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PG&E cancels 250 MW BrightSource solar thermal plant contract

Concentrating solar power firm BrightSource Energy has suspended the permit application for the Hidden Hills Solar project with the California Energy Commission (CEC).

The cancellation comes as California utility PG&E terminated an agreement to purchase power from the Hidden Hills project due to what BrightSource describes as “challenges associated with the project schedule and uncertainty around the timing of transmission upgrades.”

The contract for Hidden Hills was secured with PG&E in 2009, and the $2.7 billion project was planned to include two 250 MW solar thermal power plants located in California’s Inyo County.

According to BrightSource, the project would need storage to meet California’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires that utilities like PG&E get 33 percent of energy from renewable sources.

However, the original contract with PG&E did not include such storage, and that incorporating storage will require changes to the permit application and a long process of recalculating the project “footprint.”

According to a company statement, Hidden Hills “remains a valuable site within BrightSource’s portfolio,” and the permit application with the CEC avoids “unnecessary time and expense” considering the permit application did not take storage into account.


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