07 Aug '11, 12pm

Concentrating solar has promised big additions to renewable energy production -- but there's a catch:

Concentrating solar has promised big additions to renewable energy production -- but there's a catch:

Concentrating solar has promised big additions to renewable energy production with the additional benefit of energy storage -- saving sun power for nighttime -- but there's a catch. Most of the new power plants are big water users despite being planned for desert locations. With solar photovoltaic (PV) prices dropping so rapidly, does concentrating solar still make sense? Concentrating solar thermal power uses big mirrors to focus sunlight and make electricity. Think kids with magnifying glasses, but making power instead of frying ants. The focused sunlight makes heat, the heat makes steam, and the steam powers a turbine to make electricity. In "wet-cooled" concentrating solar power plants , more water is used to make power than in any other kind of power plant. The following chart illustrates the amount of water used to produce power from various technologies: Water consu...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/solar-power/2011-08-04-when-picking-...

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