solar thermal electric

Alstom enters solar thermal electric market through BrightSource Energy

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Alstom has announced it is investing up to $55 million in solar thermal electricity company, BrightSource Energy Inc., with an equity stake that positions Alstom as one of the main shareholders in the company.

Alstom, a global leader in equipment and services for power generation, aims to boost its strong portfolio in renewables through a partnership with BrightSource Energy Inc to enter the high-growth solar thermal electric market. This operation takes place as part of a capital increase of $150 million organised by BrightSource. This privately-owned company is a specialist in designing, building and operating tower based solar thermal electric power plants with operations in the USA, Israel and Australia.

“With this agreement, Alstom and BrightSource intend to enter into a fruitful industrial relationship which will enhance BrightSource's leading position in the solar energy market. Alstom’s Plant Integrator capabilities, proven engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) skills and global customer base will help BrightSource make solar energy cost competitive with fossil fuels by developing, building, owning and operating the most cost-effective and reliable large-scale solar energy projects,” said Alstom Power President,Philippe Joubert.

BrightSource’s technology employs thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a central receiver atop a tower to produce high temperature steam at the highest levels of solar efficiency. The steam is then piped to a steam turbine and generator which produce electricity. Because BrightSource’s tower technology can operate at the highest steam temperature ranges, the system benefits from the highest efficiency, performance and therefore lowest cost-per-MW among solar technologies.

“This partnership with BrightSource is a new step in Alstom’s clean power strategy. BrightSource’s pioneering solar tower thermal power technology complements Alstom’s renewable energy solutions, building on our strength in hydro, geothermal, wind, tidal power, biomass and waste-to-energy solutions,” Joubert added, while John M. Woolard, CEO and President of BrightSource, said: “Alstom’s investment in BrightSource illustrates the important role of our Luz Power Tower technology in meeting global demand for highly efficient, reliable and carbon-free energy resources. Alstom is a world leader in power generation. Their commercial and industrial capabilities and our shared commitment to innovation and environmental leadership make this a natural fit. We welcome Alstom and we look forward to building on this relationship as we continue to grow the US solar market and expand internationally.”

BrightSource has contracts for a total of 2,600 megawatts with PG&E and Southern California Edison – California’s two largest utilities. To meet this demand, the company intends to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016. BrightSource’s first US power project, the 392-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System, is currently under development in San Bernardino County, California. On completion, the project will generate enough electricity to power more than 140,000 homes, and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 400,000 tons per year. The Ivanpah project has received conditional commitment for more than $1.3 billion in loan guarantees from the US Department of Energy (DOE). The first plant is scheduled to come online in the second half of 2012.

For additional information:

Alstom Power

BrightSource Energy

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