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Three Square Mile Solar Farm To Be Built Arizona  
User currently offlineFumanchewd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1926 times:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23464740/

In my opinion they should have solar farms all over the South and Southwest.

This puppy is a 280 megawatt plant in Gila Bend, AZ. It will produce enough power for only 70,000 homes, however. Would it be plausible to build 50 or so such plants in a state the size of AZ? That would create source for a considerable amount of Arizona's power needs and be for sale to CA, NM, and NV as well.

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1902 times:

A very good idea, seeing as we have an inordinate amount of sunlight. About building them all of the southwest though, if 3 sq. mi. powers 70,000 homes at say, 3.5 people each (I can't imagine many children in the Gila Bend area), that is 245,000 people. Powering a larger city like Tucson would require at least 10 sq. mi. of solar cells, which isn't economical considering what else the land could be used for.

User currently offlineDelta767300ER From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2562 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1889 times:



Quote:
In my opinion they should have solar farms all over the South and Southwest.

I agree 100% with ya. Solar Energy is clean, renewable, and natural. Like you, AirTranTUS, and the article said, Arizona has plenty of heat and sunshine. They really need to use it as an atvantage. This reminds me of SimCity 2000. LOL

-Delta767300ER


User currently offlineAsuflyer05 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2371 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 1870 times:



Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 1):
which isn't economical considering what else the land could be used for.

There's a whole lot of open desert in Arizona.


User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 1868 times:



Quoting Asuflyer05 (Reply 3):
There's a whole lot of open desert in Arizona.

But to build it out in the open would require building even more transmission lines. Not that big of a deal though. Originally I was thinking of them being closer to cities.


User currently offlineGalapagapop From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 910 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1786 times:

And I'm sure the desert really wants to be transformed to solar, the ecosystem doesn't need that sunlight or land, as it's all desert right? What people need to understand about renewable energy is that unless it replaces other sources 1 for 1, it's merely expanding and enabling our energy use to grow excessively. By adding all this capacity, it's simply enabling more power consumption from an area of the country that is already straining natural resources beyond their limits already. Personally I'd like to see that area of the country start to reduce general consumption across the board, from electricity to water, no one said that people have to live in the desert

User currently offlineYellowstone From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3071 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1767 times:

I'm not sure what the figure is for this type of solar farm, but I've seen claims that in order to generate all the electricity the US needs, you'd need to cover an area about the size of Vermont with photovoltaic cells. Which really doesn't sound like all that much, when you think about it.


Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1724 times:



Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 1):
Powering a larger city like Tucson would require at least 10 sq. mi. of solar cells, which isn't economical considering what else the land could be used for.

An alternative in urban areas is to place the cells on rooftops. Not a big deal considering that most large structures here have flat roofs. It's all a matter of installing the cells and hooking them up to the grid.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineTUSaadvantage From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1717 times:

Considering I got an early March sunburn in Tucson today, I'd say AZ is probably a good place for this. I assume its finally cost effective. Glad to hear Gila Bend (very hot and very boring) finally has some use. Didn't think 70,000 houses were even in that region.

User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8626 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1712 times:



Quoting TUSaadvantage (Reply 8):
Didn't think 70,000 houses were even in that region.

Neither did I but it surprised me too  Smile. Well, I think this is a good idea. Cut down the electricity and conserve the power. I think many states should follow suit in rural areas.

Kinghunter



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlineMt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6546 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1712 times:
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Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 6):
photovoltaic cells

This one doesn't use photovoltaics though. The generators are steam turbines.. Steam created by heating liquid (water?) using sunlight.

Very Interesting indeed. Sounds more plausible than Wind.



Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineAsuflyer05 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2371 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1704 times:



Quoting Galapagapop (Reply 5):
And I'm sure the desert really wants to be transformed to solar, the ecosystem doesn't need that sunlight or land, as it's all desert right? What people need to understand about renewable energy is that unless it replaces other sources 1 for 1, it's merely expanding and enabling our energy use to grow excessively. By adding all this capacity, it's simply enabling more power consumption from an area of the country that is already straining natural resources beyond their limits already. Personally I'd like to see that area of the country start to reduce general consumption across the board, from electricity to water, no one said that people have to live in the desert

How does solar power strain natural resources? Power consumption is growing because the population is growing.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8216 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1699 times:

There was a guy who spoke at Stanford recently about this.

