Solar power moves ahead in California
Sacramento (UPI) Aug 27, 2010
The California Energy Commission gave the go-ahead for a 250-megawatt solar-thermal project, in what could be a string of more approvals of large-scale solar projects in the state before the end of the year.
The Beacon Solar Energy project, to be built on the western edge of the Mojave Desert, will rely on long rows of curved mirrors that will collect energy from the sun and heat tubes filled with fluid to help run a steam turbine generator.
The licensing comes after a two-and-a-half-year environmental review.
Because the 2,012-acre site for Beacon Solar sits on land previously used for farming, it appealed for the most part to environmentalists who frown upon solar projects that ruin pristine habitats.
Developer NextEra Energy Resources further appeased environmentalists with its decision to use recycled municipal water rather than groundwater for the roughly 456 million gallons needed annually for the plant's wet-cooling process.
"We think this is an example of a good project," said Jim Lyons, senior director for renewable energy with the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "It'll provide renewable energy with minimal environmental impacts."
The race for solar projects in California comes as the state's three investor-owned utilities face a deadline to obtain 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2010, also when federal incentives for such renewable projects are set to expire.
While Beacon Solar would be situated on private land and so does not require U.S. Bureau of Land Management approval, this month the BLM has already issued a final environmental impact statement -- considered the last federal regulatory hurdle -- for five commercial-scale solar power projects in the Southern California desert. Together the projects, once built, would cover 26,000 acres and produce enough electricity to power about 2.4 million homes.
The Blythe Solar Power Project in southeast California -- expected to produce 1,000 megawatts -- is just one of several projects in the state that BLM has tagged on its "fast-track" permitting schedule in an effort to meet the year-end deadline for federal incentives.
"I think Blythe and the others will help the U.S. reclaim our position as the world's leader in installed industrial-scale solar," Rhone Resch, president and chief executive officer of the Solar Energy Industries Association, told the New York Times. "It makes a very clear statement that the U.S. will be the center of all solar development going forward."
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Usurbil, Spain (SPX) Aug 27, 2010
The Construction Unit at Tecnalia (in conjunction with the University of Cantabria) has taken part in the Sunglass project, the aim of which is to develop a new building product. This involves a glass that augments the efficiency of photovoltaic solar systems, in such a manner that it boosts having more renewable energy in the construction sector. The term "photovoltaic" literally means "l ... read more
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