World’s largest solar plant in pictures

February 13th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

The Verge has a nice collection of photos of the Ivanpah solar plant that officially started operations today in the Mojave Desert. Ironic that the latest high-tech power plant is really just a steam engine; technology that has been around for over 2000 years.

The mirrors on the ground reflect sunlight onto the tower to heat water which turns to steam and powers a turbine.

High tech steam engine: the mirrors on the ground reflect sunlight onto the tower to heat water which turns to steam and powers a turbine.

The rest of the photos can be found here.

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Environmental success stories: places saved by conservationists

April 22nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Slate shows off some of the fruits of labor that the environmental movement has worked so hard for. Seven places saved by conservation.

Horicon Marsh, Wisconsin. … The marsh was dammed for water power, then undammed, then opened for large-scale duck hunting, then drained for farming. In the 1920s and early ’30s, its exposed peat soils dried out and repeatedly caught fire, leaving it a literal smoldering ruin. Enter the Izaak Walton League, which lobbied the Wisconsin legislature to restore the marsh. In 1934 the fires were doused and water started flowing once again. As marsh plants grew back, waterfowl followed. Today Horicon Marsh covers 50 square miles and is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. … A vital stop on bird migration routes, it has been named a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention (an international environmental treaty) and a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy. More than 300 species of birds have been sighted there, drawing birders year-round.

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Scorching Phoenix Plans For An Even Hotter Future

August 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

It seems to me that Phoenix is the epitome of how not to build a city. It’s in the middle of the desert, spread out and getting hotter. Not only do these factors contribute to climate change but it’s effectively creating its own heat.

Phoenix actually suffers from two heat problems. One is a product of growth. Desert nights don’t cool down they way they used to, because energy from the sun is trapped in roads and buildings, a phenomenon researchers call the “urban heat island effect.”

Yeah, it’s basically a heat source in the desert. Genius. The question is not will this be a ghost city in 2050, the question is whether it will be the first American city to fall prey to global warming. Houston, which is larger than Massachusetts, is certainly in the running to claim that dubious distinction.

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