He points out that in Arizona, their peak loads occur on the hottest, sunniest days. That is also the moment when electricity is the most expensive. So, these solar arrays are logical. They generate the most power during the moments when the demand is the highest. They are "auxiliary" facilities to handle the peak daytime loads.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8216 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1694 times:

Quoting Mt99 (Reply 10):
Sounds more plausible than Wind.

Wind is not only plausible, it's lighting people's homes as we speak.

Solar is great for the US Southwest because unlike wind, solar is guaranteed to generate full power on the hottest days. Windy or calm. Cloud cover is really not an issue in Arizona.

Edit: However, wind is cheaper than solar. It is the sunny day dependability issue that makes solar's power more valuable financially however.

[Edited 2008-03-09 19:36:41]

User currently offlineMt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6546 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1685 times:
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Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
Wind is not only plausible, it's lighting people's homes as we speak.

It is lighting people's home as we speak. That much is correct. But it is not as "efficient" or as "green" as most people will have you believe. The process itself is (somewhat) green and efficient. However, the way transmission and generation system is operated in the US (stemming from electrical deregulation) detracts from what ever efficiency it may have and leave nothing but very expensive (when you count gov tax breaks) placebo for wannabe tree huggers.

[Edited 2008-03-09 20:05:04]


Step into my office, baby
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8876 posts, RR: 40
Reply 15, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1672 times:



Quoting Asuflyer05 (Reply 11):
How does solar power strain natural resources? Power consumption is growing because the population is growing.

What he's getting at (I believe) is cheap energy promotes development, thus increasing the overall burden on the local environment. The problem is not the electricity generation but that development might increase demand for water, a resource that is limited in that area.

The only way to reduce population growth is to increase price of energy and water utilities, something I doubt the local governments would allow.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineFumanchewd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1630 times:



Quoting Galapagapop (Reply 5):
And I'm sure the desert really wants to be transformed to solar, the ecosystem doesn't need that sunlight or land, as it's all desert right?

Good point. Instead, lets dam up another river or build some more coal burners.  Yeah sure

There are huge, huge, huge areas of empty desert that can have a few areas of solar panels without being harmful.

The desert is very resiliant. Cactus' can be transplanted (saguaro's by law). A few displaced lizards will be ok and in the scheme of things this is the most environmentally friendly option.


User currently offlineGalapagapop From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 910 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1598 times:

Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 16):
Instead, lets dam up another river or build some more coal burners. Yeah sure

My point is that this area of the country already uses more regional resources than are currently available and as a result much of the ecosystem is stressed as it is. The strategy should be reducing consumption per household, reducing overall consumption, and eventually going to environmentally friendly power generation sources. Adding a 3 sq mile solar plant is nice, but it addresses the problem in the wrong area and at the wrong time. By adding to the capacity it only helps to subsidize the percentage of non-renewable resources used in power generation, which looks good on paper, but it doesn't do anything to reduce CO2 emissions overall, and in fact adds CO2 from the construction of the actual facility to the fabrication and upkeep of it's parts. I'd like to see that area of the country with it's suburban and rural sprawl try and make do with the land they've already developed and try to become more efficient on a percentage basis. Right now all this does is add more capacity to fuel more inefficient overall growth in consumption and add a stable pin to the price point of power, which doesn't help in making people get more efficient or greener any sooner.

[Edited 2008-03-10 14:45:31]

User currently offlineFumanchewd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1578 times:



Quoting Galapagapop (Reply 17):
My point is that this area of the country already uses more regional resources than are currently available and as a result much of the ecosystem is stressed as it is. The strategy should be reducing consumption per household, reducing overall consumption, and eventually going to environmentally friendly power generation sources. Adding a 3 sq mile solar plant is nice, but it addresses the problem in the wrong area and at the wrong time. By adding to the capacity it only helps to subsidize the percentage of non-renewable resources used in power generation, which looks good on paper, but it doesn't do anything to reduce CO2 emissions overall, and in fact adds CO2 from the construction of the actual facility to the fabrication and upkeep of it's parts. I'd like to see that area of the country with it's suburban and rural sprawl try and make do with the land they've already developed and try to become more efficient on a percentage basis. Right now all this does is add more capacity to fuel more inefficient overall growth in consumption and add a stable pin to the price point of power, which doesn't help in making people get more efficient or greener any sooner.

