BrightSource Energy update: flagship Ivanpah project is 75 percent complete

Oakland’s BrightSource Energy has an update about Ivanpah, the massive solar thermal plant currently under construction in California’s Mojave Desert. This is the project that has had a lot of mitigation issues because of its of impact on  desert tortoise habitat. (Shout out to Chris Clarke for the update).

Roughly 2,100 construction workers are now on site, and the project, which is being overseen by engineering giant Bechtel, is more than 75 percent complete. 100,000 heliostats have been installed, leaving 73,500 more to go.

When completed in 2013, BrightSource claims that Ivanpah will be the largest solar thermal power plant in the world, generating enough electricity for about 140,000 homes. The electricity will be sold to PG&E and Southern California Edison.

In April, BrightSource shelved its plans for an initial public offering amid a turbulent stock market, a challenging year for solar energy companies and tepid interest from investors. Many analysts said BrightSource had two options: raise more money or hope they got acquired.

In October, the company announced it had raised an additional $80 million in a financing round led by existing investors Alstom and VantagePoint Capital Partners.

The company has proposed two other projects currently being reviewed by the California Energy Commission: Rio Mesa and Hidden Hills.


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