The world’s largest solar electricity project, built on a wind-swept, dry lake bed, has just become operational last week. Though it started producing electricity last year, the plant formally commenced operations on Thursday, February 13th, 2014,. The Ivanpah (EYE’-ven-pah) Solar Electric Generating System, is located in the Mojave Desert on about 5 square miles of land near the California-Nevada border, about 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas, off the busy Interstate 15.
The company is owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy. The complex has three electricity generating units and can produce nearly 400 megawatts of power – enough to power 140,000 homes. About 350,000 computer-controlled, garage door- sized mirrors reflect sunlight to boilers atop 459-foot towers. The heat from the sun boils water in the boilers’ tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity.
This is good news for California, which has a mandate to obtain a third of its electricity from solar and other renewable sources by 2020. Solar power generation is good for the economy in other respects too as the solar industry employs more than 140,000 workers in about 6,100 companies, with employment increasing nearly 20 percent since the fall of 2012.
At full capacity, the facility’s trio of power towers produce a gross total of 392 megawatts (MW) of clean energy, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy currently operational in the US. From an environmental perspective it avoids 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This equals to removing 72,000 vehicles off the road.
You can view more information from the company’s website at
I was invited to attend a ‘business’ meeting at the home of an acquaintance a few months ago. It turned out to be an MLM scheme touting ‘free’ electricity. Who doesn’t want ‘free’ electricity? But I’ve seen people burnt by MLM schemes and wouldn’t touch one with a barge pole. So I politely declined to participate. However, as with anyone who requires affordable electricity, I have been informally researching renewable energy sources and came across this interesting idea – power generation from winds as low as 2 miles per hour!
According to the web site of ‘Sheerwind’, the company which sells its INVELOX wind delivery systems for power generation, the essence of its approach to wind power can be expressed in three words: Capture, Accelerate, Concentrate. The name INVELOX is derived from the concept of INcreasing the VELOcity of wind.
The company claims that the technology produces power that is ‘affordable, abundant, safe, and clean’. Conventional systems used in wind ‘farms’ have massive turbine generators mounted on top of a tower. INVELOX, on the other hand, funnels wind energy to ground-based generators. Wind is captured with a funnel – a network of funnels, actually – and directed through a tapering passageway that naturally accelerates its flow. This stream of kinetic energy then drives a generator that is installed safely and economically at ground level. Networking makes it possible for multiple towers to direct energy to the same generator.
‘Sheerwind’ claims that the INVELOX technology delivers 600% more electrical energy (kWh), reduces installation capital cost to less than $750 per KW, costs less than 1 cent per KWH, requires no government subsidies to be profitable, and minimizes its impact on the environment, animals, birds and the surrounding community.
You can find more information at the company’s website: http://sheerwind.com/ and a summary in this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4bLe_AcuLA#action=share
DISCLAIMER: I gain NO benefits, financial or otherwise, from this post other than the satisfaction of sharing something that may be of interest to those who follow issues in Renewable Energy. I am in no way endorsing the company or its products or services, either.