Solar Powered Towers Coming to California

November 3rd, 2010

The United States of America will now produce clear power that can light up as many as 11,000 to 277,500 homes in the country. The Sectary of Interior Ken Salazar has given a go ahead to the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating system, a project proposed by BrightSource of Oakland that can produce up to 370 megawatt of clear energy and generate nearly 1,100 opportunities for employment. The project, located in San Bernardino Country, California, is the inaugural large-scale solar energy project on US public soil to use the power tower.

Key features of the project.

  • The project, which will be in three phases, will finish by the year 2013.
  • This know-how takes the help of mirror fields so that solar energy is pointed on the power tower receivers closer to every array. To generate electricity, Steam from the solar boilers in the towers is used to drive a turbine and electricity is produced.

How will it help the Administration.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating system will be one project that will be a win-win situation for both the administration and BrightSource.

  • This will give a boost to administration’s efforts for quick growth of production of renewable energy on public property on a large scale. Whereas the Sectary of Interior had given a green signal to first of such projects on October 5, with Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating system, this figure has reached to 3.
  • A day later, Salzar also signed a lease deal with Cape Wind to generate 468 megawatts of clean renewable electricity for Nantucket Sound Communities by purchasing a 130 turbine offshore wind farm.
  • This would be the first lease on the Outer Continental Shelf to develop commercial wind energy.
  • All these efforts will help USA to build a clean energy economy that could generate 1,124 megawatts of clean energy to lit-up between 337,000 and 843,000 homes.
  • It will reduce carbon emission and help the nation as a whole by making USA independent in its energy needs and strengthen its national security.

How will it help BrightSource Energy.

  • The decision gives the power to Interior’s Bureau of Land management to give a site in the Southern California’s Mojave Desert, close to the Primm, Nevada border, to BrightSource so that they can use it for 30 years, provided they comply with all conditions including rent.
  • BrightSource will be eligible to recover 30 percent of their cost, which the energy developers can recover under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided they have started the construction work before or in 2010. The U.S. department of Energy has also awarded them $ 1.37 billion in conditional loan guarantees as per the provisions of Recovery act.
  • The project Ivanpah is processed by Bureau of Land Management and the California Energy Commission (CEC) cooperative model established by an October 12, 2009 agreement. It is based on an agreement between Secretary Salazar and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which tells the Interior and state agencies to take initiative to develop renewable energy in the land of California, which is best suited to the environment.

Environmental hazards And public accountability.
Keeping with the norms of the state- private partnership and the fact that it is working on harnessing alternative means of energy, BrightSource is required to make its share of contribution to protect the environment. BrightSource will be needed to acquire around 7300 mitigation acres. According to a plan of the US Fish and Wildlife services, which BrightSource has to follow, it has to test 3 million Desert Tortoise selected by Bureau of Land Management in California for diseases and then monitor them by locating them to a more suitable place. The company will also have to contribute to the joint compensation fund created by Federal and State agencies and operated by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the negative effect it causes to various resources including water and wildlife.

As a part of its social duty, BrightSource has allowed its solar energy enhancing projects to go through various public scrutinies for environment hazards. These include:

  • Public scoping in 2007
  • Draft environment Impact Statement in 2009
  • Full public involvement in 2009
  • A supplement draft in 2010 before a final environment Impact Statement was prepared.

As noted by Salazar, important changes were made in the project. The size of BrightSource’s project was cut by 15%, from 4,073 acres down to 3,471 acres and the number of heliostats (solar mirrors) from 214,000 to 173,500 by the Bureau of Land Management after this scrutiny.

Reacting to these changes made in the project after public scrutiny, Salazar said, “Since it is essential that we learn from our past experiences to make certain that we wisely develop clean energy at the appropriate places, I am happy that changes have been made to improve the project.”

 
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