Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Our Giant Reactor

Even as the senate discovers that they have just approved loan guarentees for the Nukers, P. G. & E signs the largest nuclear fuel deal ever using the biggest nuclear reactor in the system.

Here's a piece of the the story, thanks to the Energy Blog.

PG&E Signs Agreement With Solel for 553 Megawatts of Solar Power

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced today that it has entered into a landmark renewable energy agreement with Solel-MSP-1 to purchase renewable energy from the Mojave Solar Park, to be constructed in California’s Mojave Desert.

The project will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power, the equivalent of powering 400,000 homes, to PG&E’s customers in northern and central California. The Mojave Solar Park project is now the world’s largest single solar commitment.

“The solar thermal project announced today is another major milestone in realizing our goal to supply 20 percent of our customers’ energy needs with clean renewable energy,” said Fong Wan, vice president of Energy Procurement, PG&E. “Through the agreement with Solel, we can harness the sun's climate-friendly power to provide our customers with reliable and cost-effective energy on an unprecedented scale.”

The plant utilizes Solel’s patented and commercially-proven solar thermal parabolic trough technology. Over the past 20 years, the technology has powered nine operating solar power plants in the Mojave Desert and is currently generating 354 MW of annual electricity.

When fully operational in 2011, the Mojave Solar Park plant will cover up to 6,000 acres, or nine square miles in the Mojave Desert. The project will rely on 1.2 million mirrors and 317 miles of vacuum tubing to capture the desert sun’s heat.
“We are thrilled to bring 553 MW of clean energy to California,” said Avi Brenmiller, chief executive officer of Solel Solar Systems. “Our proven solar technology means Solel can economically turn the energy of the warm California sun into clean power for the state’s homes and businesses.”

According to their website, Solel is building an $800 million 150 MW project in Spain and has recently upgraded a 100 MW project in California for FPL Energy. They have been active in supplying smaller solar power plants and components for them, but this is the first megaproject that they have landed.

Their current technology is more than 20% more efficient than the original design due to improvements in the design of the solar trough and the receiver tube.
Neither Solel or P G & E have revealed any costs for the project but an AP article on PR Inside estimated that The Mojave Solar Park to cost $2 billion. A NYT article said that people close to both companies put the cost of electricity from the plant at slightly more than 10 cents a kilowatt-hour. (The Solel website says "the cost of solar thermal produced energy can be close to 12 cents (US) per k/Wh)

However, many economists and investors predict that this price will continuously drop over the next ten years with increased installed capacity, to 6 cents per kW/h, as a result of technological improvements, economies of scale and volume production."

Now, in case you don't know it,

10 cents per Kwh for non carbon emitting energy

is a remarkable achievement.

And 6 cents per Kwh would literally be a game changer.

Fifteen years ago, when I chaired an energy policy committee

for the State, it was clear then that large scale solar thermal electric

could provide affordable clean renewable energy.

We imagined a scenario of large scale wind and solar

that would economically meet the needs of the state.

But back then the retail rate was 6 cents, wholesale was 3.

And when you add the cost of carbon,

you can add another 4 to 6 cents.

No wonder the Nukers and the Clean Coalies

If other utilities tap our giant reactor,

They are going to need them.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home