Google is Building the World’s Largest Solar Tower Power Plant

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Google is investing $168 million to help develop a solar energy power plant in California’s Mojave Desert.

In cooperation with Brightsource energy, Google’s official blog states that the new plant will hopefully generate 392 gross megawatts of solar power, or “the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the lifetime of the plant,” which is estimated to be 25 years.

Dubbed the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the new solar tower will be the largest in the world. Standing approximately 450 feet tall, the new tower will use 173,000 heliostats (like the mirrors pictured above) to generate energy.

There are complexities to the project, however. The Atlantic points out that environmental conservation group Basin and Range Watch has been building a case against the solar farm, stating that the proposed site will damage the lushly populated surrounding ecosystem, which is inhabited by an endangered breed of tortoise.

More on TIME.com:

Bing Gains Ground on Google

A Solar Powered iPhone? Maybe

Watch the Sun Partially Disappear

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