'Is that a solar plant or do you just like to dress that way?' That's what we might have asked had we not read the news report first and learned that the project is an extension of one we already covered. According the Victorville Daily : -'Proposed construction of the "Victorville Two", a California-style power plant that would be fueled with 250 acres of solar-thermal units(50-Mw) capacity and a natural gas-powered "combined cycle" plant (500-Mw), could be the first of its kind in the world. "The 550-megawatt dynamo, to be built at Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, would meet the electricity needs of about half a million people, providing energy directly to Southern California's grid". Being combined cycle, the gas-fired generator would capture turbine discharge steam to up overall fuel and water efficiency. (The plan seems to be to use reclaimed water from the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority for boiler makeup/cooling water.) The final air contruction permit decision could take more than a year, however, given the already poor air quality in this rapidly develping Mojave Desert area (USGS Photo Credit).The hoped for approval seems to hinge, according to the Daily story, upon help provided "by State Sen. George Runner, a Republican from the Antelope Valley. Barnett convinced the South Coast Air Quality Management District that the plant's benefits outweighed its pollution footprint and that the plant could move forward".
On first reading we thought we'd found a typo: that the "zero" had been accidentally switched; and, they really meant a 500-Mw solar-thermal generator, co-located with a 50-Mw natural gas fired steam turbine plant. No such luck.
Look at the good side. There rapidly comes a time when natural gas prices will turn our magical thinking about the 500/50 switch into reality. When that happens, folks in the dry, bright deserts of Southern CA will be at the front of the parade for sustainable energy. The next level of expansion, we hope, will be to a 500/5000 setup.