CPUC approves PPAs between PG&E, BrightSource for electricity from solar thermal plants

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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved two 25-year power purchase agreements between Pacific Gas and Electric and BrightSource Energy for electricity generated at a pair of concentrating solar-thermal power stations scheduled to be built in the deserts of Southern California.

The initial project, a 110MW power plant in Ivanpah Solar Power Complex, will be located on six square miles of land about 50 miles northwest of Needles in the Mojave Desert and is slated to begin operations by July 2012. A second, 200MW installation is scheduled to start operating a year later at the site.

BrightSource Energy’s Luz Power Tower (LPT) energy system uses thousands of mirrors or heliostats that track the sun and reflect the light to a boiler raised on a tower, creating superheated steam, which is piped to a traditional steam turbine-generator set.

The CST company has a 6MW LPT system already operating at its Solar Energy Development Center in the Negev Desert in Israel.

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