"California's long-awaited boom in solar power plant construction took a major step forward Wednesday when state regulators approved the first in a string of projects that will soon blanket thousands of acres of desert with mirrors harnessing the energy of the sun.
The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Beacon Solar Energy Project, which a Florida company plans to build on the Mojave Desert's western edge. The plant will use troughs of curved mirrors to concentrate sunlight, heat fluid-filled tubes, generate steam, turn a turbine and produce electricity.
California hasn't issued a license for this kind of big 'solar thermal' power plant in about 20 years. But in the coming months, the energy commission will vote on eight other, large-scale solar projects that the state needs to meet its renewable energy goals."
David R. Baker reports for the San Francisco Chronicle August 26, 2010.