15 August 2012
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that construction of the 370MW (AC) Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station can proceed as planned, thus upholding a lower court ruling against the Western Watersheds Project (WWP), which filed a suit in January 2011 to stop the project because the site, which is located in Southern California’s Mojave Desert, is habitat for the desert tortoise.
Last week, the project’s developer BrightSource Energy announced the project had hit the halfway mark with more than 2,100 construction workers and project support staff on-site and that it was on track to begin delivering power in 2013. The $2.2 billion project is backed by a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy (DOE). Equity investors in the project include NRG Energy Inc. and Google Inc. Bechtel Power Corp. is the project’s engineering and construction contractor.
The 370 (net) MW Ivanpah solar power facility is located on approximately 3500 acres of federal land in California’s Mojave Desert managed by the US Department of the Interior‘s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The three individual power plants at Ivanpah will feature BrightSource Energy’s solar thermal power tower technology to produce clean, renewable energy from the sun. When completed in 2013, the facility will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the US.
Power generated from the plants will be sold under separate contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). The first unit will begin supplying power to PG&E in mid-2013, with units two and three delivering power to Southern California and PG&E respectively by late of 2013. In total, the project will power more than 140,000 homes and businesses in California. Ivanpah will help its customers PG&E and SCE meet the state of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements, legislation requiring each investor-owned utility to procure 33 percent of its energy portfolio from renewable resources by 2020.
The $2.2 billion project’s engineering and construction contractor Bechtel has retained over 2000 construction workers to build the plant, in addition to the more than 100 engineering and support staff on site. 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 requires the work of skilled craft workers and engineers from a wide variety of trades and disciplines, including pipefitters, millwrights, carpenters, electricians, laborers and civil engineers.
The project will provide $400 million in local and state tax revenues, and produce $650 million in wages, over its first 30-year life. The majority of the project’s supply chain is being sourced domestically across 17 US states, driving investments throughout the country and creating additional jobs in other areas that have been adversely affected by the economic downturn.