Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lockheed War Titans to Build 290 MW Arizona Solar Thermal Plant

Looks like Lockheed Martin is actually good for stuff other than building bombs to wreck Iraq. This will be its first solar thermal project.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin is building its first large-scale solar power plant -- a $1.5 billion, 290-megawatt solar thermal plant about 75 miles west of Phoenix.

Under the deal announced Friday, Lockheed will build and operate the plant for developer Starwood Energy Group, which has a contract to sell the power to utility Arizona Public Service Co. when it is complete in 2013.

It's the first project under a Lockheed/Starwood partnership first announced in 2007, aimed at marrying Starwood's deep pockets and project expertise and Lockheed's experience in space-based photovoltaic applications to bring utility-scale solar power projects to Earth.


BrightSource uses a "power tower" design -- a field of mirrors, or heliostats, to concentrate the sunlight and heat the water atop of a central tower to make steam to power a turbine. Its first plant, a 110-megawatt solar thermal station in Ivanpah, Calif., is set to begin construction in 2010 and begin operation in 2012.

Lockheed, on the other hand, will use a parabolic trough design, using 3,000 100-meter reflective troughs to focus sunlight on fluid-containing tubes that carry the heated fluid to a heat exchanger to generate steam (see Solar Thermal: Which Technology Is Best?).

California's investor-owned utilities like PG&E and Edison are under a state mandate to include 20 percent of its power mix with renewable electricity. Arizona Public Service also has a mandate to provide 4.5 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2014.

- Brewskie

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