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Published on June 1st, 2011 | by GreenMarketingTV


GE & Others Secure Largest US Thermal Power Project Financing in 2011 for Goliath of Thermal Power Plants

June 1st, 2011 by  

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The financing announcement of the largest thermal power plant of 2011 was just announced: the massive 800-MW, $900-million CPV Sentinel Facility in Riverside County, California.

And the co-owners are just as mighty. Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), GE Energy Financial Services, and Diamond Generating Corporation generated almost $2 billion in commitment for the project, with backing from 23 banks across the globe.

With financing in place, construction near the Desert Hot Springs is set to begin immediately. Energy from the plant will be used to power thousands of homes in Coachella Valley and the Los Angeles basin.

In addition, the project will pump at least $55 million into the local economy via 300 direct construction jobs and 400 indirect employment opportunities. Sales tax will bring another $30 million, plus annual property taxes of $6.4 million thereafter.

The plant will also complement California’s goal of 33% renewably-sourced electricity by 2020 and help us to cut back on our greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts are being made across the state to implement home solar, wind power, geothermal, hydroelectric, and other relatively clean sources of electricity as well.

If you’re not sure just how big 800 megawatts is, it’s about enough power for 239,000 homes. Or in other words, big.

Incidentally, a U.S. solar power plant (which is actually a little larger than this thermal power project), the Blythe Solar Project, is also coming up in Riverside County soon. That power plant will ring in at an incredible 968 MW.

These clean energy power projects are right on par with an average nuclear plant, and the faster they’re built, the sooner we can displace potentially catastrophic reactors like the one responsible for Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

How do you feel about big clean energy power plants like this (compared to the fan-favorite, home solar)? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Let us know in the comments!

Brittany Mauriss is an editor and solar expert at GreenMarketing.TV, the green entrepreneur’s source for start-up ideas and insightful interviews with the industry’s top thinkers. She also blogs over at

Related Stories:

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  4. Why Big Solar is a Colossally Bad Idea (10 Reasons Decentralized Solar is Much Better)

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About the Author

Green Marketing TV covers the art of green and social entrepreneurship, through insightful articles on successful businesses, interviews with visionary entrepreneurs, down-to-earth marketing tips, hands on tutorials, and more.

  • Grumpy in Canada

    This article unfortunately appears to refer to thermal solar. At quick glance at it and that’s what came to my mind. Only by reading comments at bottom did I learn that it was about a gas-fired plant.

    Gas-fired plants are not ‘clean’, just cleaner than coal or oil; thus they are not green, only greenish.

    At the very least, the article’s title should be changed to read “…Largest US GAS Thermal Power Project….”.

  • Nospam

    After searching on the net I discovered this is a GAS-FIRED power plant. “Thermal” does not mean “Geothermal” or “Solar Thermal” – technically, even COAL is a “thermal” power plant.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, i think we made that clear above, no?

  • Anonymous

    lol 😀 hilarious. a great comment to wake up and see again 😀

    i am very sorry about your severe case of lazy-ass syndrome and your need
    for so much medicine — it is wrong to pick on such people & i think i
    should be ashamed of myself.

    maybe i should spend more time over on icanhascheesburger, so that i better
    learn how to be sensitive to the style of diverse peoples… & can start my
    day with such humor every day 😀

  • Anonymous

    yeah, i tried to clear that up. thanks for the comment, though

  • Kathy

    This is a natural gas peaker plant…not a solar plant…the article implies that this is solar and even asks the question, “how do you feel about big solar?”  Not even the same discussion.  The ONLY renewable energy benefit of this plant is that it will pick up when the local wind turbines can’t supply true renewable energy.  The truth about this plant is that it is gas and it is big and it will be ugly.  All the jobs quoted are also sketchy.  This is more propaganda…

    • Anonymous

      hello Kathy, i tried to make it more clear that this is not a solar project, again. hope it is 100% clear now

  • The carbon equation has two for Green House Gases, prevention or sequestration.  Not much has been performed in sequestration because the profits are not there.  Has anyone quantified the carbon footprint of a fighter jet or an airline?  If there isn’t comprehensive plan to deal with GHG, the effort will fail and that includes addressing all sources

    • Anonymous

      Put another way, carbon sequestering is not being done because no one has figured out how to do it for any sort of reasonable price.

      What makes most sense is to not de-sequester that carbon in the first place. 

      Wind produced electricity is cheaper than using coal.  Driving an EV cost per mile roughly what it costs to drive a 50MPG Prius on $2/gallon gas.

