US approves world's biggest solar energy project

US approves world’s biggest solar energy project

October 25, 2010 –> Solar panels generate electricity in Chicago


Solar panels generate electricity in Chicago, Illinois. The United States approved on Monday a permit for the largest solar energy project in the world — four massive plants at the cost of one billion dollars each in southern California.

The United States approved on Monday a permit for the largest solar energy project in the world — four massive plants at the cost of one billion dollars each in southern California.

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“The Blythe solar power plant will consist of four, 250-Megawatt plants, built on public lands in the sun-drenched Mojave desert,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

“When completed the project is expected to generate up to 1,000 of energy… That’s enough electricity to power up to 750,000 average American homes and to make Blythe the largest facility in the world.”

The total capacity will be roughly equal to the turbine output of a or a large modern coal-fired power plant, according to Solar Millennium, the company developing the facility.

Solar Millennium plans to begin construction on Blythe this year, the company says on its website. At the height of construction, the project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs.

The Blythe facility is one of a raft of renewable energy projects that have been approved in recent weeks by the Interior Department.

Earlier this month, Salazar approved the first five renewable energy projects on public lands, four in California and one in Nevada, both states that have been hard hit by the .

Two weeks ago, Salazar inaugurated the world’s largest wind tower manufacturing plant in the working class town of Pueblo, Colorado, which will be run by Danish company Vestas Wind Systems.

One week earlier he signed a lease for the first major , off the coast of New Jersey.

(c) 2010 AFP

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Rate this story – 5 /5 (3 votes)

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  • WhiteJim – 38 minutes ago
    • Rank: not rated yet
    When the banks pay back the 600 Billion it can be spent on 600 plants at one billion dollars each… end of energy problem for most of North America. The money is obviously available since it is used for financial problems easily enough.
  • Eikka – 30 minutes ago
    • Rank: not rated yet
    I don’t see how you can equate the waxing and waning of solar power to the power output of a nuclear powerplant, unless you take the word “roughly” quite literally.

    In any case, all the best for the project. Wake me up when they’ve figured out how to smooth the output without using “virtual batteries” (aka. coal power running somewhere else)

    The reason being that all the solar energy in the world can’t break the dependence on fossil fuels unless you figure out a way to put sunlight in a bag and release it when needed.

  • Bob_Wallace – 16 minutes ago
    • Rank: 5 / 5 (1)
    Eikka – the current need for power is during peak hours, not at night. It would be extremely expensive to build a nuclear plant and use its power only half the day. Solar works great for peak hour supply.

    Output is smoothed via inverters on panels. It doesn’t matter if one or a few panels are temporarily shaded.

    Finally, we know how to store energy. We’ve been using pump-up storage for a hundred years. We built quite a bit back when we were building nuclear in order to time shift nuclear plant output. We’re building more.

    (Not that we need storage for solar at this time. The grid can adjust for varying inputs/outputs as it already does.)

  • El_Nose – 3 minutes ago
    • Rank: not rated yet
    easiest way to smooth out the output is … and the type of solar plant is not mentioned — but to built a solar concentrator. These plants tend to be the most expensive type of solar plant to built. They basically fous the sun’s rays on a column of salt and make that baby boil. The boiling salt puts pressure into the system and drives turbines and keeps energy production going well into the night…. It’s not perfect but it smoothes out that curve for you.

    Or heating a salt mine in the ground and using that pressure when night comes to provide extra long lasting power throughout the night.

    The only question is how economic these technologies are.. and how low the cost can go with more and more development.

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