Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Solar Energy

BrightSource Energy is First to Qualify for 30% Recovery Act Federal Funding

This week BrightSource Energy was the first of the California utility-scale solar projects to make it over the finish line by the deadline of December 31st, 2010. Their 392 MW solar thermal project at Ivanpah has broken ground on time.

Now it qualifies for renewable energy funding under the Recovery Act – the stimulus bill that California’s Senator Boxer was instrumental in getting written into the legislation.

“At Ivanpah, we’re demonstrating that the U.S. can lead in the clean energy race by building the largest solar plant in the world.” said John Woolard, President and CEO of BrightSource Energy at the ground breaking ceremony.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, another booster for renewable energy, opined that “Projects like this one are helping us meet our long-term energy and environmental goals, while creating jobs and moving us toward a cleaner, more sustainable future – a future where California leads the nation and the world in a clean energy revolution.”

Of the 16 gigawatts of new renewable power being put on the grid with support from the Recovery Act, 11 gigawatts is in the West, and most of that is solar on California’s deserts. If all 16 gigawatts make it in time, by the end of December, thus qualifying for the 30% subsidy, it will double the US renewable energy supply, getting more renewable energy on the US grid than in the last thirty years combined.

That sounds sensible.  But there’s a catch, as there always is in any clean energy legislation that has to get through our plutocratic Senate.

The 30% cash grant funding under the Recovery Act for this sea change in US energy is like Cinderella’s coach, that is held together as if by magic, and turns back into a humble pumpkin at the stroke of midnight.

To get funded, projects have to break ground by midnight on December 31st, 2010. Since it easily takes 18 months for solar projects to get through environmental reviews, the proviso is a killer.

So, despite truly heroic efforts from each of the bureaucracies that permit energy –  the CPUC, CEC and BLM – that have had to race to get these approved since the Recovery Act passed in March last year – their approvals are not enough. Even the contracts with the utilities (PG&E, SDG&E and SCE) are not enough. Actually sticking a shovel in the dirt by the end of 2010 is what counts.

It is fitting that BrightSource Energy be the one that makes it through. BrightSource is the heir to Luz, California’s first solar thermal energy company, that was bankrupted by 1992 by low fossil energy prices and poor legislative support for clean energy at both the Federal and state level back then.

Luz built California’s pioneering solar thermal project, back in the ’80s. It is still going strong thirty years later, having pumped out 14,000 gigawatt-hours of clean solar energy – so far – from the California desert.

This year, the Federal government provided a $1.37 billion loan guarantee to its successor, BrightSource Energy.

Image: Senator Boxer of California meets with BrightSource
Susan Kraemer@Twitter

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

All 50 states will deploy federal NEVI program funds to build out the EV charging network and kill gasmobiles, anti-woke or not.

Green Economy

Woke or not, Kentucky is behind a new green steel factory that supports President Joe Biden's goal for offshore wind development in the US.

Clean Power

NREL Researchers Provide Growth Approach That Boosts Efficiency, Stability A new approach to manufacturing perovskite solar cells has addressed previous problems and yielded devices...


If you are a MOKE enthusiast in the United States, you now have a chance to purchase the electric Californian edition of the iconic...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.