Big Solar Deal in SoCal

“In what could be the world’s largest solar deal to date, BrightSource Energy of Oakland announced Wednesday that it will sell Southern California Edison 1,300 megawatts of electricity from seven large solar plants planned for the California desert.

“That’s enough juice to light 845,000 homes, and it easily eclipses other recent deals signed by utilities here and abroad that are trying to expand their use of renewable power.

“BrightSource’s plants won’t use the solar photovoltaic panels that homeowners bolt to their rooftops. Instead, large fields of mirrors will focus sunlight on a central tower. The heat generated by all that focused light will boil water within the tower, the boiling water will produce steam and the steam will turn a turbine to generate electricity.

“Variations of the same “solar thermal” technology have been used for decades”

Baker at SF Gate

More and more news about such projects, most of which won’t be up and running for 4-5 years. It seems like good news, though of course simply creating electricity with solar doesn’t, by itself, mean the oil formerly used stays in the ground. Close monitoring and rule-making have to accompany this growth in solar power so it isn’t simply an occasion for resources shifting, as in, we’re not having sweets after dinner any more. OK, I’ll add those to what I have at lunch….

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