Solar Thermal Generating is a technology using mirrors and lenses to concentrate sun rays and turn the heat into electricity. The process is beginning to find its way to the market as the US Government continues to promote the use of large-scale renewable energy and associated green careers.
Southern California plans to embrace the technology on a wide scale now that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued positive environmental impact statements (EIS) for the construction of three commercial solar plants.
Tessera Solar’s 850-megawatt Calico Solar plant and BrightSource Energy Inc.’s 392-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System have received a BLM stamp of approval and will be now be built in California’s largest county, San Bernardino. Previously, Tessera Solar’s 709-megawatt Imperial Valley project in Imperial County received approval on its final EIS. After completion, these three solar plants will cover nearly 20,000 acres of BLM land and are expected to produce enough electricity to power 1.6 million homes tripling the amount of solar power currently produced in the United States.
These three projects are just the first of more than a dozen plants nearing final approval. Once built, nine California plants would cover up 41,229 acres of BLM land and have the capacity to generate 4,580 megawatts of electricity and potentially create thousands of green jobs.
These developments come as a huge boost for investors in solar technologies after years of an administration lacking “support-systems” in the renewable green business sector.
These plants should be under construction by Dec.31 for developers to be able to qualify for federal grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.