According to future estimations, the two under-construction power plants – SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes near Tonopah and BrightSource’s Ivanpah Solar in southeastern California, plan to convert the sun into a laser-like beam, which will focus on giant towers to create electric power. These projects are also known as concentrating solar power plants, which will be easily distinguished from others, especially in size and appearance, after completion in the next two to three years. Such power plants resemble much like the stuff of science friction, which you might have came across in the movies.The concentrating solar power is not yet tested on a large scale, but this process has been experimented in a few small-scale European trail plants. Another point is, photovoltaic technology is cheaper than the concentrating solar power technology, so this technology will face a tough time on price.
However, big companies are still ready to go the extra mile after inspecting through the progress of ongoing projects. It is crystal clear that the Mojave Desert’s solar potential will be more potent in the coming times, if the USDE loan guarantees are anything to go by.
Despite the price issue, the two major companies mentioned above are game for concentrating solar power plant. Therefore, The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Crescent Dunes $737 million in loan guarantees and Ivanpah Solar $1.6 billion in loan guarantees. In fact, Electric utility NV Energy has agreed to purchase Crescent Dunes’ power for 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour in an agreement to meet up its state-mandated renewable portfolio standard for a 25 year. However, Ivanpah Solar’s power will stay in California, where Google will be its equity investor.
If the price of the concentrating solar plant is brought down to an acceptable level, then the technology could be the answer to the nation’s ballooning energy requirements.
Image Credit: Creativecommon/Koza1983