As we pointed out in Tuesday's "Is it Time to Pull the Plug on Wind Energy? (Think Solar Thermal)" solar thermal is coming on right now and over the next few years may supplant wind as the preferred alt energy approach.
NRG Energy and eSolar will build a 92-megawatt solar thermal power plant in New Mexico, part of an effort to place 500 MW of solar power in California and the U.S. Southwest, the companies announced on Thursday.
They said the plant, on about 450 acres in southwestern New Mexico about 10 miles from El Paso, Texas, would open in the summer of 2011.
Announcing on Thursday its purchase of all power from the first commercial-sized solar thermal plant in New Mexico was El Paso Electric.
It will be a concentrating solar power plant, which uses mirrors to reflect the sun's heat to heat water. Steam from the heated water powers a turbine to create electricity in much the same way conventional power plants do. It is seen by many in the power industry as a more viable competitor to conventional power plants than photovoltaic solar panels because they can make more power in less space....MORE