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.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
George Johnson's National Geographic article on solar power provides a good summary of the current state of play. Here's an excerpt: