Expanded Solar Thermal Plans For Nevada

rightSource Energy's Luz Power Tower 550
Patented optimization software enables BrightSource Energy’s heliostats to track the sun throughout the day to directly concentrate the sun’s energy on the boiler atop the tower.

BrightSource Energy, developer of large-scale solar thermal power plants, has reached a preliminary agreement with Nevada’s Coyote Springs Land Company to provide the sites for up to 960 megawatts of clean and reliable solar thermal energy to the California and Nevada markets. The agreement expands upon the previously-announced private land agreement that BrightSource Energy executed with Coyote Springs Land Company in March 2009 to provide sites for up to 600 megawatts of solar thermal power.

The Coyote Springs project is part of BrightSource Energy’s diverse site development strategy in California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, including its first project located in Ivanpah, California. The Ivanpah project is in the final permitting stages with the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management, and is expected to begin construction in early 2010.

“The Coyote Springs Lands are a great addition to our growing and diverse portfolio of sites suitable for solar thermal projects,” said John Woolard, President and CEO for BrightSource Energy. “We’re thrilled by the opportunity to grow our relationship with the Coyote Springs Land Company as we work to build an environmentally-friendly solar power project that will bring more clean energy and economic benefits to Nevada.”

“This new agreement creates a unique opportunity for our company to continue to participate in creating a solar thermal facility that is second to none,” said Harvey Whittemore, founder of Coyote Springs and chairman of Coyote Springs Land Company. “We are pleased that BrightSource Energy has increased the size of its land commitment and supporting our national and state priorities for expansion of renewable energy. Our national and state leaders are to be commended for having created an environment where this can take place in our state.”

The size of the site has now expanded to include a twelve-square-mile area within the larger Coyote Springs development in Lincoln County. The site is located on private property near transmission lines and, as part of the broader development site, has already received environmental permits from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and various other federal, state, and county agencies. The power generated from the Coyote Springs site could meet demand generated in the Coyote Springs development, southern Nevada, as well as deliver power to California.

Located northeast of Las Vegas, the Coyote Springs development will also include several residential and commercial components. Whittemore has already opened PGA Golf Club Coyote Springs’ first golf course, The Chase, an award-winning PGA golf course.

BrightSource Energy is setting the bar in building environmentally-friendly solar thermal power plants. The company now has more than 2.6 gigawatts of power under contract, including a 1,300 megawatt series of agreements with Southern California Edison and a 1,310 megawatt series of agreements with PG&E.

The company’s Solar Energy Development Center (SEDC) in Israel has consistently produced the world’s highest temperature turbine-quality steam as evaluated by an independent engineering firm.

These results reflect the engineering advantages of the company’s Luz Power Tower (LPT) 550 system over competing solar thermal technologies. The system uses thousands of small mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop a tower to produce high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine which generates electricity. By tracking the sun on two-axes and concentrating its energy in a single place at the boiler, the system is able to produce steam at temperatures that take advantage of the world’s most efficient steam turbine generators.

The LPT 550 solar system is also designed to minimize the solar plant’s environmental impact, reducing the need for extensive land grading and concrete pads. In order to conserve precious desert water, LPT 550 uses air-cooling to convert the steam back into water, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in water usage compared to conventional wet-cooling. The water is then returned to the boiler in an environmentally-friendly closed process.

For its technological leadership, BrightSource Energy was selected as a 2009 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. The only solar company to win this year’s prestigious award, BrightSource Energy was recognized for helping global utility and industrial customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels by providing clean, low-cost, and reliable solar energy.

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