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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....

Toyota hybrid exceeds 7 million mark in global sales

Toyota hybrid exceeds 7 million mark in global sales

The cumulative global sales of Toyota Motor Corporation’s hybrid vehicle have ex...

Suzlon eyes 2,000 MW of wind energy projects in India over next five years

Suzlon eyes 2,000 MW of wind energy projects in India over next five years

India-based wind turbine maker Suzlon has expressed its intent to build 2,000 me...

Solar power could be leading source of electricity by 2050

Solar power could be leading source of electricity by 2050

Solar power could overtake all other sources of electricity by 2050, according t...

U.N. chief welcomes announcements made in Climate Summit

U.N. chief welcomes announcements made in Climate Summit

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed bold new actions to addres...

Climate Summit sees intiatives and commitments

Climate Summit sees intiatives and commitments

Various bodies and entities on the Climate Summit in New York have announced the...

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...

Business

Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water CEO, opens self-powered sewage works

Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water CEO, opens self-powered sewage works

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Consuming two years development time and a whopping £34 million investment, Yorkshire’s first self-powered sewage works site has been unveiled in Brad...

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Technology

New oxygen-removing catalyst developed for better biofuel production

New oxygen-removing catalyst developed for better biofuel production

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Researchers from Washington State University have developed a new catalyst that can remove oxygen from plant-based materials for a more efficient biof...

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Politics

U.S., China announce significant emissions reduction cuts

U.S., China announce significant emissions reduction cuts

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Governments of the United States and China have announced that they will be making huge emissions reduction cuts in the future. The two largest ec...

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Living Green

Water, waste and power: What you need to get off the grid

Water, waste and power: What you need to get off the grid

Friday, 07 November 2014

Most people wouldn't ever voluntarily go "off the grid" for more than a few days at a time. To them, the idea would only make sense if it was a weeken...

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Renewables

EDF EN Canada begins construction on 74-MW wind power project in Quebec

EDF EN Canada begins construction on 74-MW wind power project in Quebec

Thursday, 13 November 2014

EDF EN Canada is set to begin construction of the 74 megawatt Mont-Rothery wind project in Quebec. Following the government of Quebec’s issuance of a ...

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Low-Carbon

Best Eco Cars of 2014

Best Eco Cars of 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Eco-friendly cars, also referred to as green cars, are vehicles that have a lesser environmental impact than those that use fossil fuels like diesel o...

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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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