Following a previous agreement made between the BrightSource solar energy company and California’s PG&E utility company, a recent article in Israel’s financial newspaper, Globes (9.10.2009) noted that the American-Israeli solar energy giant is now partnering with the American Bectel construction contracting company to build a 440 megawatt solar energy power plant in southeastern California.
Involving the Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System, the project will consists of three separate solar energy plants that will sell the generated electricity to both Pacific Gas and Electric and California Edison.
The technology incorporated into the BrightSource energy systems has its origins with a company called Luz International, founded by Arnold Goldman. The Luz company, which later became known as Luz II, became a BrightSource subsidiary, Brightsource Industries Israel Ltd (BSII) in 2006. In its 30 year history, the Luz solar plants founded by Goldman have generated more than 11,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity.
BrightSource, which already has entered into contracts with both utility companies to provide up to 2.6 gigawatts of electricity, has one of the most powerful solar energy systems developed to date; consisting of its patented Luz Power Tower 550 technology which utilizes a large number of specially designed mirrors placed in a circular fashion around a central tower that contains a boiler which creates the steam needed to power a turbine for generating electricity.
Brightsource’s pilot solar energy plant , utilizing the LPT 550 solar system, is employed at the Solar Energy Development Center in Israel’s southern Negev region . Now in operation for over a year, the SEDC is producing the world’s highest temperature turbine quality steam power from solar energy.
As noted in the previous article, the first Ivanpah solar energy plant is due to begin operation in 2012. But with the giant Bectel engineering and materials handling company now in the picture, the actual operating date for the solar plant might be a lot sooner.
How the completed project will look like is shown in the illustration via the State of California, Energy Commission.