      Yes, many people have calculated the carbon footprint of air travel.  The US military is experimenting with biofuels in order to cut its use of petroleum for jet fuel as are US airline companies.  The country of New Zealand has a program to move 100% of its jets to biofuel.

      • Bob you forgot the Plan.  Mitigation of Climate Change requires a Global effort and a Plan and is also more than building a few RE plants and driving a hybrid.

        • Anonymous

          Was there a “Plan” to move from prop to jet planes? 

          Would we get where we need to be quicker were all countries to sign on to a unified plan to get us there?  Quite possibly.

          Is a “Plan” likely to be agreed on by all the world’s countries?  Not all that likely.

          If you’ll look around there is a global effort to get us off fossil fuels.  It’s just not organized. 

          Go over on the right hand side of the page and click on “World Wind Power”, that will give you some idea about how worldwide wind installation is.  Do some googling on geothermal and you’ll see Indonesia, Australia, and Africa links popping up.   Japan is cranking up their solar and starting to take offshore wind seriously.  China is doing some of each and starting to do it big scale.

        • Anonymous

          Robert E: as Bob hints, many HUGE technological and societal transformations have come about without a global or national plan, or even a coherent plan at all. the fact that states, countries, companies, and more are trying to change course on this topic and switch to cleaner energy sources is far more important than a signed and stamped plan (that could still sit on a shelf somewhere & not be used).

          the plan is in action, even if it isn’t written out.

          Now, do I think we should make more plans and broader plans? Yes! (I was actually a “planner” at one point in time.) but if there’s no plan, that doesn’t mean there’s not change! (or no need for it, of course..)

  • By the way, I am a former Luz Project Manager with engineering and construction of the world’s first utility scale solar power stations, development of solar in third world countries and have a pending Patent on a solar direct steam generation process (PowerSmith Group) that will be used in Germany.  
    A nationwide newspaper yesterday published an editorial that referring to solar posed the question what will happen when the public learns the Truth?

    • Anonymous

      That “former” thing – care to expand on it?

      In my experience “formers” sometimes have axes to grind.  And sometimes “formers” become “formers” because they just weren’t “keepers”.

      T Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
       Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica ( produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica ( produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
       Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica ( produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (

      • If I disagree I have an ax to grind.  Every time I disagree with someone of another race, I am racist.  My web site has a copy of the Luz Letter of Reference.

        • Anonymous

          No, Robert.

          If people are suggesting that you have an ax to grind or that you are a racist is likely because you have done something than simply state a disagreement.

          As for me, I’m not suggesting, just wondering out loud….

  • What’s the purpose?  CA has 26,264 megawatts of Renewable Energy under development and under good economic conditions adds only 800 megawatts/year.  Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  The US Energy Information Agency the cost in dollars per megawatt/hour of Natural gas at $83.10; Thermal solar power at $256.60, and Photo-voltaic solar power at $396.10.  It hasn’t had any visible effect on Climate Change and there isn’t a Global Agreement or Plan to mitigate Climate Change.  Green House Gases in the atmosphere have actually increased more than predicted last year and a little research reveals the real target to stop Climate Change should be industrialization at 1950s levels and that isn’t going to happen.

    • Anonymous

      “Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

      EV run on electricity.  A mile driven with an EV is a mile not driven using oil.

      And the rest of your post seems poorly thought out as well.  Yes, there is no signed world-wide plan to stop climate change, but that does not mean that efforts made to date are worthless.  Consider them the baby steps we need to make before we break into a full run.

      Returning to 1950s levels of industrialization makes no sense.  Industry in the 1950s was incredibly dirty for the small number of people it served.  We now have billions more for whom we need to provide.  What we need is 21st Century industry built on renewable, clean energy and sustainable inputs.
      ” Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
       Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica ( produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica ( produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
       Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (
      Solar produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica ( produces electricity and doesn’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.Source: Clean Technica (

      • There isn’t enough EV to make a difference and there isn’t enough money to provide EV to everyone at once.  The manufacturing of the EVs creates Green House Gases

        • Anonymous

          Robert, I’m going to suggest you step back from the crack pipe.

          Of course there aren’t enough EVs to make a difference.  Yet.  The year the Model T rolled off the assembly line there weren’t enough horseless carriages to significantly reduce the amount of horse poop on our roads.

          Of course there isn’t enough money to provide EVs to everyone at once.  That will take more than 15 years unless we decide to artificially speed up the exchange.

