California — The California-based concentrating solar power (CSP) developer BrightSource Energy had a couple big announcements in the last week.
The first came when the California Energy Commission’s siting committee gave its approval of BrightSource’s 392-MW Ivanpah power plant in the Mojave Desert. The project has undergone a number of changes in the last year due to siting and environmental concerns. The backing of the CEC’s siting committee makes it very likely that the regulatory agency will allow the project to go ahead. The CEC is expected to make its final decision in the next month.
The second big development for the company came late last week, when the Bureau of Land Management issued its final environmental impact review on the Ivanpah plant. The BLM said that the project – which was scaled down by 48 MW this February due to possible impacts on wildlife – was the best proposed option so far. The BLM has also put it on the “fast track” list of projects, which should speed up the permitting and development process.
These two announcements come after BrightSource received a $1.4 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in February.
The BrightSource technology consists of a field of mirrors that concentrate sunlight into a central receiver tower, boil water, create steam and run a turbine. Because the mirrors can be installed to compliment the contours of the landscape, BrightSource says it will have a smaller environmental impact.
Check out the video interview below for an interview with Charlie Ricker, VP of business management for BrightSource, about the layout and economics of the plant.
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