Another step forward for solar up-start Ausra

It's gratifying when companies actually follow up on statements of purpose. I'm pleased to report that such is the case with Australian solar power darling Ausra and U.

It's gratifying when companies actually follow up on statements of purpose. I'm pleased to report that such is the case with Australian solar power darling Ausra and U.S. utility company Pacific Gas & Electric, which separately committed to solar development projects back during the flurry of green PR associated with that Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York.

The two companies revealed earlier this month that they're collaborating on a plant to be located in San Luis Obispo County in California that will generate 177-megawatts of solar thermal power capacity. The facility, slated to go online in 2010, will use Ausra's Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology (quite a mouthful) to create steam that will power a series of turbine generators. The site will cover 640 acres of land.

Before the construction can begin, the plan must be certified by the California Energy Commission.

Both Ausra and PG&E committed to build and purchase 1,000 megawatts of solar thermal power back in September. So far, PG&E has contracts under consideration that would produce the equivalent of 553 megawatts of solar thermal power.

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