Solar Thermal Really Heats Up in Nevada: BrightSource Plans 1200 MW Facilty Outside Las Vegas


image: BrightSource Energy

At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader, the scale of some of the new solar power plants being announced over the past few weeks are just astounding. PG&E; has contracted with a 250 MW and a 500 MW solar plant in California, a 250 MW integrated solar plant/manufacturing facility is being built in India, and the Clinton Foundation is discussing building a similar 5,000 MW facility in a different part of India. At the beginning of the summer a new 10 MW thin-film facility was claiming the record for that category and a 400 MW solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert was big news. Furthering the great solar scale-up:

Three 400 Megawatt Plants Planned
BrightSource Energy as announced that it will be developing a 1200 MW solar thermal power facility at a site northeast of Las Vegas, with 2012 being the target date for completion. According to The Desert Valley Times Online the facility would consist of three 400 MW plants near Overton Airport, as well as upgrading the transmission infrastructure needed to bring the power to the grid. Regulatory Hurdles Yet to Be Cleared
Though construction of the facility is expected to take 18-24 months, state and federal permitting is expected to take an additional two years. Additionally, the plant does not yet have a power outtake agreement in place. The gist of which is that there’s a lot of solar power on tap but there are still hoops to jump through before it comes online.

BrightSource estimates that the power generated by this facility would be enough to power 900,000 homes.

Scale is Key for Solar to Displace Fossil Fuels
It's really good to see that solar power plants are finally being scaled to the size of fossil fuel-based power plants. This is the sort of expansion needed, especially when combined with decentralized power generation on people's homes and businesses, that will make a significant dent in fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

via :: The Desert Valley Times Online and :: Cleantech Investing in Israel
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Tags: Nevada | Renewable Energy | Solar Power | United States