Will Solar Tower Come to Arizona?

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Australian company EnviroMission wants to bring the a Solar Tower to Arizona at a cost of $750 million dollars that can stand for at least 80 years and is projected to be able to generate up to 200 megawatts of power per day (enough for 100k homes).

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This solar tower stands 2600’ tall and would be the 2nd tallest structure in the world if this project is approved and starts construction.  The tower has 32 turbines in it that capture hot air as it rises from the base of the tower which spin the turbines and which generate mechanical energy which is converted to electricity by generators.

It is a completely Green project, there are 0 emissions as the only thing powering this Solar Tower is air.  The base around the tower is covered in a football field sized canopy that helps trap heat near the ground and allow it to funnel into the tower itself.  Because the ground stays hot even at night the Solar tower generates power all day long all the time, unlike Wind turbines or Solar panels which operate part time under specific conditions.

A much smaller Solar Tower was constructed in Spain and lasted 7 years during the testing while it provided 50 kilowatts of electricity per day.

This project would bring in up to 1,500 construction related jobs for up to 2 years as well as 35 full time jobs to maintain the Solar tower.  Some speculate that the company is overestimating the amount of Megawatts the tower can generate but given the extreme heat of Arizona and the desert, it may meet expectations.

The plant has an extremely low operating cost once completed due to being powered strictly from air.

What do you think, should this project be approved and put in Arizona?  I myself think it should be done and this could be far more cost effective and produce more power than Solar panel fields.

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Updated: October 8, 2011 — 8:00 am