Sunday, September 13, 2009

Solar energy

George Johnson's National Geographic article on solar power provides a good summary of the current state of play. Here's an excerpt:
About every 30 seconds there is a soft buzz as a motor moves the mirrors a little higher; by midday they will be looking straight up. It's so quiet out here one can hardly fathom how much work is being done: Each of the 760 arrays of mirrors can produce about 84,000 watts—almost 113 horsepower. By 8 a.m. the oil coursing through the pipes has reached operating temperature. A white plume is spewing from a cooling stack. Half an hour later, the sound of the turbine inside the generating station has reached a high-pitched scream. Nevada Solar One is ready to go on line.
There are also accompanying photos that are worth viewing.