Posting in Energy
President Obama announces a big federal loan for a big concentrated solar plant in Arizona.
Over Independence Day weekend, President Obama announced a $1.45 billion conditional commitment to Spanish company Abengoa Solar Inc.
The loan guarantee is to construct Solana, a 250-megawatt, concentrated solar power (CSP) facility, to be located near Gila Bend, Arizona. Using about 900,000 mirrors and covering 1,900 acres, the facility might end up being the largest CSP plant in the world.
The solar-thermal facility will collect sunlight in “troughs,” strategically arranged mirrors that direct sunlight to heat water within tubes to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Steam then powers large turbines. To run at the highest efficiency, these systems need to collect a lot of heat. The plants are usually very large and in areas with almost constant sunny days, like Arizona (or Abu Dhabi, where the company is also helping to build a 100-MW CSP plant, announced last month).
President Obama during his weekly address:
After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America.
An estimated 1,600 construction jobs will result from the project, with around 80 longer termed positions at the facility. According to the statement, more than 70 percent of the plant's materials will be U.S.-made. When finished, Abengoa expects Solana to generate enough electricity to power about 70,000 homes and lessen CO2 emissions by approximately 475,000 tons.
Solana's six-hour thermal energy storage will allow it to send electricity to Arizona Public Service Company after the sun sets.
Related on SmartPlanet:
Jul 5, 2010
of building this facility and that should have been a primary consideration in the decision. More than about the money, we need to bolster the knowledge-base for alternative energy solutions. With this program, once the facility is completed, all the knowledge of how to build it, how to overcome the challenges of construction and operation will leave our shores to go benefit someone else. While I applaud the new attention to solar, I am confused by the decision to go with a non-US contractor,.
I wonder how much this administration could have "granted" Abengoa if it had not already given 2 billion dollars to a foreign company?? Why did this "regime" give that money to the "state-owned" oil company to develop THEIR newly discovered off-shore oil field?
This is awesome! It doesn't matter that it is a foreign company, it will be hiring Americans and Americans will benefit form the solar power. Who cares where the company's stockholders live.
I take that back, I think his environmental policies are stupid, since most of them will be repealed and struck down by the next republican admin. The result is a quick upsurge/start-up of new renewable and clean energy companies/initiatives, sustained by new sources of Obamafunding. . ..Unfortunately, funding and subsidies for these initiative and programs will dry up during the next administration, resulting in a second wave of failed companies/investments/jobs/etc. Obama seems to be creating his own/and planting the seeds for another wave of economic downfall and energy/technological mishap.
I'm so glad to see the president taking large strides toward real change in our domestic energy policy. It is becoming more and more practical everyday to use solar energy. It seem like daily I'm reading about a new technological breakthrough in solar power technology. One of my recent favorites is about a solar cell that the military has developed that is not only cheap and flexible but 10,000 times more efficient. This is the kind of progressive thinking we need more of in the world today. I'll post a link to the video about the technology if you would like to learn more.
Great article ! CSP will be the salvation of America, providing both jobs and clean energy. One point: you wrote "direct sunlight to heat water within tubes to 700 degrees Fahrenheit". Well. Not quite. The sunlight heats a carrier fluid like oil or molten salt, preferably. The carrier fluid is what goes through the evacuated tubes. Then that fluid goes through a heat exchanger to boil water. Molten salt can hold heat for a solid week. Oil storage is more on a matter of hours depending on the size of the reservoir. There's a Spanish installation that uses hot air as the carrier fluid. The downside is there's no real heat storage that way.
This is a breakthrough project for the US. It is also going to further the development of CSP for use in massive initiatives like Desertec. (http://www.dii-eumena.com/) The President also announced a loan guarantee for Abound Solar to underwrite two PV factories, in Colorado and Indiana, with a combined output of 840 MW annually. (http://climatechange.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2010/07/03/2-billion-for-solar/)