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Solar Power Plant

February 14, 2010 | By Todd Woody
A developer who proposes to cut down hundreds of trees to make way for a massive project could expect to provoke a fair amount of environmental outrage. Not in California City. Officials in this sprawling desert community east of Bakersfield are thrilled at NextEra Energy's move to break out the chain saws. The firm, a subsidiary of utility giant FPL Group, is seeking to build a solar power plant in the area that would consume a large amount of water. The trees are tamarisks, a water-hungry invasive species, and removing them could help recharge the aquifer in this arid region.
February 9, 2010 | By Todd Woody
French nuclear energy giant Areva has jumped into the U.S. renewable energy market with the acquisition of Ausra Inc., a Mountain View, Calif., solar power plant start-up. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Areva executive Anil Srivastava said the sale price was in line with the $418 million that rival Siemens of Germany spent last year to acquire Solel Solar Systems, an Israeli solar power plant builder. That would be a decent payday for Ausra's investors, which include Silicon Valley venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Khosla Ventures.
December 2, 2009 | By Phil Willon
Nearly a century after Los Angeles drained Owens Lake by diverting its water to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the city now hopes to generate solar energy on the dusty salt flats it left behind. The Department of Water and Power's board of commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a renewable energy pilot project that would cover 616 acres of lake bed with solar arrays -- a possible precursor to a mammoth solar farm that could cover thousands of acres. City utility officials hope that, along with generating power for L.A., the solar panels would reduce the fierce dust storms that rise from the dry lake bed. To comply with federal clean air standards, the DWP must control the dust that has plagued the Owens Valley for decades.
October 23, 2009 | Todd Woody
Skyline Solar, a Silicon Valley start-up, has become the latest green energy company to tap the struggling auto industry's manufacturing muscle. The Mountain View, Calif., company said Thursday that components for its solar power plants were being made in a Troy, Mich., car factory operated by Cosma International, a division of auto manufacturing giant Magna International. The same machines that stamp out doors, hoods and other car body parts are now making metal arrays that hold Skyline's photovoltaic panels.
September 18, 2009 | Louis Sahagun
Ending a bitter feud in the rush to develop solar farms, BrightSource Energy Inc. on Thursday said it had scrapped a controversial plan to build a renewable energy facility in the eastern Mojave Desert wilderness that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants to transform into a national monument. The proposal pitted companies queuing up to replace imported oil and facilitate a national clean-energy economy against environmentalists strongly opposed to the idea of creating an industrial zone within 600,000 acres of former railroad lands that had been donated to the Department of Interior for conservation.
September 9, 2009 | Tiffany Hsu
The sun shines nearly everywhere, but alternative energy company First Solar Inc. is hoping its rays are most profitable out in the far reaches of China. The Arizona company signed a memorandum of understanding today with the city of Ordos to build a 2,000-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant, said Michael J. Ahearn, First Solar's chairman and chief executive. The sprawling project in the Inner Mongolian desert, would be the company's first in Asia and its largest outside the U.S. Although current solar installations in China produce only 90 megawatts, the country's leaders recently decided that 10% of China's energy should come from renewable sources by 2010, and 15% by 2020.
January 25, 2008 | Patrick McGreevy, Times Staff Writer
Despite state goals to encourage alternative energy, no application to build a large solar power plant in California has been approved in 18 years, and new projects could face significant delays in the bureaucracy, the state auditor said Thursday. An audit found that power plants must go through multiple agencies for approval, and there is no one authority that can smooth the process.
February 27, 1999 | Associated Press
A storage tank exploded at a solar power plant Friday, sending flames and billows of smoke into the sky for hours and forcing authorities to evacuate the immediate area. The fire, which broke out about 6 p.m., was still burning four hours later at the SEGS II power plant near Interstate 40 about seven miles east of Barstow, said San Bernardino County Fire Battalion Chief David McLees.
January 20, 1997 | LEE DYE
Imagine a solar power plant on the roof of your house that is as efficient at converting energy from the sun into electricity as crab grass is at taking over your lawn. Those two processes are not as far apart as they might seem. Both use photosynthesis, upon which all life on this planet depends. Plants use photosynthesis to produce the fuel for their growth, and in the process remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and make the oxygen we breathe.
June 10, 1996 | KATHLEEN WIEGNER
When Solar Two, the large pilot solar power plant in the Mojave Desert, was dedicated last week, it differed in a crucial respect from its predecessor, Solar One, which operated from 1982 to 1986. Instead of using concentrated sunlight to heat water, it uses molten salt. Solar Two, which produces enough power to supply 10,000 homes, operates by using large, sun-tracking mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a receiver that sits atop a tower.
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