During his weekly national address on Saturday, President Obama lauded the economic benefits of the Ivanpah project: “With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.”
“Ivanpah is one of several renewable energy projects in the pipeline that will help California and this nation build a clean energy economy,” Secretary Salazar said in signing the Record of Decision. “With this project, we are making great strides toward meeting the President’s goals for creating new jobs for American workers, reducing carbon emissions, promoting energy independence and strengthening our national security."
“Today’s announcement is great news for California because this project will power 140,000 homes with clean electricity and create hundreds of jobs,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “The construction of this large-scale solar project is further evidence that reliable, renewable and pollution-free technology is here to stay. I applaud the Bureau of Land Management’s decision and I look forward to more decisions that will help grow our green economy, promote energy independence and strengthen our national security.”
“Today’s action by the BLM reflects utility-scale solar’s vital role in meeting our nation’s environmental and economic goals,” said John Woolard, President and CEO of BrightSource Energy. “We’re thankful for the BLM staff’s thoughtful review of Ivanpah, and humbled by the opportunity to start construction on this transformative project. Ivanpah is setting the bar for environmental design, creating great jobs for California’s High Desert communities, and its low-cost, reliable power will have a meaningful impact on helping California meet its climate change goals.”
Jointly reviewed with the California Energy Commission, the project received its state permits on September 22, 2010. In February 2010, BrightSource received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy for $1.37 billion in loan guarantees to support the financing of the Ivanpah project.
The Ivanpah Project: Clean Energy, Union Jobs, Environmentally-Responsible Design
Once completed, the 392 megawatt (gross) Ivanpah project will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the United States today. The approximately 3,500 acre project is located in San Bernardino County, in southeastern California. When constructed, the project will:
– produce enough clean energy to power 140,000 homes
– reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 400,000 tons annually, the equivalent of taking more than 70,000 cars off the road
– create more than 1,000 local union jobs at the peak of construction
– provide $650 million in employee wages over its first 30-year life
The power generated from these solar plants will be sold under separate contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). PG&E will purchase approximately two-thirds of the power generated at Ivanpah and SCE will purchase approximately one-third. In all, BrightSource has contracted with PG&E and SCE to deliver more than 2,600 megawatts of electric power.
Ivanpah: Creating Union Jobs
BrightSource and Bechtel, the engineering and construction contractor for the Ivanpah project, estimate that the Ivanpah project will create 1,000 union jobs at the peak of construction. In December 2009, Bechtel signed a project labor agreement with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) and the Building & Construction Trades Council of San Bernardino and Riverside counties to ensure that California’s local workforce benefits from the project. The project will also provide $300 million in local and state tax revenues, and produce $650 million in wages, over its first 30-year life.
“Last Saturday, President Obama identified this project as a perfect example of the new economy he is creating,” said Bob Balgenorth, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. “As he said, we will put 1,000 people to work building clean energy here in California, not in India or China. We’re ready to go to work.”
Ivanpah: An Environmentally-Responsible Project BrightSource’s proprietary Luz Power Tower (LPT) technology enables the company to employ a low-impact environmental design. Instead of the extensive land grading and concrete pads used by other competing solar technologies, BrightSource mounts mirrors on individual poles that are placed directly into the ground, allowing the solar field to be built around the natural contours of the land and avoid areas of sensitive vegetation. This design also allows for vegetation to co-exist within the solar field.
In order to conserve precious desert water, the Ivanpah project will employ an air-cooling system to convert the steam back into water in a closed-loop cycle. By using air-cooling, the project will use only 100 acre feet of water per year, approximately 95 percent less water than competing solar thermal technologies that use wet-cooling.
“Solar energy is a key part of modernizing American energy production, half of which continues to rely on burning coal – a bane to local communities beset with toxic coal ash, to children suffering from asthma, and to the global climate,” said Kyle Ash, Senior Legislative Representative for Greenpeace. “With its dry-cooling and thoughtful design, as well as potential to relieve some of California’s dependence on electricity from out-of-state coal-fired power plants, the Ivanpah project rightfully deserves the support of President Obama and Greenpeace alike.”
“With large-scale solar projects like Ivanpah, California’s High Desert region is quickly becoming the destination of our state’s clean energy economy,” said California Assemblyman Steve Knight. “Ivanpah and similar projects that follow are bringing good jobs and significant direct investments to our communities.”
"The BrightSource Ivanpah project is important for the whole region, creating 1,000 jobs, generating millions of dollars for the High Desert economy and coming at a time when we need it most," said Rudy Cabriales, Mayor of the City of Victorville.
"Large scale solar projects like the Ivanpah project will help build the clean energy infrastructure in California that is needed to combat global warming, reduce air pollution and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels that have caused such great harm to public health," said Jane Warner, President and CEO, American Lung Association in California.
“The BLM’s decision creates a real turning point in the development of clean renewable power plants,” said Ian Copeland, president of Renewables and New Technology for Bechtel’s Power business unit. “The Ivanpah project will usher in a new era of advanced solar power and create jobs in the region. As the engineering and construction contractor for the project, as well as an investor, Bechtel looks forward to working with BrightSource to make Ivanpah a reality.”
“Today’s BLM decision marks a key permitting milestone bringing the project one step closer to success," said Fong Wan, PG&E senior vice president of Energy Procurement. "We’re delighted to be a part of this historic project which, when constructed, will deliver additional clean energy to our customers and help advance California’s renewable energy and economic development goals."
“Today’s BLM permitting of the Ivanpah project brings us one significant step closer to meeting our state’s clean energy and economic goals,” Marc Ulrich, Southern California Edison vice president, Renewable and Alternative Power. “Addressing climate change and building our economy requires that we bring innovative technologies to market that can reliably deliver competitively priced clean energy at scale.”
President Obama Highlights BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Project During Weekly Radio Address
During his weekly address to the nation, President Obama highlighted BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System as an example of how the clean energy incentives launched by the administration are creating good jobs and helping the nation achieve its clean energy goals. According to the President:
“This month, in the Mojave Desert, a company called BrightSource plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant. It’s going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility. And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes – the largest such plant in the world. Not in China. Not in India. But in California.”
“With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.” The entire address can be seen at: www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/02/weekly-address-solar-power-a-clean-energy-economy.
BrightSource Energy, Inc. provides clean, reliable and low cost solar energy for utility and industrial companies worldwide. The BrightSource Energy team combines nearly three decades of experience designing, building and operating the world’s largest Concentrating Solar Power plants with world-class project development capabilities.
The company now has contracted to sell 2610 megawatts of power to be generated using its proprietary solar thermal technology. BrightSource Energy’s solar plants are designed to minimize their impact on the environment and help customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., BrightSource Energy is a privately held company with operations in the United States, Israel, and Australia.