          Of couse the manufacturing of EVs create green house gasses.  The manufacturing of ICEVs and rapid rail cars create green house gasses.  We need to minimize the amount of carbon we release during manufacturing.  Green energy solves a lot of this problem.

          And, of course, once we build an EV rather than an ICEV we can run that EV on non-greenhouse gas producing energy. 

  • Chris G

    Take a good idea in geothermal get funding.

    Add fear mongering about nuclear power.

    Think you wrote a good article.

    Sorry Brittany.  You failed. 

    If you want to replace nuclear power plants because of one disaster where the real harm to the environment from it will be due to knee jerk reactions like yours and Germany’s and China’s to stop nuclear that leads to more coal and oil being used in the mean time you have really missed the point of clean energy and nuclear power in general.

    • Anonymous

      And, Chris, you seem to have missed the salient points about nuclear.

      1) It’s not “one disaster” it’s also Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.  It’s the near misses like Davis-Besse (I won’t bother listing the many others unless you request).  It’s a realization that nuclear really is dangerous and that we can’t trust humans to not make a mistake.

      2) It’s the problem of nuclear waste.  Not only the fuel which could be partially recycled but the immense amounts of non-fuel waste including all those reactors which we will be watching rot in place.

      3)  It’s the cost of building new nuclear.  Nuclear is just too damn expensive to be considered.  Wind and storage are cheaper to build.  And can be built quickly, unlike nuclear.  Same goes for all the other renewables in the mix.

      Will Germany’s decision to close nuclear plants mean a short term increase in coal burning?  It probably will.

      Will Germany keep burning coal long term or double down on their renewable programs?  Also certainly Germany will put the pedal to the metal on the renewable route.

      • Brittany Mauriss

        Agree with Bob 100%. The important thing to remember about Germany’s
        shutting down of nuclear plants by 2022 is that they are simultaneously
        implementing more solar, wind & other renewables (going from 17% to
        50% total national supply over the next few decades). So yes, increased
        coal use temporarily, but it is that–temporary.

        • Anonymous

          As a 3rd, Bob already succinctly summarized key reasons cutting nuclear is important, but i’ll also drop this link to an article i wrote on the matter as well ( we can get off coal without getting on nuclear, no matter what the nuclear industry or nuclear enthusiasts try to convince you of.

          in fact, considering how much faster it is to build solar and wind projects, we would be wise to PUT OUR MONEY INTO THEM now and as much as possible rather than wasting billions on nuclear plants that will take forever to get built (if they ever actually do).

  • Anonymous

    “The financing announcement of the largest solar thermal plant of 2011
    was just announced: the massive 800-MW, $900 million CPV Sentinel
    Facility in Riverside County, California.”

    Uh, I don’t see anything about a “solar” plant in the press release.

    “GE Energy signed an agreement to supply eight gas-fired LMS100 turbine-generators … At the CPV Sentinel plant, the turbines are designed to operate at 43 percent simple-cycle efficiency, …”

    I think someone was misled by the ‘CPV’, which in this case does *not* stand for Concentrated PhotoVoltaic.

    • Anonymous

      Bill, thank you much for the quick catch & comment! Corrections have been made!…

  • DJO

    Why do you link to SunRun twice in this story? Is this some weird SEO scheme.

  • Pete

    800 megawatts is not ANY kilowatt hours. The first is the RATE energy is used/produced. The second is the AMOUNT of energy. 800 MW for two hours is 1.6 GWH. I dunno what the 1.65GW figure represents. I do know it is enough to send Michael J. Fox back to  the future. I am not just qubbling here. These are fundimental units of power.

    It irks me when tech sites give out complete drivel as fact. Unless yer solar plant only produces power for only a hair over two hours a day, yer figures make no sense even if someone made a typo. Crap like this is why Asian people laugh at us. WHY DID NOBODY ELSE CATCH THIS?.

    Reminds me of how mad I get when Dr. House’s staff manages to get pure oxygen to burn by itself or when the C.S.I. people look at a ghunk of CLEAR glass and identify it as polorized.

    I had six months of high school. What is yer excuse? At least I listened for six months.

    • Anonymous

      Pete, thanks for the quick catch! Got it changed/removed… Will try to make sure such things don’t happen in the future!

      • Anonymous

        1650 GW-h (=1.65 TW-h) is a plausible annual production for an 800 MW solar plant. That Blythe plant is expected to produce about 2100 GW-h per year.
        However, a nuclear plant of the same capacity would be expected to produce about four times as much energy.

