Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Facility Stormwater Runoff and Sediment Transport Analysis
BrightSource Energy, Inc., California

West Yost prepared a 2-dimensional storm drainage model for a proposed 400 MW solar power project covering 4,000 acres in the Ivanpah Valley in the Mojave Desert in California. The project is situated on an alluvial fan located at the base of the Clark Mountain Range. Flood flows from the mountains are initially confined in incised channels, but once arriving on the alluvial fan, the flood flows are less confined and can take random paths across the fan.

To analyze this complex problem, West Yost prepared a 2-dimensional flood model using the Flo-2D model package. With this model, we were able to show that construction of the mirror arrays would generate only a minimal change in the surface flooding flows over the alluvial fan. By eliminating construction of major flood control channels and detention basins that had been previously proposed by others, the environmental impacts of the project were greatly reduced and the overall project cost was reduced by $36 million. West Yost also modeled sediment transport through the project area with the Flo-2D software. West Yost staff participated in technical meetings with Federal Government (BLM) staff by presenting the 2-dimensional modeling results. Use of the model graphics enabled the BLM staff to “visualize” the potential for project related impacts and has helped move the project through the Federal permitting process.