Clean homegrown electric energy

February 6, 2014

There is another big step forward for America’s clean energy revolution. The San Bernardino Sun reports that the Ivanpah solar thermal project has come fully online:

The world’s largest solar thermal electric plant has begun operating its three generating units, which will soon deliver enough clean energy to power more than 140,000 homes in Northern and Southern California, officials said.

‘When this project comes fully online, California will become home to the largest solar thermal electric project in the world, creating stable jobs in a rural community and helping us to meet our goal in curbing the effects of climate change with renewable electricity,’ said Robert Weisenmiller, chairman of the California Energy Commission.

We need more projects of this magnitude to reconfigure our sluggish fossil fuel economy. The project was undertaken by a consortium of firms: NRG, Google, Bechtel and Brightsource. Here are the techie details:

A 377 megawatt net solar complex using mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers atop power towers.

  • The complex will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 400,000 tons per year.
  • Located in Ivanpah, approximately 50 miles northwest of Needles, California (about five miles from the California-Nevada border) on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
  • The complex is comprised of three separate plants to built in phases between 2010 and 2013, using BrightSource Energy’s LPT solar thermal technology.

The project is located in San Bernardino County, where the county seat is now going through bankruptcy. It’s interesting that such a vital project is happening in a place where resources, except for the sun, are so limited.

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