BrightSource to Build 500 Megawatts of Solar-Thermal Power in Mojave Desert

The press release (pdf) is dated April 1st, but this is no joke. Because of California law, PG&E; needs to get 20% of its electricity from renewable sources (not including big hydro) by 2010, so it has contracted with Brightsource Energy for 3 new solar-thermal power plants in the Mojave desert, one of the best spots for solar power in the world.

"Solar thermal energy is an especially attractive renewable power source because it is available when needed most in California – during the peak mid-day summer period," said Fong Wan, vice president of energy procurement at PG&E.; These first three plants will add up to 500 megawatts of capacity, but PG&E; has also signed contracts for options on an additional 400 megawatts, which could bring the total to 900 megawatts.

The first of these solar power plants, sized at 100 MW in Ivanpah, California, could be operating as early as 2011 and is expected to produce 246,000 megawatt hours of renewable electricity per year. BrightSource will build and place in commercial operation each of its plants as quickly as permitting and infrastructure allow.

The next two power plants will be 200 megawatts each.

For more on the subject, see ::Solar Thermal Power: Not Forgotten
::Official Bightsource Energy Press release (pdf), ::PG&E; backs 3 solar plants in the Mojave

See also: ::Torresol to Build 3 Solar Thermal Power Plants in Spain for $1.24 Billion, ::Ausra: Solar Power Around the Clock, Enough for 90% of U.S. Grid, ::Bosch Solar Thermal System Sales Up 60% YTD, ::Spanish Firm, Acciona Energy, Planning 200MW Solar Thermal Power Plant In The US

Tags: Alternative Energy | California | Energy | Technology