Ground is to be broken for a massive solar thermal plant in California’s Mojave Desert this week. It is called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. The Estimated cost is two billion and the first to be built on Federal Land (Bureau of Land Management). It has passed a number of environmental hurdles, but it does impose on the desert tortoise habitat. The company operating the system BrightSource Energy indicated via press reports that they will assist in the relocation of the tortoise.
This project is truly massive as it encompasses about 3,600 acres (about 1,458 hectares) and it will involve 346,000 mirrors, each about the size of a billboard. The mirrors project the suns rays toward a 460 foot tower. The heat turns the fluid in the tower into steam which generates electricity. Construction begins next week and it is expected to be completed by 2013 according to the Los Angeles Times. It should produce 370 megawatts which can supply 140,000 homes with the energy being furnished to Southern California Edison and PG&E. There is actually a rush to begin this project and several other solar projects by the end of 2010 as a federal financing program will cover up to 30 percent of the construction cost, but it must begin by the end of the year news reports indicated. According to BrightSource Energy’s website there will be additional new financing from NRG Energy of $300 million which secures NRG as the largest ownership stake in the project. Both companies with Bechtel Corp will work together on construction, equity, ownership and operation.
Ivanpah is approximately fifty miles northwest of Needles, Ca and five miles west of the Nevada border in San Bernardino County. It is just off Hwy 15 and 164. There will be approximately one thousand construction workers on the project, which will be set to begin this winter season, as summer temperatures in Ivanpah can be 110 degrees on average.
There isn’t a town in the area as this location is just open desert land with the only current signs of civilization being a rail road and highway. The opportunity in the immediate future maybe to build a general store to supply the new workers as there isn’t any real development in this area now.
Today Southern California’s Mojave Desert has two of the world’s largest Green Energy projects with the Mega Wind project (Alta Wind Energy Center) in Tehachapi and now Ivanpah. Both of these locations were vacant unused and undeveloped land parcels, so the opportunities for land investors are in this Antelope Valley region. Profitable land investment opportunities are growing in this area and we will continue to inform you here as projections progress.