Friday, October 31, 2008

California's Solar Thermal Plant

In Bakersfield, California, a solar thermal plant was launched - the first in twenty years. This was a push to launch California into a "new era of renewable energy." It was designed by Ausra and was named "Kimberlina." The first of it's kind in North America, it uses 1,000 foot long mirrors to convert the sun rays into energy. Kimberlina is expected to generate 5MW of electricity - enough to power 3,500 homes. It is the first trial before constructing a much larger 177MW plant powering more than 120,000 homes, set to open in 2010.  

This plant uses a technology called "compact linear fresnel reflectors," which uses mirrors to focus the heat of the sun upon tubes of water, creating steam that is then used to drive power turbines to generate electricity. Solar thermal plants are capable of storing heat for when it is needed and the steam created can also be used for other applications.

Governor Schwarzenegger was quoted saying: " This next generation solar power plant is further evidence that reliable, renewable and pollution-free technology is here to stay... Not only will this large-scale solar facility generate power to help us meet our renewable energy goals, it will also generate new jobs as California continues to pioneer the clean-tech industry."

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