Blythe Solar Plant

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The world's largest solar power plant was been given approval to proceed on 15 September 2010. This will provide the groundwork for a dramatic expansion in solar energy generation in the United States and around the world. The proposed $6 billion-plus Blythe, Calif., plant, originally proposed by Chevron and Solar Millennium, won clearance to build from the California Energy Commission.

The plant has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. By comparison, for all of last year, the U.S. installed about 481 megawatts of solar energy, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association. The largest solar plants to date are in the 200- to 350-megawatt range.[1]

[edit] Features

  • The Blythe plant essentially groups four 250MW plants, with the first slated to start generating electricity in 2013.
  • The total price tag is estimated to be US$6 billion.
  • The Blythe plant will use parabolic trough technology, in which heat from mirrors generates steam that passes through turbines to create electricity. (Credit: U.S. Bureau of Land Management)
  • The developers have already struck an agreement with Southern California Edison, which has said it will purchase the full capacity of the first two plants.
  • The plant will make electricity by using mirrors to heat a fluid that generates steam, which expands through steam turbine generators. The technique is known as parabolic trough technology.

The plant is one of nine proposed California solar plants that federal and state regulators are trying to evaluate by the end of the year.

[edit] References

  1. Calif. solar plant, to be world's largest, wins key approval, by Reuters and CNet, September 16, 2010
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