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President Obama: Ivanpah CSP Plant to Create Clean Energy and Jobs

October 19, 2010

In his weekly address on October 2, President Barack Obama cited the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, slated to break ground in California this month, as an example of how the clean energy incentives are creating jobs and helping the nation achieve its clean energy goals. 

“This month, in the Mojave Desert, a company called BrightSource plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant,” he said.  “It’s going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility.  And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes – the largest such plant in the world.  Not in China.  Not in India.  But in California.”

Once completed, the Ivanpah concentrating solar power (CSP) plant is expected to generate 370 megawatts (MW), nearly doubling the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the United States today. The project will be located in San Bernardino County in southeastern California, on approximately 3,600 acres of land owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) . BrightSource Energy, the Oakland, California-based developer, says the plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tons annually, the equivalent of taking more than 70,000 cars off the road, and create more than 1,000 local union jobs at the peak of construction.

The power generated from the Ivanpah plant will be sold under separate contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE); PG&E will purchase approximately two-thirds and SCE will purchase approximately one-third.

BrightSource expects to break ground this month, following final permit approval by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Ivanpah project was identified as a “fast-track” priority by the BLM for obtaining federal stimulus benefits under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The California Energy Commission granted the project state permits on September 29.  In February of this year, BrightSource received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy for $1.37 billion in loan guarantees to support project financing. 

“With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy,” the president said.  “And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.”

For more information, see the October 2 BrightSource Energy press press release (PDF 113 KB), the BrightSource Ivanpah Web page and the video of the president’s address on the White House blog.  Download Adobe Reader.

—Karen Atkison