The bright lights seen above are hundreds of thousands of computer controlled mirrors focusing Mojave Desert sunlight onto boilers on top of three 459-foot towers. The focused solar energy heats up water to produce steam that powers turbines providing power to California homes.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles near the Nevada-California border, formally opened last week after years of regulatory and legal tangles.
The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts, enough power for 140,000 homes.
Ethan Miller / Getty Images
A solar receiver and boiler on top of a tower at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on Feb. 20, in the Mojave Desert in California near Primm, Nev.
First published February 21 2014, 5:58 AM
Jon Sweeney joined NBCNews.com as a senior multimedia producer in January 2012, but this is a return visit for him, having worked for msnbc.com from 2000-2006. Sweeney is responsible for site-wide photo editing and social media initiatives focused on photography. Currently he manages the NBC News Instagram account among his other individual responsibilities. Sweeney reports to Jim Collins, director of photography.
Sweeney returned to NBCNews.com from The Indianapolis Star, where he was the assistant managing editor for digital news. In that role, Sweeney was responsible for the editorial direction for the stateâ€™s largest newsroom on all its digital platforms. This included managing breaking news coverage, multimedia, special projects, design initiatives, and databases. During his tenure at the Star, he helped launch the paperâ€™s first iOS app, guided the newsroom through the social media revolution and produced several documentary films in cooperation with the local public broadcasting station.
Prior to his work at the Star, Sweeney was msnbc.comâ€™s East Coast director of multimedia, managing a department of designers, interactive producers, and photo and video editors in New Jersey and London.
He cut his teeth as a photojournalist and freelance photographer in Chicago where he ushered in the digital photography era at Pioneer Press Newspapers, and learned digital video editing by producing documentaries.
Sweeney is the recipient of several awards that honor his achievements as a digital newsroom leader and innovator from the Associate Press, Hoosier State Press Association, Best of Gannett.
He lives in Cranford, N.J. with his family.