Genesis Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, says it will dry-cool its proposed 250 MW solar thermal plant in California's Sonoran Desert. In plants that use dry-cooling, fans blow air over a closed radiator system, condensing steam inside of the radiator back into water that is then recirculated back into the power generation process.
In evidentiary hearings that begin this week before the California Energy Commission (CEC), Genesis Solar plans to formally accept the dry-cooling recommendation of the CEC staff.
Although wet-cooled solar thermal projects use substantially less water than an equally sized agricultural operation, by switching to the dry-cooling alternative, the project will reduce its groundwater use by a factor of eight, from 1,600 acre-feet to 200 acre-feet annually, according to the company. Genesis Solar believes that this change will allow the CEC to deem the project to be in compliance with state water policies, and the remaining water use will have less than significant impacts on biology and water resources..
The proposed project will be located on an approximate 1,800-acre site between Desert Center and Blythe, on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, Calif. The project will comprise two 125 MW units. NextEra Energy Resources plans to start construction on the project late this year, with commercial operations expected to begin approximately 30 months later.Â
SOURCE: NextEra Energy Resources