Mirrors Power Up the Mojave

Mirrors Power Up the Mojave

Last week the Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in California went operational last week.  Ivanpah is a marvel.  Located in the Mojave Desert, the Brightsouce Energy is running the show with the NRG Energy (NRG:  NYSE).  Google (GOOG:  Nasdaq) is a ‘relatively’ silent third owner that sent a ‘relatively’ impressive check for $168 million.  It is has taken big players like NRG and Google to get Ivanpah up and running.  The project has run up a tab close to $2.2 billion.

Brightsource has backing from France’s Alstom S.A. and a gaggle of big name capital partners.  Interestingly, oil and gas players also have their hand in solar thermal project through their venture arms Chevron Technology Partners and BP Ventures.  Brightsource and its two partners have amped up their own investment in the Ivanpah project with a $1.6 billion loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The verdict is still out on the economic viability of Ivanpah.  Much has changed over the five years the project has been in development and construction.  Power produced from cheap