By Published On: February 12, 2010

Mountain View-based Ausra concentrated solar developer was bought by the French nuclear business AREVA. In 2008, Ausra launched a 5 MW plant near Barkersfield, called Kimberlina, with kudos from Governor Schwarzenegger and Pacific Gas & Electric chief executive officer Peter Darbee. Ausra has a manufacturing plant for its concentrated mirrors in Las Vegas, NV. Kettleman City, recently in the news for its health clusters, has been associated with PG&E. Hitting newspapers, including the Sunday New York Times, the health plight of the Central Valley town is apparently leading to new water infrastructure using federal funds. In 2006, after more than a decade of litigation, PG&E tentatively settled with most, but not all, of the 1,200 plaintiffs who alleged they were exposed to cancer-causing chromium 6 released from utility facilities. PG&E agreed to pay $295 million to 1,100 plaintiffs who entered the settlement. Up to 40,000 new solar energy jobs could materialize this year, many of them in California with its growth in utility-scale and distributed energy projects, according to a national trade group. Half of those jobs are expected to come from 14 major utility-scale solar projects, which are being given an accelerated permit review by the Interior Department--nine of which are in California--said Rhone Resch, Solar Energy Industries Association president, Feb. 9. Friends of the River dropped out of the Klamath River agreement to restore the river and decommission PacifiCorp’s hydroelectric facilities. “The agreement is predicated on the State of California providing $250 million from the water bond that will likely be on the November 2010 ballot,” noted Friends conservation director Steve Evans. “And since we will oppose that bond (because it provides billions of dollars to build new dams and will further bankrupt the state), we cannot support an agreement that relies on bond funding.” A 200 MW Canyon Power Plant project in Orange County was tentatively approved Feb. 10 by the California Energy Commission. Proposed by Anaheim and the Southern California Public Power Authority, the simple-cycle gas-fired plant is designed to serve both intermediate and peak loads. It is expected to operate five days a week for up to 16 hours a day. It would be built in an industrial zone in Anaheim. The full commission must approve the license after public comment on the committee’s recommendation. Solar Reserve filed an application to license a 150 MW solar thermal plant in eastern Riverside County with the California Energy Commission Feb. 4. Known as the Rice Solar Energy Project, the company would build the plant on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The plant would use concentrating solar power technology, with a central receiver tower filled with liquefied salt.

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