California's PG&E Looks to Invest up to $1.5 Billion in BrightSource and Alt Energy Plants

A Bright Source solar energy plantPG&E says it will more than a billion in alternative energy projects.

California’s mega utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is keen on using solar and wind energy to provide electric power for America’s most populous state.

Despite a number of objections by both environmentalists (who say wind farms are dangerous to birds and are aesthetically ugly; there isn’t enough water available for use in the solar energy plant turbines), California’s largest utility company is planning on investing up to $1.5 billion on developing solar and wind energy farms – and some of that money will be going to Middle East companies.

In a recent interview with PE&E’s Senior Vice President for energy procurement Wong Fan says his company is evaluating a number of proposals for building and developing these projects in California; which include those already agreed upon with companies like BrightSource Solar Energy, already mentioned in our article BrightSource Solar Energy teams up with Bectel to build a large California Solar Energy Facility.

PG&E appears serious in expanding on original agreements with the Israel-based solar energy company to build these plants that will make us less dependent on oil and other fossil fuels.

Of course, with California State on the verge of  bankruptcy and with PG&E itself in a world of financial hurt (almost bankrupt itself), investing in large scale renewable energy projects may be a questionable move in many people’s eyes.

But California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger who himself was in Israel recently to sign a renewable energy cooperation deal with Israel’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, is serious in going forward with these types of projects, despite the state’s precarious financial position.

PG&E’s interest in BrightSource and its innovative solar mirrors and energy turbine tower, has increased since utility company representatives witnessed a demonstration at BrightSource’s pilot test plant in Israel’s Negev desert region.

Even though the solar turbine requires higher temperatures (550 degrees Celsius instead of 350 degrees in other solar energy turbines) the innovative design of BrightSources solar technology will provide enough power to provide clean electricity to more than 530,000 homes, according to a Reuters May 14 article.

PG&E’s relationship with BrightSource has been an up and down situation, with some projects, like one in which a 5,130 acre solar farm, planned to be built in a remote part of the Mojave Desert was shelved due to objections by environmental groups.

But despite these problems, the need for solar power in California and elsewhere in the USA is now advocated by the Obama Administration, which is planning to lend large sums of money for projects involved in solar and other forms of renewable energy, and it now appears that Bright Source and other solar energy companies will be very much involved in supplying clean forms of energy to California’s mega utility.

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