BrightSource Energy Inc., a developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, has submitted an alternative design for the Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System project.
This mitigation proposal, which was filed with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), would significantly minimize the project's potential environmental impacts, according to the company. The plan would reduce the project's total gross capacity from 440 MW to 392 MW.
The mitigation proposal for the Ivanpah project is a direct response to the comments and suggestions made during the Ivanpah permitting process's public comment period. If accepted by the CEC and BLM, the alternative design would reduce the footprint of the third Ivanpah plant by 23%, avoiding the area identified by environmental groups during the public comment period as posing the greatest concern.
In addition, the revisions would reduce the footprint of the overall Ivanpah project by about 12%, reduce expected desert tortoise relocations by approximately 15% (based on previous protocol surveys of the project site; the actual number will depend on where tortoises are at the time they are relocated), and avoid the area identified as having the highest rare plant density.
The revised plan would also reduce the number of towers at the third Ivanpah plant from five to one, reduce the overall number of towers at the Ivanpah project from seven to three, reduce the potential maximum number of heliostats by about 40,000 and avoid the area that would have required the most grading and large rock removal in the solar fields, BrightSource adds.
The Ivanpah project is scheduled to begin construction in the second half of this year. Located in southeastern California, the facility will consist of three separate solar thermal power plants.
SOURCE: BrightSource Energy Inc.