Giant Solar Tower Coming To Arizona?

Southern California is about to receive a source of clean, green power at a cost considered competitive with fossil fuels–without creating a giant water “footprint” in the desert, either. That’s the news from the Southern California Public Power Authority, which recently announced that it has signed a power purchase agreement with EnviroMission of Australia, who plans to build a giant solar farm in Arizona.

The 200 megawatt Solar Tower power station development  is expected to annually offset more than one million tons of the greenhouse gases typically produced by fossil fuel generators of the same scale.  What’s more, it will do so without using water to cool its mechanical systems–a key concern for utilizing the solar resources of the desert without impacting its scarce groundwater resources. (Both fossil fuel and renewable energy generators consume billions of gallons of potable water annually in generating electricity.)

Solar Tower

image via EnviroMission

Southern California Public Power Authority consists of eleven municipal utilities and one irrigation district, with members delivering electricity to approximately two million metered accounts over 7,000 square miles, serving a population of nearly five million. EnviroMission has gained coverage in its native Australia for its giant solar thermal designs, destined for both the Land Down Under and the U.S.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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