CEO of CA-Based Solar Company Brightsource Steps Down | KCET
CEO of CA-Based Solar Company Brightsource Steps Down
Woolard has helmed BrightSource for the last seven years. Before that, he worked with the Silicon Valley greentech investment group VantagePoint Venture Partners, which owns a significant amount of BrightSource.
Woolard will stay on BrightSource's Board of Directors, he told Mercury News reporter Dana Hull. "Seven years is a fairly long time," Woolard told Hull. "I've thought a lot about this. To me, getting Ivanpah done and up and running, and building the whole company up and creating a platform to grow from was cycle one. When I looked at the next cycle, there's a big commitment and a lot to do, and I've got little kids."
The announcement comes -- and the search for a replacement begins -- after a year of retrenchment and altered goals for BrightSource. The firm, which started construction of its concentrating solar power tower plant in the Ivanpah Valley in 2011 amid much fanfare, canceled a much-hyped Initial Public Offering in April 2012, citing unfriendly market conditions. Those conditions were essentially that plummeting prices for photovoltaic made it hard for solar thermal companies to compete: several actually went under as a result.
In January, BrightSource stopped work on a proposed 500-megawatt project at Rio Mesa south of Blythe, and did the same with Rio Mesa's twin up in Inyo County at Hidden Hills in April. Each project was plagued with criticism. Rio Mesa's potential impact on a world-class fossil deposit and the other massive impacts the plant would have had on its desert surroundings came under fire.
It was at Hidden Hills that the most potentially devastating criticisms were aired, regarding the effect BrightSource's proprietary technology would have on birds.
As Hidden Hills folded its tent in early April, rumors started circulating of shakeups in BrightSource's Oakland office, including departures in both media relations and legal departments. Some observers note the difference between BrightSource's approach to Ivanpah, which it's building, and the proposed Palen project, which the company would build in cooperation with industry giant Abengoa. In effect, BrightSource will be licensing its technology rather than building the plant itself.
The company is also building a solar plant in Israel in a partnership with the French firm Alstom. That plant will be about a third the size of Ivanpah.
Whether this apparent lowering of corporate expectations is the result of deep thinking among BrightSource's executives or an attempt to make do with less capital isn't obvious. In a post on BrightSource's blog, Woolard and BrightSource's Executive Chairman David Ramm spun it happily:
For ongoing environmental coverage in March 2017 and afterward, please visit our show Earth Focus, or browse Redefine for historic material.
KCET's award-winning environment news project Redefine ran from July 2012 through February 2017.
For the last 30 years, El Nopal Press has intentionally been a studio where artists can experiment with printmaking. Some of the most provocative artistic pieces and innovations have come from the studio’s collaborations with women.
What truly matters? Ali Behdad, professor of literature; Kristy Edmunds, artist and curator; and Michael Eselun, chaplain for the Simms-Mann/UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology discuss the important things in life.
‘Bombshell’ Exposes Media Mogul’s Toxic Sexual Harassment Culture at Fox News on Screen at the KCET Cinema Series
After the screening, KCET Cinema Series host Pete Hammond sat down with director Jay Roach.
The U.S. currently incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation in the world. Police forces and school systems are beginning to use diversion tactics to redirect young people away from criminal records.
- 1 of 225
- next ›