We’ve been following progress on the massive Ivanpah solar thermal project since the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced in February of 2010 that it would provide BrightSource Energy  more than $1.37 billion in loan guarantees under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Since then the project has fallen under the spotlight due to controversy and lawsuits, some over the Bureau of Land Management’s alleged failure to comply with federal environmental laws. Today’s announcement from BrightSource Energy would seem to confirm that the project will push on, full steam ahead. According to BrightSource’s statement it finalized $1.6 billion in guaranteed loans from the DOE and secured a $168 million investment from Google. The DOE issued a similar statement around the finalized loan as well.

Google joins NRG Energy and its previous $300 million investment in the Ivanpah solar thermal project, which is said will double the amount of solar thermal electricity that is currently produced in the U.S. once it is completed in 2013.

Brightsource thermal array
image via California Air Resources Board

The Ivanpah facility will be located on about 3,500 acres of U.S. BLM managed land in the Mojave desert of southeastern California. Construction on the plant is being handled by Bechtel and involves three individual solar thermal power plants that  BrightSource says will deliver a combined output of about 392 megawatts. The electricity generated at Ivanpah is being sold under separate contracts to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), which gets about 2/3 of the power, and  Southern California Edison (SCE), which will take the other 1/3.

Over the course of its construction, the Ivanpah project is expected to produce about 1,000 jobs at peak construction, and roughly 4 million total job hours. Over its first 30 years of operation, an estimated $400 million in local and state tax revenue will get generated and roughly $650 million in wages will be paid out.

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