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North Caucasus hydropower to increase with three new projects from RusHydro

North Caucasus hydropower to increase with three new projects from RusHydro

Three small hydropower plants developed by RusHydroare set to begin construction...

Discrediting advertisements on carbon pollution standards outrages organizations

Discrediting advertisements on carbon pollution standards outrages organizations

The Natural Resources Defense Council, and more than two dozen organizations, is...

Supercritical steam for super productive solar thermal plants

Supercritical steam for super productive solar thermal plants

By using supercritical steam, solar thermal power plants could produce enough en...

Nepal gets first wind-solar hybrid system

Nepal gets first wind-solar hybrid system

The Asian Development Bank has handed over the country’s very first wind-solar h...

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Nutrition plays a critical role in everyone’s chance at a better future. Hunger...

Chile’s largest solar power project officially open

Chile’s largest solar power project officially open

The 100 megawatt Amanercer Solar CAP Power plant in Chile has been officially op...

Five gigantic things happening in sustainability

Five gigantic things happening in sustainability

Understanding this mainly becoming typical ‘S’ word has always been part of the ...

Business

Ascent Solar announces milestone agreement for their J.V. in China

Ascent Solar announces milestone agreement for their J.V. in China

Thursday, 03 July 2014

Thin-film solar module manufacturer Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. has announced the achievement of a significant milestone for their joint venture i...

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Technology

Politics

Living Green

Elemooni: Eco-friendliness for kids

Elemooni: Eco-friendliness for kids

Tuesday, 08 July 2014

A new group of nano explorers could change the way children learn about positive values, the environment, and believe it or not, the periodic table of...

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Renewables

Senvion installs its first turbines in Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm

Senvion installs its first turbines in Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm

Tuesday, 08 July 2014

Suzlon Group’s wholly owned subsidiary Senvion SE has installed the first turbines for the offshore wind farm Nordsee Ost in Germany. The Nordsee Ost ...

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Low-Carbon

World Bank to help Kosovo, Kazakhstan become more energy efficient

World Bank to help Kosovo, Kazakhstan become more energy efficient

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The World Bank has approved a $31 million-project for Kosovo and a $21.7 million-grant for Kazakhstan that will both be increasing the countries’ ener...

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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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