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Posts Tagged ‘Amargosa Valley’

Solarthermische Parabolrinnenkraftwerke Andasol 1 und 2

Photo: Solar Millennium

Water is emerging as a make-or-break issue for solar developers hoping to build massive megawatt solar power plants in the desert Southwest. On Monday, Solar Millennium announced it would rather switch to dry-cooling its proposed 500-megawatt solar farm in the Nevada desert rather than fight to use more than a billion gallons of water a year to cool the power plant. As I write in The New York Times:

A solar developer caught in the crossfire of the West’s water wars is waving the white flag.

Solar Millennium, a German developer, had proposed using as much as 1.3 billon gallons of water a year to cool a massive solar power plant complex it wants to build in a desert valley 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

That divided the residents of Amargosa Valley, some of whom feared the solar farm would suck dry their aquifer. Others worried about the impact of the $3 billion project on the endangered pupfish, a tiny blue-gray fish that survives only in a few aquamarine desert pools fed by the valley’s aquifer.

Now Solar Millennium says it will instead dry-cool the twin solar farms, which will result in a 90 percent drop in water consumption.

“We trust that this decision to employ dry-cooling will accelerate the approval process and enable us to begin construction and stimulate the local economy by December 2010,” Josef Eichhammer, president of Solar Millennium’s American operations, said in a statement on Monday.

Water has emerged as contentious issue as dozens of large-scale solar power plants are proposed for the desert Southwest. Solar Millennium’s move is likely to put pressure on other solar developers to follow suit.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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