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Mon12222014

Boeing successfully completes test flight with green diesel

Boeing successfully completes test flight with green diesel

Boeing has completed the world’s first flight using green diesel. On December 3,...

U.N.F.C.C.C. head urges climate action as Lima Conference begins

U.N.F.C.C.C. head urges climate action as Lima Conference begins

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christ...

Philippines houses world’s largest solar-powered mall

Philippines houses world’s largest solar-powered mall

A mall in the capital city of the Philippines is now sporting a 1.5-megawatt sol...

U.S., China announce significant emissions reduction cuts

U.S., China announce significant emissions reduction cuts

The Governments of the United States and China have announced that they will be ...

Best Eco Cars of 2014

Best Eco Cars of 2014

Eco-friendly cars, also referred to as green cars, are vehicles that have a less...

Largest wind farm in Southeast Asia goes online in the Philippines

Largest wind farm in Southeast Asia goes online in the Philippines

The largest wind farm in Southeast Asia, a 150-megawatt installation in the Phil...

SPI Solar to acquire 360 MW worth of solar power projects in China

SPI Solar to acquire 360 MW worth of solar power projects in China

Solar Power, Inc. is set to become one of the largest solar developers in China....

Business

tenKsolar expands manufacturing capacity in Thailand

tenKsolar expands manufacturing capacity in Thailand

Friday, 19 December 2014

tenKsolar is establishing new production lines in Thailand for their manufacture of their solar modules. tenKsolar, which is based in Minneapolis, des...

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Technology

Bacteria producing sweet-smelling compound for greener fuels

Bacteria producing sweet-smelling compound for greener fuels

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

A sweet-smelling chemical compound primarily used in fragrances and flavoring is being studied for its potential as a clean and green biofuel. Methyl ...

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Politics

U.N. chief hails results of C.O.P. 20

U.N. chief hails results of C.O.P. 20

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the results of the recently concluded Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru. The Secretary-Gener...

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Living Green

Tips for recycling and reusing asphalt shingles

Tips for recycling and reusing asphalt shingles

Monday, 22 December 2014

If you're in the market for a new roof, you probably already know that it will cost a pretty penny: a minimum of $5,000, in most cases, depending on t...

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Renewables

Panamanian wind project gets $300 million in funding

Panamanian wind project gets $300 million in funding

Monday, 22 December 2014

The second phase of the Penonome Wind project in Panama was the recipient of project financing from the World Bank. According to Goldwind USA, a subsi...

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Low-Carbon

Seven eco-friendly home heating solutions

Seven eco-friendly home heating solutions

Friday, 12 December 2014

Environmentally friendly home heating solutions are valuable for the planet, and can lower your utility bills. With the numerous home heating alternat...

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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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