California Regulators Approve NextEra and Tessera Solar Projects

Parabolic through solar thermal technology

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved two major, utility-scale solar power projects: Tessera Solar’s 709 megawatts Imperial Valley solar facility, in Imperial County and NextEra Energy’s 250 megawatts Genesis project in Riverside County.

Tessera’s Imperial Valley project is backed by a long-term power purchase agreement with Sempra Energy. San Francisco’s PG&E? signed a long-term contract to purchase the output of NextEra’s Genesis facility.

The Genesis project will generate electricity using parabolic trough technology. One advantage CSP systems offer, over photovoltaic systems, is that they can store energy in the form of heat, which is much easier and cheaper to do than storing electricity. That heat is then used to heat a transfer fluid, which? generates steam. Electricity is then generated from that steam.

Tessera’s Imperial solar project will use solar dish Stirling systems, or “SunCatchers” that capture solar heat, which then power high-efficiency engines that convert solar power to rotary power to drive an electrical generator.

Over the past five weeks the following projects were approved by the California Energy Commission:

The 250-MW Beacon Solar Energy Project (Aug. 25)

The 250-MW Abengoa Mojave Solar Project (Sept. 8)

The 1,000-MW Blythe Solar Power Project (Sept. 15)

The 370-MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project (Sept. 22)

Photo: California Energy Commission

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