Google has Invested $250 Million in Clean Energy.
Driving home from Las Vegas and noticing all that “construction stuff” on the right side of Interstate 15 just past the state line at Primm? That is the new Ivanpah Solar Power Tower site, partially paid for by Google.
The solar farm will use heliostat mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy onto a tower where the heat will generate steam that makes a turbine spin. “Power towers are very efficient because all those mirrors focus a tremendous amount of solar energy onto a small area to produce steam at high pressure and temperature (up to 1000 degrees F).”
Located on 3,600 acres of U.S. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) managed land the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) is a 392 megawatt solar thermal power facility developed by BrightSource Energy. A megawatt (MW) is one million watts and a kilowatt (kW) is one thousand watts. A west coast home’s watt consumption monthly average is about 668 each.
This healthy female tortoise was relocated from her temporary home in the tortoise pens to adjacent habitat about 1,300 feet from the project site by trained desert tortoise biologists with oversight from Dr. Larry LaPre, a Bureau of Land Management biologist. Prior to the move, 3 biologists had devoted hundreds of hours of monitoring and research in preparation for the tortoise’s eventual move back into the wild. This particular tortoise was found on the edge of Ivanpah’s Unit 3 in early spring prior to construction. Trained and authorized biologists attached a small transmitter to her shell that was used to help monitor her whereabouts and habits. Thanks to the biologist’s familiarity with her original routines, they were able to identify ideal habitat near her original home that contained an unoccupied burrow of comparable size, similar vegetation and familiar terrain.
Ivanpah, which started construction in October 2010…and should finish in 2013. It is the first project to deliver power to serve BrightSource’s signed contracts with PG&E and Southern California Edison, California’s largest power providers.
The Ivanpah Power Tower will be approximately 450 feet tall and will use 173,000 heliostats…each heliostat with two mirrors.
The solar complex is comprised of three separate plants to be built in phases between 2010 and 2013, and will use BrightSource Energy’s LPT solar thermal technology. It is a 392 megawatt gross solar complex using mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers atop power towers. The electricity generated by all three plants is enough to serve more than 140,000 homes in California during the peak hours of the day. The complex will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 400,000 tons per year.
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