Brightsource Energy Inc. on Thursday cleared its final permitting hurdle for its proposed solar power plant. It expects to begin construction in the California desert in the next few weeks.
The federal Bureau of Land Management approved the Oakland company's Ivanpah Electric Generating System project, set for remote San Bernardino County near the Nevada border.
With a $1.37-billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, the project could be one of the first local commercial solar plants to break ground in years. The 370-megawatt installation will involve 173,500 mirrors that focus solar energy on central "power towers" to create steam inside, driving electricity-producing turbines.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison have already signed up to split the power, enough to light up nearly 278,000 homes, the Bureau of Land Management said.