BrightSource Energy's solar power tower technology picked for South Africa project

Oakland, Calif., February 2, 2012 — Sasol has selected BrightSource Energy's power tower solar thermal technology following a worldwide review of solar technologies.

Under the agreement, BrightSource and its partner Alstom will conduct a comprehensive front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the South Africa market.

The FEED study is a critical step in the design and deployment of a solar thermal power plant. Sasol will use the information from the study to determine how best to deploy BrightSource's technology in the markets it serves.

To meet its growing clean power demand, South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program, run by the country's Department of Energy, is targeting the addition of an initial 3,725 MW of renewable energy by 2016.

Total energy supplies in South Africa are projected to more than double over the next 20 years to more than 85 GW, including the planned development of 18 GW of new renewable energy, according to the integrated resource plan recently adopted by the government.

BrightSource's power tower solar thermal technology generates power the same way as traditional power plants — by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels or nuclear power to create the steam, BrightSource uses the sun's energy.

BrightSource's system uses a field of software-controlled mirrors, called heliostats, to reflect the sun's energy to a boiler atop a tower to produce the high temperature and high-pressure steam. The steam can then be integrated with conventional power plant components to produce predictable, reliable and cost-competitive clean energy. Alstom's expertise in steam turbine technology and integrated plant solutions, together with BrightSource's solar technology offer highly efficient solar thermal power plants.

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