|Future power plants may well feature wind and solar power|
I give a lot of grief to my friend Andy for sinking all the money he’s saved these past few years into buying a Prius. Yes, I’m one of those who likes to characterize consumers like Andy who invest in hybrid technology as, for wont of a more graceful label, “suckers”. As in “You’re a sucker for buying that thing because something more energy-efficient that doesn’t rely on gas nearly as much is only a few years away.” Of course, the thought only occurs to me while I’m riding with Andy in said Prius, and so his usual response to my rant is to come to a screeching halt, and suggest I ride the bus.
The truth is we can look down on bridge technology as temporary, trendy or ripe for monetary manipulation all we want, but it is absolutely necessary if we have any hope of keeping energy production on pace with American population growth (which, by the way, is accelerating faster than any other first-world country’s.) This not only means merging clean technology with our everyday surroundings like cars and roofs. No, we need to think deeper, closer to resources; more at the heart of the matter.
Oh snap, someone already has:
“Utilities are eyeing adding solar as a power source for conventional plants. Augmenting natural-gas-fired power plants with cells that capture the sun’s heat can boost a generating station’s total efficiency and increase its peak capacity.By using the plant’s existing infrastructure…steam turbines, transmission lines…they can produce renewable energy 30% cheaper than stand-alone solar installations.”
Kiplinger Letter, June 24, 2011
Of course, utility companies make a lot of hubbub these days over integrating clean tech but not exactly stepping up to the plate in any real scenario, right? Eyeing potential hybrid power sources is not exactly shelling out the investment to manufacture one, and we don’t see anyone doing that anytime soon, right?
Oh, double-snap, someone already did:
“ said its new turbine designed to pair gas and renewable-power generation was chosen by
’s MetCap Energy Investments Turkey
for the first combination solar-natural gas plant.
The site will use technology from closely held eSolar Inc., wind and the “FlexEfficiency” gas turbine GE announced last week. The combination will be able to operate at a fuel- efficiency rate of more than 70 percent, greater than the rate of 61 percent for the combined-cycle turbine alone, GE said. It also makes solar more cost-efficient.”
Bloomburg.com, June 7, 2011
That’s the Gee-to-the-E putting its money where the collective advocacy’s mouth is and adding solar AND wind technology to a 530 Mw power plant in
. Karaman, Turkey
Bridge technology is messy and its temporary status is frustrating, but a company like GE putting capital into it can never be overlooked. They’re taking the first steps to something bigger. Let’s hope others follow suit instead of standing still.