Sunday, March 13, 2011

Solar Thermal Mirrors Assembled in Florida

Workers assemble the pipeline that will move solar-heated synthetic oil through the solar thermal mirror assemblies under construction at the FPL Group's Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Indiantown, Fla., in February 2010. In former swamplands teaming with otters and wild hogs, one of the nation's biggest utilities is running an experiment in the future of renewable power. Across 500 acres near Port St. Lucie, the FPL Group utility is assembling a life-size Erector Set of 190,000 shimmering mirrors and thousands of steel pylons that stretch as far as the eye can see. When it is completed by the end of the year, this vast project will be the world's second-largest solar plant. But that is not its real novelty. The solar array is being grafted onto the back of the nation's largest fossil-fuel power plant, fired by natural gas. It is an experiment in whether conventional power generation can be married with renewable power in a way that lowers costs and spares the environment.


No comments: