Published on September 28th, 2013 | by No Artificial
World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is expected to produce twice the amount of commercial solar thermal energy generated in the United States.
NRG Energy, Inc., along with Google, BrightSource Energy, Bechtel and other investors are building the largest solar thermal project in the world.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is located near Ivanpah, California, in the Mojave Desert. The system will generate at least 392 MW of electricity, that will be sold to two Californian utilities, helping the state’s electricity sector meet their obligations under states’ renewable energy mandates.
The Ivanpah project received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. It consists of three independent plants to be built in phases. Construction is already underway on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The power produced by all three plants is enough to support a yearly average of 140,000 homes, and more than twice that number when functioning at maximum capacity during the peak hours of the day.
Electricity from the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will be sold under multiple power-purchase agreements, each of 25-30 years duration with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
Although the Ivanpah project promotes sustainability by avoiding the emission of 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually into the atmosphere and by using renewable resources in electricity generation, local environmentalists argue that the construction will destroy 5.6 square miles of the valley and has already displaced over 125 desert tortoises.
Also some groups questioned why a solar plant that uses water would be built in the desert — instead of one that uses photovoltaic panels.
In spite of all concerns, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a milestone towards California’s sustainable future.