BrightSource Energy Plans 400 MW Solar Thermal Plant

BrightSource Energy, Inc., a utility scale solar thermal company, announced last week that it has filed an Application For Construction (AFC) with the California Energy Commission (CEC) for development of a 400 megawatt (MW) solar power plant site. This is the first AFC to be filed in California since 1989 for the construction of solar thermal power plants.

BrightSource plans to build three separate solar plants on a site in California known as Ivanpah, about five miles southwest of Primm, Nevada. The site is located on federally owned land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

BrightSource has applied to the BLM for a right-of-way grant to use the land for its solar power complex, which will consist of two 100 MW solar power plants and one 200 MW solar power plant. The plants will utilize Distributed Power Tower (DPT) solar field technology developed by Luz II, a wholly owned subsidiary of BrightSource Energy.

“BrightSource is in negotiations with California utilities for the purchase of the electricity that these solar power plants will generate,” noted John Woolard, CEO of BrightSource Energy.

The BrightSource technical team previously developed the solar trough technology used in nine solar thermal plants built in Southern California between 1984 and 1990. The company’s Luz Distributed Power Tower technology consists of mirrors called heliostats, which reflect the sun’s light to a central tower to heat water and run a steam turbine to create electricity.

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