Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ausra Goes Viva Las Vegas with Solar Thermal Power Factory

Ausra, a developer of utility-scale solar thermal power, has opened their solar thermal power parts factory in brightly lit Sin City. It is the first of its kind in the US and the highest capacity plant in the world. As if you needed another great reason to visit Las Vegas, right? The factory will produce reflectors, absorber tubes and other components of the company’s solar thermal power plants, and will produce upwards of 700 MW of solar electricity generation equipment each year.

The excitement bubbling around this fairly boring announcement is that the opening of the factory brings us that much closer to large-scale solar thermal electricity generation. The factory triples worldwide manufacturing capacity and will help speed up the industry on the whole. Last year Ausra paired up with California’s PG&E on a power purchase agreement for a 177 MW solar thermal power plant in central California, and this new Nevada-based factory will make the equipment needed for this project and many others.

While the factory employs only 50 workers, according to Ausra’s output rate, they figure they’re creating about 1,400 green collar construction jobs for building solar plants – a much needed job boost in a much needed industry.

Knowing that we’re moving past prototypes into large-scale development of solar thermal electricity generation systems gives me confidence that we’re finally gathering speed in the right direction. Now if the BLM will just get their act together

Original here

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