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Technology to save the world

A recent Salon article claims that concentrated solar power could be the solution to our energy woes.

The key attribute of CSP is that it generates primary energy in the form of heat, which can be stored 20 to 100 times more cheaply than electricity — and with far greater efficiency.

CSP costs have already begun to decline as production increases. According to a 2008 Sandia National Laboratory presentation, costs are projected to drop to 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour when capacity exceeds 3,000 MW. The world will probably have double that capacity by 2013.

Solar thermal plants covering the equivalent of a 92-by-92-mile square grid in the Southwest could generate electricity for the entire United States. Mexico has an equally enormous solar resource. China, India, southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Australia also have huge resources.

Sounds great, but I’m a little skeptical. Still, relative to the politically-tenable options, CSP sounds waaaaay better than ethanol (hat tip, pete). I will be on the look out for corroborating research papers and articles in support of CSP. Who knows, maybe CSP cities in the Southwest will be the new coal towns…

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Filed under: Natural Resources

One Response

  1. Pete says:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4239
    list of the worlds largest solar projects. Just glancing at this i dont know if i really buy it that solar power can create electricy at 8cent/mw.

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