WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) — The United States has approved the first large-scale solar energy project on public lands that will use “power tower” technology, government officials said.
The proposed project, to be located in San Bernardino, Calif., could produce up to 370 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power 111,000 to 277,500 American homes when it is completed in 2013, a U.S. Department of the Interior release said Thursday.
“Power tower” technology uses fields of mirrors to focus solar energy on tower receivers near the center of each array. Steam from solar boilers in the towers drive a turbine that generates electricity for the transmission grid.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System after an extensive review that significantly altered the proposal in response to public comments in order to minimize environmental impacts.
“I am pleased with the changes we have made to improve this project,” Salazar said. “It is important that we learn from our experience to ensure that environmentally-responsible clean energy is developed wisely and in the right places.”
“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.
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