For Immediate Release: January 24, 2012
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Site visit and informational hearing to be held February 1 for Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission committee reviewing the proposed Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility will hold a site visit and informational hearing.

When: Wednesday, February 1, 2012, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Where: Blythe City Hall Council Chambers, 235 North Broadway, Blythe, California.

Before the hearing, the public is invited to join the committee on a tour of the proposed site. Transportation to the site departs from City Hall at 12:30 p.m. The informational hearing and environmental scoping meeting begins at 3 p.m.

Reservations for the site visit should be made before January 26 by contacting the Commission's Public Adviser's Office at (916) 654-4489 or 1-800-822-6228 or email Please provide the name, telephone number, and the number of reservations requested.

Arrangements have been made for people unable to attend the hearing to participate by telephone and/or by computer. For details, click the link and scroll to page 6:

Why: The hearing will provide an opportunity for the public to obtain information, offer comments and concerns, and to view the project site. The applicant will explain the plans for the project. The Commission staff will explain the licensing process and the staff's role in reviewing the project.

What: The developers for the 750-megawatt (MW) project are Rio Mesa Solar I, LLC, Rio Mesa Solar II, LLC, and Rio Mesa Solar III, LLC, which are subsidiaries of BrightSource Energy, Inc.

The proposed project site consists of three 250-MW solar thermal power plants located on the Palo Verde Mesa in Riverside County, about 13 miles southwest of Blythe. The site is partially on private land and partially on public land administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Commission and BLM plan to conduct a joint state and federal environmental review of the project.

The total area required for the three plants and a common area with shared facilities is about 5,750 acres. Each plant will use heliostats - elevated mirrors guided by a tracking system mounted on a pylon - to focus the sun's rays on a receiver located on top of a 750-foot-tall solar power tower near the center of each solar field. Each plant would use about 85,000 heliostats. Construction of the project, from site preparation and grading to commercial operation, is expected to take place from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2016.

The capital construction cost for the project will be about $3 billion. The project will average 1,040 workers per month during the 36-month construction period, with a maximum of 2,493 at the peak. There will be 150 full-time employees when the project is operating.

More information on the Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility can be found at:

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