        • Pete

          I repeat: 1.65 GWH is equivilant to yer 800MW plant operating for just over two hours, or 4 hours at half capacity. In what alternative reality is 2 hours of capacity considered even in the same gity as the ballpark?

          I just saw the reply to my flameburst (new word?!) promising a correction. I,ll withold further ranting untill I read it. God help all you should there be a single grammatical error! As Stewie Griffin once warned: Your suffering shall be legendary! I shall denounce you on all the porn sites to which I am a lifetime subscriber, and I promise you there are many.

          • Anonymous

            i hope you won’t do that (there’s probably a comma in the wrong place somewhere up there), but if you do, it might actually give us a pageview boost (hard to compete with the popularity of porn sites), so i won’t hold you back! 😀

          • Pete

            I spotted a gramatical error in the FIRST letter of the FIRST sentence of yer reply to my reply. One uses a capital for teh first person singular pronoun. Ours is Washington D.C.  Also regarding teh first sentence, how DARE u point out the fact that I dunno teh difference ‘tween a coma and an apostle! I am sending my army of angry kittens to stare at u fer hrs w their magic sad eyes!

            Plz send 5$ (for kitten chow) and a s.a.s.e. or I’ll TELL TEH WORLD how much u hate kittens.

            It IS nice to find a site where people acknowledge their misteaks, as long as they ignore mine. If you spot one, lemme know.


          • Anonymous

            Pete, we’ve talked it out between ourselves and we are all in agreement that you have made no misteaks of any sort.  Rest assured that we will continue to find no misteaks with any of your contributions.

            Also, we thought it best to let you know that we’ve double bolted our doors.

            Just in case you were thinking of coming over.

            In fact, we’ll all be moving somewhere else real soon.  We’ll let you know where later….

          • Anonymous

            lol, Bill. this one had me laughing as well 😀


          • Pete

            Ha ha ha. Dint u no dat bolted doors are USELESS against angry kittens? Teh magic sad eyes WORK THREW WINDOWS! Teh unix version is in beta right now.


          • Anonymous

            oh my gosh, you had me laughing so hard 😀

            i could live with a few more comments like that 😀

            btw, since you ask, i think you might have difficulty spelling ‘the’ and ‘your’ 😀 & ‘mistakes’ lol 😀

        • Pete

          Just re-read this mess. I might have mis-read 1650 GHW as 1.65GWH . Unfortunatly some “accuracy Nazi” has altered the original post so there is no EASY way for me to verify that I was correct. You should just assume that I was correct because I always am.

          The advocates of revisionist history have always conspired to make me appear the fool. It is just the same thing as when Donald Trump tried to warn us about the Obama birth plot. Some jerk had to dig up the truth simply to make Trump and Gary Busey look foolish.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll say this about you, Pete.

            You’re entertaining.

            This site is a bit unusual.  The authors have a tendency to readily acknowledge their mistakes and correct them. 

            Other sites are known for banning people who point out that their new robes are transparent. 

            I like this approach.  And few of us keep score to see who’s the most correctest. 

            (Correctest is an actual word!  Spell checker just told me so and I thought I was just doing some creative spelling.)

          • Anonymous

            LOL 😀

    • Johyne Brooke

      Hey Pete,
      a quick comment here on the power rating:  The reason they don’t list the power rating in MWH is because the power plant can be run 24 hours/ day 7 days/week.  While running during that time, it can produce the 800 megawats of power (I.e.: that is the maximum power produced while running full tilt). 
      When a person is talking about the amount of power a device can produce, it is typically described in units of energy for a defined period of time (which is used to describe the total amount of power produced).  Since a power plant generates the power continuously, the time variable is neglected, as being understood that it is continuous.  So, technically, calling it an 800 MW power station is correct, as it is capable of generating 800 MW of electricity on a continuous basis (I.e. 24/7).  If run continuously for a year, that would be about 7 million Megawatt hours (MWH’s) of electricity produced. 

      By contrast, looking at batteries or battery banks, you describe them in watthours or kilowatthours because that describes the total capacity of the device going from full charge to total charge depletion.  It is a description of the total amount of energy contained within the battery during that time period.
      Hope that clarifies things a bit for you.

      For the person(s) noting that the above project isn’t a geothermal or solar installation, you are correct.  I believe the article could have been written better to reflect that fact.

  • Anonymous

    Build ’em. 

    Build ’em where they least disturb the environment.

    Build ’em because they protect the environment.

  • Anonymous

    Soldier on!!

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