U.S. officials are expected to approve by this fall what would be the world’s biggest solar power plant, a 1,000-megawatt project in the California desert that developers say could power 800,000 homes. The Blythe Solar Power Project, which would use concentrated solar thermal technology, is to be built on 7,025 acres of public land in Riverside County, about 10 miles west of the city of Blythe.
Solar Millenium LLC, the Oakland-based developer of the project, said it will take about six years to complete the four phases of the $6 billion solar installation. Once completed, it would nearly the double the total installed commercial-scale power capacity nationwide. Uwe T. Schmidt, executive chairman of Solar Millennium, said the Blythe facility will replace fossil fuel-powered generating plants that would have pumped two million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. The California Energy Commission recommended approval of the project earlier this month.