Eco Factor: Solar thermal plant to generate 400MW of renewable electric power.
After being forced to scale down its solar thermal plant plans significantly because of concern for a rare tortoise, there is some good news for BrightSource Energy with the U.S. government guaranteeing a $1.37 billion loan to the company for the construction of three solar thermal plants in the Mojave Desert.
The plants, which are being claimed to be the world’s largest solar energy complex, are expected to generate up to 400MW of renewable electric power, which will be enough to power up to 140,000 homes. The plants will generate power using sun-tracking heliostats. Solar energy will then be concentrated onto a water-filled boiler placed on top of a tower.
This sun-heated water will produce steam, which will then be used to generate electricity using a steam turbine. The plants will also provide about 1000 jobs during the construction phase and 86 permanent jobs as well. If all goes well with BrightSource Energy, the plants should be up and running by 2014.