The $2 billion solar plant is the first of its kind to be built on public land and will produce 370 megawatts of clean, renewable energy and create more than 1,000 jobs.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger marked the groundbreaking of BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in Ivanpah, California.

Once completed the plant will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the US, according to BrightSource.

The site will cover about 3,600 acres in San Bernardino County and will produce enough clean energy to power 140,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tons annually, the equivalent of taking more than 70,000 cars off the road.

“Today we are breaking ground on the largest solar project in the world, right here in California,” said Mr Schwarzenegger.

“The construction of this renewable energy plant is great news for our state, and further proof that it is possible to both protect the environment and grow the economy.

“Projects like this one are helping us meet our long-term energy and environmental goals, while creating jobs and moving us toward a cleaner, more sustainable future – a future where California leads the nation and the world in a clean energy revolution.”

BrightSource has contracted with Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison to sell the power generated from this project, which is the first of this scale to break ground in 20 years.

Luke Walsh

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