Good old Bill Clinton has done it again. Perhaps inspired by David Mills' speculation on the capacity of solar thermal power plants to deliver emissions-free electricity in this country, his confab going on in NYC presently has united said visionary's solar thermal company Ausra with utility giants Florida Power and Light (FPL) and Pacfic Gas and Electric (PG&E). According to a press release, FPL has committed to building 500 megawatts of solar thermal power while PG&E promised to purchase 1,000 megawatts of electricity generated at such solar thermal power plants. No word on exactly where such plants might be built, but California has plenty of strong solar resource (and already hosts one of the world's oldest solar thermal power plant) as do adjacent states. And Florida gets enough sunshine to make Ausra's technology viable, at least according to its proponents. "Anywhere you get 4.5 [kilowatts-per-hour of sunshine] per square meter on an average day around the year or better you are in the money with these plants," says John O'Donnell, Ausra's executive vice president. A lot of promises get made at the Clinton Global Initiative but not all of them are fulfilled. Remember the billion dollar "Green Fund" to invest in renewable energy and headed up by former World Bank president James Wolfensohn from last year? That effort was organized by Vinod Khosla, who is also the money man behind Ausra. Apparently, that wilted. Living up to the promise, both for this commitment and the technology, will be the problem.
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