DOI approves solar project on U.S public lands

The project is said to be able to power between 111,000 and 277,500 American homes according to DOI. The project is also expected to generate 1,100 jobs.

The approval came as part of the landmark announcements from DOI in an effort to encourage rapid and responsible move to large scale production of renewable energy on public lands. On October 5th, secretary of DOI, Ken Salazar gave the nod for the first two energy projects ever built on public lands in America. Together with Ivanpah, located in the Mojave Desert near the Nevada border, the solar projects will generate 1,124 MW of energy, enough to power 337,000 to 843,000 homes.This decision paves the way for BrightSource to use the lands for 30 years if all conditions are met.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, renewable energy developers whose projects begin construction by the end of 2010 can apply for payments of up to 30 percent of the eligible costs of the project. Also under the Recovery Act, BrightSource has been awarded $1.37 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy for this project.

“Ivanpah is one of several renewable energy projects in the pipeline that will help California and this nation build a clean energy economy,” Salazar said in signing the Record of Decision. “With this project, we are making great strides toward meeting the President’s goals for creating new jobs for American workers, reducing carbon emissions, promoting energy independence and strengthening our national security."

President Obama also addressed BrightSource’s plans to develop Ivanpah in his weekly radio address. He said, "With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy."