Construction on the world’s largest solar electric generating system has reached the half way point and has reached its peak construction workforce. More than 2,100 workers are currently building the $2.3 billion Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (Ivanpah SEGS) which is on track to be completed in 2013.
The 370 (net) megawat solar power facility is being built on approximately 3,500 acres of federal land in California’s Mojave Desert. According to Tom Doyle, CEO of NRG Solar:
“Large-scale concentrated solar power projects like Ivanpah create thousands of construction jobs and provide clean, renewable power to help meet state renewable energy goals. We believe that encouraging public and private investment in our domestic clean energy industry through successful projects like Ivanpah ultimately will pay dividends by helping to secure our country’s economic future.”
The Ivanpah SEGS is being viewed as a model of how investment in clean energy can help stimulate the economy. According to John Woolard, President & CEO, BrightSource Energy:
“Ivanpah is an iconic infrastructure project that will set the course for the future of renewable energy in the US and around the world. We are tremendously proud of the significant accomplishments being made towards Ivanpah’s completion, and look forward to powering California’s homes and businesses with clean and reliable electricity in the coming year.”
Work on Ivanpah SEGS is being done under a Project Labor Agreement. Apprenticeship programs through the unions will help train a new generation of workers in construction of clean energy while thousands workers are employed currently.
The $2.2 billion project is an investment into America’s future with substantial indirect economic benefits locally and across the nation. To date, the project’s engineering and construction contractor Bechtel has retained over 2,000 construction workers to build the plant, in addition to the more than 100 engineering and support staff on site. Bechtel signed a project labor agreement with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) and the Building & Construction Trades Council of San Bernardino and Riverside counties to ensure that California’s local workforce benefits from the project. The project requires the work of skilled craft workers and engineers from a wide variety of trades and disciplines, including pipefitters, millwrights, carpenters, electricians, laborers and civil engineers.
The project will provide $400 million in local and state tax revenues, and produce $650 million in wages, over its first 30-year life. The majority of the project’s supply chain is being sourced domestically across 17 U.S. states, driving investments throughout the country and creating additional jobs in other areas that have been adversely affected by the economic downturn.
The Ivanpah project will reduce CO2 emissions by 400,000 tons annually, the equivalent of taking 70,000 cars off the road. The project is the largest in the world of its kind.