctional in the late 2011 calendar year. Calico is one of four plantsthat the CEC and Department of Interior have recently approved. Theothers are being developed by Abengoa, NextEra Energy and SolarMillennium.
The Calico plant will use the SunCatcher — a type of solar thermaltechnology that uses mirrored dishes to turn sunlight into electricity.Since the plant will rest on public land, Tessera also needed to gainapproval from federal officials. That approval came on October 20th.Including this latest plant, exactly 3,492.5 MW of solar capacity havebeen approved for construction in the California desert.