Monday, July 08, 2013

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

The BrightSource Energy's $2.3 billion Ivanpah project, is being constructed by project partners NRG Energy, BrightSource, Google and Bechtel.

Ivanpah will generate nearly 400 MW of solar electricity for more than 140,000 homes.

Upon completion, the 3,500-acre project will be the largest solar thermal power tower system in the world.  The project employed as many as 2,100 workers during construction. 

The project was designed to minimize environmental impact (vegetation co-existing under the heliostats, minimal grading to retain the land’s natural features); dry cooling technology, which enables Ivanpah to use 90% less water than a solar thermal plant using wet cooling; and an observation deck. The 450-foot towers will create electricity the same way that most of the world’s electricity is produced – by creating high-temperature steam to turn a conventional turbine.

The tortoise nursery shows BrightSource’s approach to species protection, including
Ivanpah’s desert tortoise care program and rare plant nursery. The Ivanpah project owners are going to great lengths to ensure minimal impact to the desert tortoise population at and near the project site. In fact, the desert tortoise care program is actively supporting efforts to repopulate the species in the Ivanpah Valley. In addition to moving the desert tortoise out of harm’s way during plant construction at the Ivanpah project in the California desert, the Head Start Program is enabling tortoise eggs to be hatched, young tortoises to be cared for, and adults to be safeguarded within protected areas. These areas are watched over and managed by a dedicated team of biologists to ensure tortoises are more likely to survive, and ultimately be released into their natural environment to further repopulate. For the desert tortoise, which has a 98% mortality rate in the wild, this level of protection is contributing to the future survival of the species. (Frank Maisano)

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