Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility Licensing Case

Docket Number:

11-AFC-04 (Application For Certification)

Project Status: Project Terminated July 9, 2013.

Committee Overseeing This Case:

Carla Peterman, Commissioner, Presiding Member

Karen Douglas, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Ken Celli

Key Dates

  • 10/14/2011 - Application for Certification (AFC) filed
  • 12/14/2011 - Commission accepts AFC as "data adequate."
  • 09/28/2012 - Commission staff releases Preliminary Staff Analysis - Part A.
  • 10/15/2012 - Commission staff releases Preliminary Staff Analysis - Part B.
  • 01/17/2013 - Proceeding Suspended.
  • 07/09/2013 - Committee Order Terminating Proceedings.


The Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility (Rio Mesa SEGF) is being proposed for development by Rio Mesa Solar I, LLC and Rio Mesa Solar II, LLC, subsidiaries of BrightSource Energy, Inc., a Delaware corporation.

The proposed project site consist of two 250-megawatt (MW) (nominal) solar concentration thermal power plants situated on the Palo Verde Mesa in Riverside County, California, 13 miles southwest of Blythe.. Both plants would be situated solely on private land leased from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Only the project gen-tie line, emergency and construction electrical power supply line, and access road would be located on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Each plant will utilize a solar power boiler, located on top of a concrete tower (approximately 750-feet tall), surrounded by heliostat (mirror) fields (approximately 85,000 per plant) which focus solar energy on the boiler. Auxiliary boilers will be used to operate in parallel with the solar field during partial load conditions and when additional power is needed.

Each 250 MW plant requires about 1,850 acres (or 2.9 square miles) of land to operate. A common facilities area will include a combined administration, control, and maintenance facilities, a water treatment facility, as well as a switchyard. The total area required for both plants, including the shared facilities and gen-tie line, is approximately 3,960 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.

overview map of project location
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artists rendering of aerial view of Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility after construction
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