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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Project Goes On Line

NRG Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, is one of the leading makers of electric vehicle charging stations in DFW, which is among the top 10 EV-ready cities because of it’s charging infrastructure. Now, NRG subsidiary NRG Solar has brought the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System into full operation, delivering solar electricity to its customers in California.

At full capacity, the facility’s trio of 450-foot high towers produces a total of 392 megawatts (MW) of solar power, enough electricity to provide 140,000 homes with clean energy and avoid 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, equal to removing 72,000 vehicles off the road.

Although NRG will be the plant's operator, Ivanpah is a joint effort between NRG, Google and BrightSource Energy. Bechtel is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor on the project. Ivanpah received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office.

Ivanpah, which now accounts for nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy generated in the U.S., is the largest solar project of its kind in the world. The project is the first to use BrightSource's innovative solar power tower technology to produce electricity, which includes 173,500 heliostats that follow the sun's trajectory, solar field integration software and a solar receiver steam generator.

The impact on the local economy is significant, as well. Since October 2010, the project has created thousands of jobs and at the peak of construction, employed nearly 3,000 site workers that completed more than 8.35 million man-hours. In the operational phase, approximately $650 million in salaries is expected to be paid over the next 30 years.

"Cleantech innovations such as Ivanpah are critical to establishing America's leadership in large-scale, clean-energy technology that will keep our economy globally competitive over the next several decades," says Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar. "We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy.”

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