UPDATE 1-Calif. should approve NextEra Genesis solar plant

* Calif. likely to approve several solar power plants

* Genesis could enter service in second quarter 2013
(Updates with company comment and new industry cost estimates
in the second part of the story)

NEW YORK, Aug 20 (BestGrowthStock) – The California Energy
Commission siting committee on Thursday recommended approval
for NextEra Energy Inc’s (NEE.N: ) planned 250-megawatt Genesis
solar thermal power project in Riverside County.

Even though the committee found Genesis will “have
significant impacts on the environment,” it still recommended
the project because, “The benefits override those impacts.”

Over the past month, the Energy Commission said it has
issued proposed decisions recommending approval for more than
2,100 megawatts of solar power, including Genesis.

The other projects include the 250-MW Abengoa Mojave, the
250-MW Beacon, the 1,000-MW Blythe and the 370-MW Ivanpah.
(Factbox: [ID:nN20180180] )

The committee recommendation is not a final decision on the
project. The committee said it released the recommendation for
30 days of public comment and will consider input before
bringing the proposed decision to the Commission.

If approved, the Commission said NextEra could start
construction in the fourth quarter of 2010 with commercial
service by the second quarter of 2013.

Genesis will have two 125-MW solar units that produce
electricity using steam turbine generators fed from solar steam
generators. The solar steam generators would receive heated
transfer fluid from solar thermal equipment from arrays of
parabolic mirrors that collect energy from the sun.

NextEra would build Genesis on about 1,800 acres of land
managed by the federal U.S. Bureau of Land Management in the
Sonoran Desert west of Blythe about 200 miles (321 km) east of
Los Angeles, the Commission said.

SOLAR DOES NOT COME CHEAP

NextEra, which hopes to receive some federal funding and
tax incentives to help cover the cost of Genesis, has not
disclosed the estimated cost of the project.

Other solar thermal projects in California however would
cost about $4,000 per kilowatt or $1 billion for a facility the
size of Genesis.

That compares with about $125 million to build a similar
sized simple cycle, natural gas fired power plant.

But Genesis, which will power more than 80,000 homes, will
reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 330,000 tons per year
when compared to a natural gas plant.

Once Genesis is fully operational, PG&E Corp’s (PCG.N: )
Pacific Gas and Electric will buy the power from the plant
under a long-term contract.

The Commission said its support for renewable energy
projects is part of federal and state efforts to “enhance the
nation’s energy independence, meet environmental goals, and
create new economic growth opportunities.”

The construction of Genesis will employ more than 1,000
workers and infuse $165 million into the local economy, NextEra
said in a release in July.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy and
Lisa Shumaker)

UPDATE 1-Calif. should approve NextEra Genesis solar plant