Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley) — More new business and many new jobs are headed to the residents of the Victor Valley.
On Thursday the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve the Mojave Solar Project’s power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric. NowAbengoa Solar’s 250-megawatt (MW) Mojave Solar project can finalize the project financing of its Federal Loan Guarantee and move forward on construction of a new solar power plant.
“This is good news because it represents one of the success stories coming out of the Federal Loan Guarantee Program,” Scott Frier, Chief Operating Officer forAbengoa Solar in Victorville, explained. “With the creation of about 830 jobs on average for the next few years we’ll be creating a lot of economic benefits to the outlying communities through the employment of lot of people and the purchasing of goods and services as we construct this very large solar power plant.”
Once the plant is completed in 2014 it will continue on with a staff of approx 60-70 people that will be there for the next 30-40 years, according to Frier.
The power plant is being built on Harper Dry Lake near Hinkley, on a site that is just under 3 square miles of land that was once an alfalfa field, Frier said. “Our development strategy was to buy private property, and in particular degraded private property so that we didn’t have any habitat disruption.”
Frier stated that the High Desert was chosen as the site for Abengoa’s solar power plant because it has the best solar resource on the planet. There is also a large population with an advanced network of utilities, and a population that needs the energy. “Particularly in the Inland Empire you’ve got a voracious appetite with your air conditioning load. So the sunshine is exactly where this large population needs the energy.”
The concentrating solar power plant is expected to increase the amount of installed concentrating solar power capacity in the U.S. by 50 percent. The plant should supply enough electricity to power more than 54,000 homes. It will supply Pacific Gas & Electric.
“It is a project that’s got wide support by both business and the community and the environmental advocacies. Because we were very responsible in how we developed it in order to avoid disruption of habitat or endangered species,” said Frier. “We also have predominance of goods and materials made in the United States. 80-90% of the materials that go into this project are going to be from the US because it’s concrete, steel, aluminum, glass, pipes and wire. So it’s good for everyone.”