Solar Energy

Published on May 28th, 2008 | by Carol Gulyas

10

Big Money Bets Solar Cheaper than Coal by 2020

May 28th, 2008 by  

photo_012241.jpegThe planets may be aligned to finally make solar competitive with coal, according to an article in Bloomberg.com by Greg Chang. Rising natural gas prices, the extension of tax credits for solar investment, and the near-certainty that carbon emissions caps will be imposed by the next U.S. administration, will make it happen. A concentrated solar thermal plant in California’s Mojave Desert, run by FPL, Inc., uses 550,000 mirrors to concentrate solar power.

“At noon on a typical workday, technicians in a two-story control room monitor a dozen screens showing the heat generated by each array of mirrors. As temperatures creep past 700 degrees, icons blink to red from green, indicating the center is ready to feed electricity to the California grid.”

The resulting steam turns turbines that generate electricity — enough to power 112,55 L.A.-area homes. Concentrated solar thermal’s potential has not escaped the attention of forward-thinking investors with big money:

“Chevron, Goldman Sachs, FPL, PG&E and other companies have filed more than 50 applications with the Bureau of Land Management to lease government-owned desert property for solar power systems. Google’s philantropic division put $10 million into eSolar, a start-up in Pasadena, California.” –Greg Chang, Bloomberg.com

 
 
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About the Author

Carol Gulyas is a leader in the renewable energy community in Illinois, where she serves as VP of the Board of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. Recently she co-founded EcoAchievers -- a provider of online education for the renewable energy and sustainable living community. She spent 18 years in the direct marketing industry in New York and Chicago, and is currently a teaching librarian at Columbia College Chicago. Carol grew up in a small town in central Indiana, then lived in the Pacific Northwest, Lima, Peru, and New York City. She is inspired by reducing energy consumption through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building technology.



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  • MyLyria

    Why does this have totake so long? Implimentation should be started NOW and fully functional in 2-3 years. Why drag your feet? This will open up thousands of jobs we desperately need!

  • MyLyria

    Why does this have totake so long? Implimentation should be started NOW and fully functional in 2-3 years. Why drag your feet? This will open up thousands of jobs we desperately need!

  • EnergyRevolution

    The oil price remains above 130 USD, People needing their car for work have a hard time and the Europeans and Northern Americans heating their homes with Gas and Oil could face the most expensive winter ever.

    Nevertheless, the Energy revolution has begun. The Solar Millennium has eventually been unleashed, let’s transform this world and its markets:

    Water for the deserts of Africa and America, Power for the People; Energy Revolution, Solar Millennium !

    Solar Millennium is also the Name of a Company, awarded with the ENERGY GLOBE AWARD in the category Fire[1] . This company currently builds the first real utility scale solar-thermal power plants in Spain.

    The German Magazine “Der Spiegel” wrote “How Europa gets rid of Coal and Gas”[2] and “That’s how Oil becomes redundant for the USA”[3]

    and refers to visions that can become reality in the next decade.

    And it can be achieved by building parabolic mirrors in sunny regions to produce steam to run a turbine and power generation.

    These solar thermal power plants are running so efficient today, that soon economies of scale will allow them to replace traditional energy production.

    Remaining process heat can be used to for sea-water desalination. Hence the ideal spots for such power plants – sunny and not too far from the sea – are usually in need for drinking water.

    Parabolic mirror power plants, as those built in Spain, accumulate energy in molten salt tanks and are able to produce power also during the night time. The turbines run 7,5 hours after sunset and cloudy periods are bridged.

    With a co-firing of 10%-20% and with reasonable financing continuous power production and cost effectiveness may be achieved today, especially at utility scale.

    They are hence “fuel multipliers”, whereas utility scale photo voltaic power and wind wind power are just “fuel savers” – “Sun gone, Wind away: No more Power”.

    To realize solar powered two digit percent fractions of energy production in Europe or the USA or to power entire cities, one can only build utility scale solar thermal power plants in the earth’s sun belt.

    The power transport is not a big problem any more as high voltage DC-Transmissions just loose 3% per 1000km.

    [1] *http://tinyurl.com/6n74mq*

    [2] *http://tinyurl.com/4hyzpf*

    [3] *http://tinyurl.com/6m6vsr*

  • EnergyRevolution

    The oil price remains above 130 USD, People needing their car for work have a hard time and the Europeans and Northern Americans heating their homes with Gas and Oil could face the most expensive winter ever.

    Nevertheless, the Energy revolution has begun. The Solar Millennium has eventually been unleashed, let’s transform this world and its markets:

    Water for the deserts of Africa and America, Power for the People; Energy Revolution, Solar Millennium !

    Solar Millennium is also the Name of a Company, awarded with the ENERGY GLOBE AWARD in the category Fire[1] . This company currently builds the first real utility scale solar-thermal power plants in Spain.

    The German Magazine “Der Spiegel” wrote “How Europa gets rid of Coal and Gas”[2] and “That’s how Oil becomes redundant for the USA”[3]

    and refers to visions that can become reality in the next decade.

    And it can be achieved by building parabolic mirrors in sunny regions to produce steam to run a turbine and power generation.

    These solar thermal power plants are running so efficient today, that soon economies of scale will allow them to replace traditional energy production.

    Remaining process heat can be used to for sea-water desalination. Hence the ideal spots for such power plants – sunny and not too far from the sea – are usually in need for drinking water.

    Parabolic mirror power plants, as those built in Spain, accumulate energy in molten salt tanks and are able to produce power also during the night time. The turbines run 7,5 hours after sunset and cloudy periods are bridged.

    With a co-firing of 10%-20% and with reasonable financing continuous power production and cost effectiveness may be achieved today, especially at utility scale.

    They are hence “fuel multipliers”, whereas utility scale photo voltaic power and wind wind power are just “fuel savers” – “Sun gone, Wind away: No more Power”.

    To realize solar powered two digit percent fractions of energy production in Europe or the USA or to power entire cities, one can only build utility scale solar thermal power plants in the earth’s sun belt.

    The power transport is not a big problem any more as high voltage DC-Transmissions just loose 3% per 1000km.

    [1] *http://tinyurl.com/6n74mq*

    [2] *http://tinyurl.com/4hyzpf*

    [3] *http://tinyurl.com/6m6vsr*

  • Thanks, Rod. Links are fixed now.

  • Thanks, Rod. Links are fixed now.

  • Carol:

    Please check the way that you are entering links – the underlying URL’s for the two links in your article lead to incorrect addresses. There is an extra http// in the link.

  • Carol:

    Please check the way that you are entering links – the underlying URL’s for the two links in your article lead to incorrect addresses. There is an extra http// in the link.

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