According to the New York Times, a major solar power project in California has been canceled. It seems that even creating solar power in the middle of nowhere in a desert can’t get past California environmentalists these days. If not here, where then on earth will be acceptable? Don’t hold your breath.
BrightSource Energy Inc. had planned a 5,130-acre solar power farm in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, on land previously intended for conservation. The company, based in Oakland, Calif., said Thursday that it was instead seeking an alternative site for the project.
The Wildlands Conservancy, a California environmental group, had tried to block the solar development, as had Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who proposed that the area become a national monument.
The land was donated by Wildlands to the Interior Department during the Clinton administration, with assurances from President Bill Clinton himself, the group says, that it would be protected in perpetuity. But the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a Bush administration initiative, opened the land to the development of solar projects.
Here’s the details on the project from the company website:
BrightSource is currently developing its first solar power complex in California’s Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will be located in Ivanpah, approximately 50 miles northwest of Needles, California, and about five miles from the California-Nevada border. The complex will be a 6-square mile facility (4065 acres) within the 25,000-square mile Mojave Desert and will generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 450,000 tons per year.
* Location: Ivanpah, California
* Output: Up to 440 megawatts
* The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will power 150,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 450,000 tons per year.
* The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced today in the US.
* Ivanpah will create 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction.
The 440 megawatt Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will be built in three phases – two 110 megawatt facilities and one 220 megawatt facility. The first phase (110 megawatts) is scheduled to begin construction in early 2010 and completed by 2012. The second phase will begin construction roughly six months after the start of the first phase in early 2010.
A 100 megawatt solar thermal plant utilizes approximately 50,000 heliostats.