This solar farm was conceived without the auspices of being altruistic. Energy is as good as gold and they plan to make money. Companies can cut down the desert and throw up Walmart superstores and Starbucks as well. The only difference here is that they are producing energy, something much more valuable than overpriced coffee. As we all know the market, for the most part, is what is driving the recent mad dash for eco-friendly products. Of course people care and some do act to help the enironment. For the rest, its about the price of gas and their electric bill that dictates what will drive the creation of new eco-friendly products. Its depressing but only a small percentage will drive the Prius because of global warming. The rest will have to because of gas prices.

This is the key. With California having a 0% coal burning policy they are shipping in power from CO and neighboring states that have dirty ways of producing it. So these farms will have some energy sold to CA as well.

Even with all of the selfishness that drives the masses eco-frenzy, I still think that the farm is the best option there is for an ever-increasing demand for power. Of course it would be nice if we spent all of our efforts in reducing energy used. It won't happen though. Not until the people are forced to. And the only thing that makes everyone change their selfish habits in the states is $$$$$$.

This is the cleanest available possibility that can pragmatically help our increasing demand for energy NOW.

I hope that we will have drastically reduced usage in the future, but that is still far away.


User currently offlineMattRB From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1624 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1553 times:



Quoting Fumanchewd (Thread starter):
Would it be plausible to build 50 or so such plants in a state the size of AZ?

Ausra, which uses similar technology (from what I can tell), says that a 92 sq mi solar park based in the southwest could generate 100% of the continental US power supply.



Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
User currently offlineFumanchewd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1536 times:



Quoting MattRB (Reply 19):
Ausra, which uses similar technology (from what I can tell), says that a 92 sq mi solar park based in the southwest could generate 100% of the continental US power supply.

Thats alot of land, but I think it would be worth it.


User currently offlineN174UA From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1531 times:



Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 16):
lets dam up another river

Well...given the recent water woes in the Southwest, and in the Southeast for that matter, this idea is gaining more credibility.

Last Fall, I had a consulting class for my Master's in Int'l. Business program, in which I worked with Infinia Corporation in Kennewick, Washington, about 3 hours southeast of Seattle, in south-central Washington. While I can't go into specifics for what I did for them, here's some general information about their Solar product, based Stirling technology, which is public information. I encourage all of you to read it in its entirety.

http://www.infiniacorp.com/applications/clean_energy.php

Their technology is actually superior to the traditional photovoltaic technology used now, and on this project in Gila Bend. This will work in areas of highest solar insolation (radiation) rates, which are found in the desert southwest, north Africa, Australia, southern Europe, etc.

The key is that governments (state and local) provide incentives, specifically a renewable portfolio strategy (RPS) that incentivizes towards renewable sources, like solar, wind, etc. Until that happens, coal and fossil fuels will still be by far the most cost effective options, as it has the lowest per-KW cost, at about 2-4 cents. Solar, on the other hand, runs about 39 cents, which is passed along to consumer.


User currently offlineLuv2cattlecall From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1650 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 1521 times:
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Quoting Mt99 (Reply 10):


Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 6):
photovoltaic cells

This one doesn't use photovoltaics though. The generators are steam turbines.. Steam created by heating liquid (water?) using sunlight.

Hopefully that water doesn't leak and surround the solar farm...then it would be a three-mile-island!



When you have to breaststroke to your connecting flight...it's a crash!
User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 1518 times:



Quoting Luv2cattlecall (Reply 22):
Hopefully that water doesn't leak and surround the solar farm...then it would be a three-mile-island!

http://www.instantrimshot.com/ !!!


User currently onlineTUNisia From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1843 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1512 times:



Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 1):
which isn't economical considering what else the land could be used for.

I hope not more cookie-cutter homes.  Wink



Someday the sun will shine down on me in some faraway place - Mahalia Jackson
User currently offlineAsuflyer05 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2371 posts, RR: 3
Reply 25, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 1506 times:



Quoting TUNisia (Reply 24):
I hope not more cookie-cutter homes.

Nope. No one's buying the cookie cutter homes. So they'll use the land for more big box stores.


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