BrightSource Energy broke ground on its Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in Ivanpah, California today. The system is the first to be built on federal land and is one of the largest solar projects in the world, producing 370 megawatts of renewable energy and creating over 1,000 jobs.
According to the company, the Ivanpah system will double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the United States. Overall the system covers 3,600 acres of land and will produce enough energy to power 140,000 homes. This much solar power will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tons annually. Pacific Gas and Electric along with Southern California Edison will be selling the energy as part of their public utilities offerings.
The project was created as part of a new collaboration between the The Bureau of Land Management and the California Energy Commission (CEC). The system is among the first commercial solar thermal power plants to be permitted on federal public land in the U.S., and the CEC issued a permit for construction for the project on September 22, 2010.
“The construction of this renewable energy plant is great news for our state, and further proof that it is possible to both protect the environment and grow the economy. Projects like this one are helping us meet our long-term energy and environmental goals, while creating jobs and moving us toward a cleaner, more sustainable future – a future where California leads the nation and the world in a clean energy revolution,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.