Palen Solar Power Project

Docket Number:

09-AFC-07 (Application For Certification)
09-AFC-7C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Certification Expired - December 15, 2015

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on December 15, 2010. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee Overseeing Compliance Proceeding:

Karen Douglas, Commissioner, Presiding Member

David Hochschild, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Kenneth Celli

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

Robert B. Weisenmiller, Commissioner, Presiding Member

Karen Douglas, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Raoul Renaud

WebEx Recordings

Key Dates


On July 11, 2012, the California Energy Commission approved a petition from Palen Solar I, LLC to transfer the ownership of the Palen Solar Project, from Palen Solar I, LLC to Nalep Solar Project I, LLC, a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of BrightSource Energy, Inc.

The developer of this project, propose to construct, own, and operate the Palen Solar Power Project. The Project is a concentrated solar thermal electric generating facility with two adjacent, independent, and identical solar plants of 250 megawatt (MW) nominal capacity each for a total capacity of 500 MW nominal.

The Project will utilize solar parabolic trough technology to generate electricity. With this technology, arrays of parabolic mirrors collect heat energy from the sun and refocus the radiation on a receiver tube located at the focal point of the parabola. A heat transfer fluid (HTF) is heated to high temperature (750 degrees Fahrenheit) as it circulates through the receiver tubes. The heated HTF is then piped through a series of heat exchangers where it releases its stored heat to generate high-pressure steam. The steam is then fed to a traditional steam turbine generator where electricity is produced.

The project site would be located approximately 10 miles east of Desert Center, along Interstate 10 approximately halfway between the cities of Indio and Blythe, in Riverside County, California. An application has been filed with BLM for a right-of-way (ROW) grant of approximately 5,200 acres.

Energy Commission Facility Certification Process

The California Energy Commission is the lead agency (for licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and has a certified regulatory program under CEQA. Under its certified program, the Energy Commission is exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report. Its certified program, however, does require environmental analysis of the project, including an analysis of alternatives and mitigation measures to minimize any significant adverse effect the project may have on the environment.

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