Everyone’s favorite on-again, off-again desert solar farm will be built with traditional solar panels — if the Palen project’s next owner gets the go-ahead from the California Energy Commission.Palen is now going through its fourth ownership change, third technology change and possibly second corporate bankruptcy since being licensed by the commission in 2010. Environmental groups have long hated the proposed solar plant, which would be built near Joshua Tree National Park and at one point would have included bird-frying “power towers.”Palen’s current owner, the Spanish firm Abengoa, nixed the solar-tower concept earlier this year. Faced with a looming bankruptcy, Abengoa now hopes to sell the project to EDF Renewable Energy. The San Diego-based company plans to refashion Palen as an old-fashioned solar-panel project, jettisoning the solar-heating technology that three owners have tried and failed to bring to fruition. The Current: Sign up for email updates on all things water and energyEven with “power towers” off the table, some environmental groups will probably still oppose Palen’s construction.EDF’s solar-panel proposal is “an order of magnitude” better than the solar-tower concept, said David Lamfrom, California desert program director for the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association. Lamfrom’s group has argued that extremely bright towers would ruin views from parts of Joshua… Read full this story
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