Ivanpah Solar about to go online

$2.2 billion Ivanpah solar plant nears completion

Jul 30 – Brooke Self Desert Dispatch, Barstow, Calif.

The giant Ivanpah solar plant in the Mojave Desert approximately 110 miles east of Barstow and five miles west of the California-Nevada border will soon go online.

Construction on the $2.2 billion project is 95 percent complete and it’s expected to be operational by the end of the year, according to the latest update from the California Energy Commission and an official on the project.

"The California Energy Commission licensed the Ivanpah project in 2010 as part of the Commission’s commitment to support clean renewable energy, reinvigorate the state’s economy and bring jobs to California," Sandy Louey, a CEC spokeswoman said in a written statement. "The project will help meet the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard, which requires increasing California’s amount of renewable energy to 33 percent by 2020."

BrightSource Energy, Google and NRG Energy are all owners of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the plant’s official title. Construction on the project is largely being funded by a $1.6 billion loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Energy, according to BrightSource’s official website.

ISEGS will provide enough energy to power 140,000 homes and will connect to the systems of both Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison, Jared Blanton, the communications manager for BrightSource confirmed.

"It is the largest solar plant of its kind (under construction) in the world," Blanton said.

The 377 megawatt project comprises three 459-foot tall towers and 170,000 heliostats, or mirrors, on 5.3 square miles of federal land, according to the BrightSource website. The mirrors will track the sun throughout the day and reflect solar energy to the towers. At each tower the steam emitted and piped from a receiver boiler will power a conventional turbine that generates electricity.

The Ivanpah plant will employ 86 people in permanent operation and maintenance jobs. It took 2,100 workers and support staff to build at the peak of construction. Construction began in October 2010.

Contact Brooke Self at BSelf

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