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21 Mar 2013: U.S.-Spain Energy Companies
Plan World’s Largest Solar Towers

A U.S.-based company that will soon finish construction of one of the world’s largest solar thermal power plants in the Mojave Desert, is now looking to build an even larger plant in Southern California. BrightSource Energy, which is expected to begin producing up to 370 megawatts of electricity

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BrightSource Energy Solar Thermal Plant in Mojave

BrightSource Energy
The Ivanpah solar plant in the Mojave Desert
per day from its Mojave plant beginning this summer, last week announced plans to build, in partnership with Spain-based Abengoa Solar, a 500-megawatt plant in Riverside, California. Like the Mojave project, the new solar array will utilize thousands of mirrors that reflect sunlight onto central towers to produce steam. While the company's first project, the so-called Ivanpah plant, will use three towers to generate 130 megawatts each, the new $2.6 billion project involves construction of two 750-foot towers capable of producing 250 megawatts each, which combined would provide enough electricity to power 200,000 households and prevent 17 million tons of carbon emissions during the life of the plant, BrightSource says. While high costs and regulatory hurdles remain a challenge for the emerging technology sector (BrightSource shelved another plant earlier this year), California utilities are still eying the technology since state regulations will require that they deliver one-third of their power from renewable sources by 2030, MIT’s Technology Review reports.


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