Business

Huge US thermal plant opens as industry grows

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System sprawls across roughly 5 square miles of federal land in the Mojave Desert and generates enough power for 140,000 homes.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System sprawls across roughly 5 square miles of federal land in the Mojave Desert and generates enough power for 140,000 homes. Chris Carlson/Associated Press

This is a summary. To read the whole story subscribe to BostonGlobe.com

PRIMM, Nevada — A windy stretch of the Mojave Desert once roamed by tortoises and coyotes has been transformed by hundreds of thousands of mirrors into the largest solar power plant of its type in the world, a milestone for a growing industry that is testing the balance between wilderness conservation and the pursuit of green energy across the American West.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opened Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.

‘‘The Ivanpah project is a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy,’’ Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement after attending a dedication ceremony at the site.

Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.

Get the full story with unlimited access to BostonGlobe.com.

Just 99 cents for four weeks.

Share