Solar startup BrightSource Energy has filed an application with the California Energy Commission to build a 400-megawatt solar power station complex in the Mojave Desert near the Nevada border. Two 100-megawatt plants and one 200-megawatt station would be built using the Oakland, California, company’s distributed power tower technology. Fields of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats focus the sun’s rays on a water-filled boiler that sits atop a tower. The intense heat creates steam which drives a turbine to generate electricity. The site, called Ivanpah, is on federal land about five miles south of Primm, Nevada, on the California side of the border. The company says the construction application is the first to be filed since 1989, when BrightSource founder Arnold Goldman’s Luz International built the last of nine solar power plants that continue to operate in Southern California. BrightSource CEO John Woolard says the company is negotiating with California utilities for the purchase of the power the plants will generate. BrightSource has been negotiating with California utility PG&E (PCG) to supply 500 megawatts of solar electricity but a final agreement had not been reached. Both Southern California Edison (EIX) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SRE) have contracted for large-scale solar power plants with Stirling Energy Systems and have been expanding their solar portfolios.
BrightSource to Build 400-Megawatt Solar Power Station
September 6, 2007 by Todd Woody