Alstom enters solar market by investing in BrightSource Energy

Paris, May 20, 2010 — Alstom will complement its portfolio in renewables through a partnership with BrightSource Energy to enter the solar energy market.

Alstom is investing up to $55 million in BrightSource Energy, with an equity stake that positions Alstom as one of the main shareholders in the company.

This operation takes place as part of a capital increase of $150 million organized by BrightSource. This privately owned company is a specialist in designing, building and operating tower based solar thermal power plants with operations in the U.S., Israel and Australia.

Philippe Joubert, Alstom Power President, said: “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.”

“This partnership with BrightSource is a new step in Alstom’s clean power strategy,” Joubert added. “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.”

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 produces 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.

BrightSource has contracts for a total of 2,600 MW with PG&E and Southern California Edison. To meet this demand, the company intends to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016.

BrightSource’s first U.S. power project, the 392 MW 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 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 Department of Energy. The first plant is scheduled to come online in the second half of 2012.

 

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