News / Science & Technology

World's Largest Solar Plant to Go Online in California

World’s Largest Solar Plant to Go Online in Californiai
X
Zlatica Hoke
November 15, 2013 6:34 AM
The world's largest solar thermal plant is set to go online in California by the end of the year. Wind and sun-generated energy are generally considered clean, unlike coal-generated energy. Zlatica Hoke reports from Washington.

World’s Largest Solar Plant to Go Online in California

Zlatica Hoke
— The world's largest solar thermal plant is set to go online in California by the end of the year. While wind and sun-generated energy are generally considered clean, unlike coal-generated energy, environmentalists now worry that large-scale solar development could harm fragile desert ecosystems.
 
Ivanpah is a field of mirrors, shimmering like a mirage in California's Mojave desert, about 60 kilometers southwest of Las Vegas. Joe Desmond is a senior official at BrightSource Energy, the company that's building the plant. 
 
"This is actually one of the highest concentrations of sunlight in the world, out here in Ivanpah," explained Desmond.
 
The plant will deploy 170,000 heliostat mirrors to focus solar energy on boilers located on top of three power towers. The steam generated in these boilers will drive turbines to produce energy.
 
Desmond said the steam can reach temperatures of more than 260 degrees Celsius. 
 
"We can store the sun's thermal energy in the form of molten salt, so we can produce electricity even when the sun goes down. There is a lot of interest in concentrating solar power around the globe in environments where you have lots of sun, such as China, South Africa, the Middle East, North Africa," explained Desmond.
 
Environmentalists generally support the idea of solar plants, but many want habitats like the one where Ivanpah is being built to stay intact. 
 
"Even though the desert seems big, when you start cutting it up, it can really affect how the species and the animals and the plants are able to survive in the long run," said Lisa Belenky, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, a private advocacy group with offices in several U.S. states. 
 
Belenky said some environmentalists are worried about the effect of the Google-backed Ivanpah Solar Project on the sensitive plant and animal life in this part of Mojave. BrightSource Energy has already spent more than $50 million to relocate the endangered desert tortoise, which lives in the area, but Belenky feels this is not the right solution.
 
"We should be reusing areas that have already been disturbed [like] old mining sites, for example... either on homes, on businesses, you can.... [place them] on parking lots," said Belenky, offering alternative locations for solar power collection.
 
Brightsource has already pre-sold energy to parts of southern California. It plans to start running the plant at the end of the year.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid