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Climate Rally reaches 310,000 participants

Climate Rally reaches 310,000 participants

The number of people who joined the People’s Climate March this September 21 rea...

China takes big step in reducing ozone depleting gases

China takes big step in reducing ozone depleting gases

China has taken a big step towards reducing its hydrochlorfluorocarbons by closi...

Ozone layer on road to recovery – U.N.E.P., W.M.O.

Ozone layer on road to recovery – U.N.E.P., W.M.O.

The ozone layer is on the road to recovery, but unified action is still needed t...

Green vacation: Go on an eco-friendly safari

Green vacation: Go on an eco-friendly safari

The primary goal of modern-day eco-friendly African safaris is to lessen the ove...

Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could lose around 2 percent G.D.P. due to climate change – A.D.B. report

Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could lose around 2 percent G.D.P. due to climate change – A.D.B. report

Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could be looking at economic losses of around 2 ...

South Asian countries face economic losses due to climate change – A.D.B. report

South Asian countries face economic losses due to climate change – A.D.B. report

Various countries in the South Asian region are looking at significant losses du...

World Bank aids Laos’ hydropower with $40 million in financing

World Bank aids Laos’ hydropower with $40 million in financing

The World Bank Group has inked two agreements for around $40 million in financin...

Business

Technology

Using a magic ratio for better, stronger and greener concrete

Using a magic ratio for better, stronger and greener concrete

Monday, 29 September 2014

A small modification to the contents of cement mix could lower the carbon emissions of the construction sector and result in stronger, more durable co...

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Politics

I.D.B., E.U., Spain to support renewable and efficient energy in the Caribbean

I.D.B., E.U., Spain to support renewable and efficient energy in the Caribbean

Monday, 29 September 2014

The Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, and the Kingdom of Spain have inked a joint declaration that reaffirms their collaboration in...

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Living Green

Is apartment living more eco-friendly than a house?

Is apartment living more eco-friendly than a house?

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

For those that are looking to limit their personal impact on the environment, choosing the right home may be one of the hardest decisions they have to...

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Renewables

Solar power could be leading source of electricity by 2050

Solar power could be leading source of electricity by 2050

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Solar power could overtake all other sources of electricity by 2050, according to two reports released by the International Energy Agency. Based on th...

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Low-Carbon

FedEx Trade Networks brings down its carbon footprint with solar-capable building

FedEx Trade Networks brings down its carbon footprint with solar-capable building

Sunday, 28 September 2014

A new environmentally-friendly office and distribution facility in New York is helping FedEx Trade Networks bring down their carbon footprint. The bui...

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Opinion

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Nutrition plays a critical role in everyone’s chance at a better future. Hunger, said Benjamin Franklin once, is the best pickle. Some say “pickle”...

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BrightSource plans to build third solar thermal power plant, world’s largest to date

BrightSource plans to build third solar thermal power plant, world’s largest to date
BrightSource has filed with the California Energy Commission last Friday seeking certification to develop the Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating System on Riverside County. Photo by BrightSource

Still building its first solar power plant and having just applied to construct its second last August, solar thermal startup BrightSource Energy Inc. is moving ahead to build another 750-megawatt solar power plant in California.

BrightSource has filed with the California Energy Commission last Friday seeking certification to develop the Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating System on Riverside County, California, 13 miles southwest of Blythe.

Rio Mesa will be BrightSource's third and largest utility-scale solar thermal project in the world to date.

The solar farm is divided into three facilities each generating 250 MW using mirrors to focus sunlight on a boiler on top of a tower, producing steam to drive an electric turbine. It will collectively generate enough electricity to power more than 300,000 homes and create over 2,500 jobs, according to a statement.

Most of the 5,750 acres of land where Rio Mesa will be built is owned by the Metropolitan Water District and the rest by the United States Bureau of Land Management. As such, it will also need a permit from the B.L.M. before it can start construction.

The company declined to disclose the customer base for Rio Mesa but Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison could be possible clients based on past deals. BrightSource has 14 power purchase agreements equal to 2.6 gigawatts with California's two largest utilities.

The Oakland-based company is actively building utility-scale solar projects in recent months partly to meet demand created by California's stringent renewable energy mandate. The law requires utilities to get 33 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

BrightSource said it expects Rio Mesa to be operational by 2016, according to a statement.

Learning from the past

BrightSource began building its first solar thermal plant, the 392-MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System last October but could have started sooner after environment-related concerns slowed down progress.

Issues including land and water use and its impact on endangered species of desert tortoise and plants took state and federal regulators more than three years for to approve the Ivanpah project. After serious delays in April, the project is now expected to go online by 2013.

To avoid problems that have swamped Ivanpah, Brightsource engineers revamped the design of their solar farms to minimize land use starting with the 540-MW Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System which was filed with California regulators for review in August this year.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Both Hidden Hills and Rio Mesa will use a new plant design that raises the height of the tower from 450 feet used in the previous plant to 750 feet. This will help install heliostats closer together aligned at a steeper angle, reducing land use by 33 percent compared to a typical solar photovoltaic power plant or a solar thermal plant with parabolic troughs

BrightSource on August announced it would start offering molten salt storage in its power plants to extend its operating hours past sunset. The company did not mention if Hidden Hills or Rio Mesa will use the system but would most likely depend on the request of its customer.

The company did not disclose how much the two solar plants will cost, but it is current actively looking for project financing. BrightSource filed for an initial public offering in April this year and is expecting to raise $250 million.

For Ivanpah, it has secured private capital that included a $300-million commitment from NRG Energy and $168 million from Google, as well as a $1.6-billion federal loan. The company is backed by other prominent blue-chip investors including Chevron's venture arm Chevron Technology Ventures, British Petroleum Technology Ventures, VantagePoint Ventures Partners, and French energy giant Alstom. (Oliver M. Bayani)



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