There are many new Alternative energy projects coming up all over the US, and the US still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to alternative energy when compared to the developing economies China and India. China is the leader in investment in alternative energy programs world over.
Under the EERE’s solar Energy technologies program many new alternative energy programs are developing. On August 12th the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a power purchase agreement for the utility-scale Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. CPUC granted a 20-year contract between Southern California Edison Company and Ivanpah operator BrightSource Energy, Inc. for 117 megawatts (MW) of planned production from the three-tower, concentrating solar power (CSP) complex in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California. The contract calls for electricity to begin flowing on September 30, 2013. The site’s three plants will feature the company’s proprietary solar power tower technology, which employs thousands of flat mirrors to concentrate the sunlight on a central tower-mounted receiver. Water pumped to the receiver is boiled into steam, which drives a turbine to produce electricity. Solar power towers allow the capture of a greater percentage of solar energy than do other solar thermal technologies. Ultimately, the project is designed to generate approximately 400 MW of electricity, an output that would nearly double the existing generation capacity of CSP facilities in the United States.
The project will be sited on about 4,000 acres of public land proposed public land in San Bernardino County.
- Project Overview
- An approximately 400 megawatt solar complex using mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers atop power towers.
- The complex is comprised of three separate plants to be built in phases between 2010 and 2013, and will use BrightSource Energy’s Luz Power Tower (LPT) technology.
- The electricity generated by all three plants is enough to serve more than 140,000 homes in California during the peak hours of the day.
- Located approximately 4.5 miles southwest of Primm, Nevada, in the desert on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
- When constructed, Ivanpah will be the first large-scale solar thermal project built in California in nearly two decades and the largest in the world.
- The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal electricity produced in the US today.
- Environmental Benefits
- Avoids 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year; the equivalent of removing 70,000 cars off the road annually.
- Employs a closed-loop dry-cooling technology, which reduces water use by 90 percent. Will use 100 acre feet per year, the equivalent of 300 homes’ annual water usage; and nearly 25 times less water than competing technologies.
- Cuts major air pollutants by 85% compared to new natural gas-fired power plants.
- Technology places individual mirrors onto metal poles that are driven into the ground, reducing the need for extensive land grading and using far fewer concrete pads than other technologies.
- Economic Benefits
- Construction Jobs : 1,000 jobs at peak of construction; average 650 jobs annually over 3 year period
- Operations and Maintenance Jobs : 86
- State and Local Tax Benefits : $400 million*
- Total construction wages : $250 million
- Total Employee Earnings : $650 million
*Based on 30 year plant life cycle
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Check out Brightsource Energy website