BLM & CEC Release Draft EIS for 400-MW Ivanpah CSP Project

According to a recently released report from the EERE Network News, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the California Energy Commission have completed a joint draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project. The project, to be located on about 4,000 acres of federal land in Southern California’s Ivanpah Valley will have the capacity to generate up to 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

The November 11, 2009 EERE News report stated that the project will employ a field of flat mirrors, or heliostats, to focus the sun’s heat on a central receiver mounted at the top of a tower. In the central receiver, water is boiled to steam, which is then used to drive a turbine to produce power.

Proposed by BrightSource Energy Inc., the Ivanpah project will be built in three phases, including two 100-MW plants and one 200-MW plant. According to the CEC, each 100-MW plant will use three power towers and the 200-MW plant will have four power towers around a central plant. The entire project is set to be built on land managed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The facilities are under contract to provide power to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison.

The Interior Department also announced that five other renewable energy projects in California are on a fast-track review schedule and are set to begin environmental review. Four of these are solar projects and one is a wind farm, and all are located on BLM lands.

The Daggett Ridge Wind Farm, located near Barstow, is an 82.5-MW project proposed by AES.

The four solar projects will all use parabolic trough technology and include the 250-MW Genesis Solar Energy Project and three proposals from Solar Millenium LLC including the 484-MW Palen Solar Power Project, the 968-MW Blythe Solar Power Project and the 250-MW Ridgecrest Solar Power Project.

This article was first published in the U.S. Department of Energy’s EERE Network News and was reprinted with permission. Kevin Eber, the writer of the news release, is a senior science writer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In that capacity, he has promoted energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for nearly 20 years. 

“If you include the Acciona Solar/Clark Energy 500 MWs on Fort Irwin – all these proposed CSP plants equal 2,852 MW in Southern California alone. That’s nearly 3 gigawatts (GW) of concentrated solar power alone, which represents a significant step towards moving California towards ‘no new carbon’ for new electric generation in the 21st century’,” said Scott Sklar, president of The Stella Group Ltd.

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