California’s Solar Electric Generating System Controversial
In Ivanpah California, BrightSource is developing its first solar power complex. When constructed it will be the largest in the world and will produce enough energy to power more than 140,000 homes while reducing 400,000 tons of CO2 per year. Still, environmentalists are protesting the location where the solar power complex will be built.
The solar power complex is called the, Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) and consists of large mirrors that reflect sunlight to boilers on a tower. The water heats up and the steam created is piped through to a turbine where electricity is generated. To conserve water a closed-loop process is used. The steam is air-cooled and then piped back into the system.
The ISEGS will have three separate plants. The plants will be built in several phases between the years 2010 to 2013. The system will also provide electricity Pacific Gas and Electric company and Southern California Edison. "The 370 megawatt nominal (392 megawatt gross) complex will generate enough electricity to power more than 140,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 400,000 tons per year" (BrightSourceEnergy). Removing 400,000 tons of C02 per year is equal to removing 70,000 cars off the road each year.
When the ISEGS is completed it will be the largest system in the world of heliostats (two flat-glass mirrors, a support structure, a pylon and a tracking system). The construction of the ISEGS will also create 1,000 jobs at the peak of the ISEGS construction and an average of 650 jobs annually for about 3 years. In addition, it will almost double the production of commercial solar thermal electricity in the US today.
Unfortunately, the systems construction is controversial. According to an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Tribes join protests of Ivanpah solar project, the location where the ISEGS will be built is sacred land to Indian Tribes. The construction of the system could also displace many animals indigenous to the land, making an environmental innovation not so eco-friendly.
For more information on the ISEGS visit BrightSource.
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