Desert power

A new, 400–megawatt solar power plant may be built in the Mojave Desert near the Nevada border. Bright Source Energy, Inc. has filed a construction permit with the California Energy Commission for the project, which would cover up to 3,500 acres of land that’s currently managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Bright Source has applied for a right-of-way grant to that land. That adds to the other right-of-way requests received by the BLM on more than 300,000 acres of California for 34 big solar plants that total 24,000 megawatts, or about half of the state’s energy consumption on a hot day. The plant intends to use solar thermal technology to generate electricity at two 100-megawatt plants and one 200-megawatt plant. Bright Source expects to build the first plant in 2010.