In West Palm Beach, Florida, the FPL Group is currently constructing the US$476 million Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center. When complete this solar thermal array will be the second largest in the world.
Yet, this is not the only newsworthy not about the solar array, itwill also be connected to the United States’ largest fossil fuelplant. The power plant will now produce energy from solar and naturalgas sources.
The FPL Group says there are numerous advantages to linking bothenergy sources including creating greater power capacity, reducingcarbon dioxide emissions, and reducing the cost of solar power. Thecompany estimates that it will save 20% in costs compared to building astand-alone solar power plant, because it does not have to build a newsteam turbine or high-power transmission lines.
Furthermore, the FPL Group says it will reduce its natural gas useby 1.3 billion cubic feet each year — the average consumption of18,000 homes. Additionally, it will cut carbon dioxide emissions by2.75 million tons over 30 years, the equivalent of taking 19,000 carsoff the road.
Lewis Hay III, FPL’s chariman and CEO said, "We’d love to tell youthat solar power is as economic as fossil fuels, but the reality isthat it is not. We have to figure out ways to get costs down."
Read the full story at the New York Times: FPL Experiments With Solar Thermal at Gas-Fired Power Plant
Image courtesy of the FPL Group