Desert tower raises chile’s solar power ambition to new heights _ environment _ the guardian

Following the global climate change deal signed in Paris earlier this month, the $1.1bn project is a source of hope because it demonstrates how far renewable technology has come. Electricity vs gas heating costs But – amid reports of its Spanish owner Abengoa’s financial difficulties – it is also a reminder of how the energy transition is increasingly challenged more by financing uncertainties than engineering obstacles.

The main structure – which is already taller than London’s Gherkin or New York’s Trump Tower – is almost finished. Gas city indiana car show The next big challenge will be to lift one of the heaviest slabs of steel ever made – the 2,000-tonne solar receiver – to the top with hydraulic jacks. Electricity billy elliot karaoke This will be used to heat a pool of 50,000 tonnes of molten salt up to temperatures of 565C during the day so it can continue to drive turbines through the night. Gas hydrates wiki All that is needed after that is to polish the 10,600 heliostatic mirrors so that they can reflect sunlight up to the tower. Gas meter car The end result will be the dream of sustainable energy supporters – a solar facility that can provide baseload power generation of 110 megawatts (MW) for 24 hours a day.

Although there are other, bigger concentrated solar power plants in the US, this is the first in South America and is believed to be the largest anywhere in the world to use a single tower and locally mined salt for thermal storage and to drive its turbines. K electric company duplicate bill The company says the kilowatt hours of solar power per square kilometre in Atacama is more than 30% higher than anywhere else it operates, including the US, Spain and South Africa.

“The sun and the salt are from Chile. Gas jeans usa This is one of our selling points – that we provide a stable supply using local resources. Harry mileaf electricity 1 7 pdf This plant is not dependant on imports so there is more security against global price fluctuations and international crises,” said Roberto Herrera, the business development manager of Abengoa. E sampark electricity bill payment “The marginal costs in Chile are the lowest of any of our power plants … When it is built, we’ll only need 50 maintenance staff … The cost is already at the same level as gas – $120 per megawatt hour – and the idea is for it to fall as the technology improves.”

The sun is so powerful in this 1,100m-altitude desert that it can be dangerous. Electricity grid uk Along with a harness, helmet and boots, the essential safety items for visitors are dark glasses and industrial-strength sunblock lotion. Gas stoichiometry calculator Despite the heat, security guards on the perimeter have have thick uniforms that cover every inch of their skin.

With only two or three cloudy days per year, the intensity and constancy of the light have drawn a growing number of solar companies to the Atacama, which is becoming one of the world’s leading centres of renewable energy.

The transformation has been eye-opening. Electricity invented in homes As well as the concentrated solar power, the plant also has a 100MW of conventional photovoltaic generation, as well as a production line where assembly workers turn out 36 heliostats each day. Electricity production in the us They are then lifted on to trucks and transported to the field of mirrors.

There are several solar plants on this energy corridor, including the 101MW facility in Amanecer, which is currently the largest operating in Chile. Electricity news philippines On a broad plain between sand dunes and rocky crags are 312,000 panels that track the sun throughout the day. Hp gas online registration Owned by US firm SunEdison, it is a low maintenance operation: only 15 workers are needed to clean and monitor the modules. Gas and water llc With prices fixed for two decades, long-term profits are guaranteed. Electricity quiz for grade 5 This has brought in a flood of investment. Hp electricity bill payment online Further along the road are two other SunEdison plants. Electricity generation in usa Rival firms, including First Solar, are building other facilities nearby.

“Chile is a unique market in that solar is cheaper than coal. Electricity word search j farkas answers This will influence what will happen. Gas efficient cars 2012 We see it as a strategic market and a market leader in the solar field,” said Carlos Barrera, vice-president of SunEdison, aims to generate 600MW at its plants in Chile by the end of 2016.

Such rapid growth has excited environmental campaigners , who see non-conventional renewables as an alternative to dams as well as a possible source of revenue for the nation and energy for the entire region.

“In solar alone, we have 1,000 gigawatts of generation potential, but domestic demand is less than 20GW. Youtube gas station karaoke In future, we could export energy to other Latin American countries,” said Patricio Rodrigo, the executive director of the Chile Ambiente corporation.

There is certainly enough sunlight. Gasco abu dhabi careers But the dream of using Atacama to power swaths of South America is still a long way from being realised. Electricity voltage in canada Transmission networks are insufficiently developed to send the electricity even to Santiago, let alone neighbouring nations.

In the near future, Chile plans to link its northern and central grids. Gas 78 facebook But beyond that, any cross-border network expansion will have to contend with the Andes mountain range.

That is a tough but not insurmountable challenge. Gas house The engineering skill is there. Power per kwh The technology is there. V gashi halil bytyqi And the sunlight is certainly there. Gas stoichiometry lab All that is needed is the finance. Gas key staking But as Abengoa has discovered to its cost, without money the lights can quickly dim on even the brightest solar plans.

This article was altered on 29 December to correct a mistaken reference to kilowatts in the seventh paragraph; this should have been megawatts.