Ken Salazar, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior has just approved the construction of a solar power tower plant to be located in the Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will consist of mirrors (heliostats) that will focus sunlight onto a central tower. The concentrated sunlight will turn water into steam in order to spin the electricity producing turbines. When completed in 2013, the Ivanpah Mojave plant, which will be built by BrightSource, will generate up to 370 megawatts of electricity.
Mr. Salazar was quoted as saying, “Ivanpah is one of several renewable energy projects in the pipeline that will help California and this nation build a clean-energy economy. With this project, we are making great strides toward meeting the president’s goals for creating new jobs for American workers, reducing carbon emissions, promoting energy independence and strengthening our national security.”
There’s been several other announcements by Salazar this week. Earlier, he approved two other solar projects that will also be built on public lands in California. Taken together, all three projects will produce up to 1.1 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power up to 800,000 homes.