Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Controversial BrightSource Solar Thermal Project Looks Dead

News that a power purchase agreement has been terminated on another solar thermal project in California

BrightSource and SoCal Edison terminate solar power deal| Renewablesbiz
Jan 22 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - George Avalos Contra Costa TimesBrightSource Energy and Southern California Edison have terminated a power purchase agreement for a solar thermal power plant near the Mojave Desert city of Blythe, according to a state regulatory filing.
"All proceedings are suspended," the state Energy Commission said in a regulatory filing, adding that this was "pursuant to the applicant's request."
The solar energy company and the utility, based in the Southern California city of Rosemead, said they mutually terminated their contract. The termination involves the Rio Mesa 2 project in the desert.
Oakland-based BrightSource also asked the state agency to suspect permitting activities for its adjacent Rio Mesa 1 solar complex.
The major current project for BrightSource is a large solar plant in the Mojave Desert near the Ivanpah settlement. That solar complex is under construction.
The entire article may be read at Renewablesbiz

Brightsource may sound familiar, as it has a high profile supporter in Robert F Kennedy Junior.  Over 3 years ago the New York Times noted environmentalists challenging Brightsource's Mojave Solar Proposal.  In that interview characterized opponents as "...putting the democratic process and sound scientific judgement on hold to jeopardize the energy future of our country."

Brightsource reportedly received a $1.4 billion Department of Energy loan (3 times the amount of bankrupt's Solyndra's) - The loan guarantee was signed off on by a former employee of the company venture capital company behind Brightsource, who had recently moved to the Department of Energy.

Nuclear advocate Rod Adams noted Kennedy's pitch included assuring the natural gas industry that:
"For all of these big utility scale power plants, whether it’s wind or solar, everybody is looking at gas as the supplementary fuel. The plants that we’re building, the wind plants and the solar plants are gas plants."

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