Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Giant solar energy plant planned northwest of Kingman

The Kingman Miner newspaper reports that a 340-megawatt solar power electricity plant is planned 27 miles northwest of Kingman. Mohave Sun Power will use parabolic trough technology to heat oil in tubes to generate steam to make electricity. Excess heat will be stored in molten salt for use at peak demand times.

This is the same technology proposed by Albiasa Solar for its 200-megawatt plant in the region [right, credit Albiasa Corp].

The Mohave plant is expected to use 1,500 to 2,000 acre-feet of water per year to wash the collectors and generate steam, which is raising some concerns locally. The $2.1 billion solar project will be one of the largest in the world. Electricity will be sold to the highest bidder. Construction would start in late 2010 and be complete in late 2013

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:47 PM

    As a 25+ year fossil generation public utility worker I am aghast that solar/thermal is still even being considered for power generation. The cost per installed watt of this Kingman project is $5.80 by their numbers. Southern California Edison is installing 250MW of grid tied Photovoltaic for about $3.50 per installed watt right now in Los Angeles.

    Solar thermal is the indirect mechanical conversion of heat to electrical output. If there were no other way, that'd be great, but science has provided a better way with the photoelectric effect. Railroads abandoned the steam engine over 60 years ago.

    The best use for the solar/thermal equipment I've seen to date is as an auxilliary heat source for a combined cycle gas turbine plant. The aux heat from the collectors dramatically improves the overall plant heat rate (reducing expensive fuel costs) during the summer peak hours, especially on units using air cooled condensers. There is a plant in Victorville California doing precisely that right now.

    The problem with an all solar thermal cycle plant is that you have all of the same equipment that a fossile generating plant has, and the maintenance costs, and the water usage, but only about 1/3 the net output even IF the thermal storage system works.

    PV had essentially NO maintenance or upkeep costs, a 20-40 year equipment lifespan, no emissions at all and zero water requirements.

    It doesn't make sense in Arizona to commit to a power generation scheme that has built in maintenance costs and significant water requirements when for the same or less money you can have the same amount of power and NO maintenance or water usage. I'd be great to see the BEST equipment used, not the most propriatary.

    Mitch Smith
    Fort Mohave, Az.