Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Solar Farming

World's Biggest Solar Farm Proposed For SoCal

SAN DIEGO -- Not everybody is happy about a plan to put thousands of solar-power dishes across 10 square miles in the Southern California desert.

The 30,000 towering dishes would be spread across 10 square miles of the Imperial County desert. The energy captured from the sun’s rays would be converted into electricity for about 500,000 San Diego County homes.

The plan is being proposed by Stirling Energy Systems and is supported by San Diego Gas & Electric and would be a key element of the utility’s Sunrise Powerlink campaign.

The Sunrise Powerlink transmission line would traverse 150 miles of Southern California. The $1.5-billion power line would cut 23 miles through the middle of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a spot known for its hiking trails, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and spectacular mountain views. The power line would carry enough power for about 750,000 homes — or more than half of the utility's customers.

Sunrise Powerlink's critics have said that the plans backers are "using the popularity of renewable energy as a convenient PR cover to hide Sunrise Powerlink’s connection with fossil fuels."

The solar power project would account for more than half of SDG&E’s goals for renewable power supplies imported by Sunrise Powerlink. The 750 megawatt project is targeted for a site about 10 miles west of El Centro. The plan has been outlined in a permit application that Stirling has filed with the California Energy Commission.

The project would be the world's largest solar-energy generating plant, according to Stirling.

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