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Coal Plants May Add Solar Thermal Power

solarthermal2As a way to reduce their greenhouse gases, as a percentage of total electricity produced, some coal-fired power plants are considering adding solar power, according to the Department of Energy.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), along with utilities, is studying whether it makes sense to add solar power to existing power plants in order to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. EPRI will collaborate with Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Inc. and Progress Energy to evaluate the addition of solar thermal energy production to Tri-State’s power plants in Prewitt, N.M., and Roxboro, N.C., according to a press release.

EPRI is also considering the addition of solar thermal energy systems to natural-gas fired power plants owned by Dynergy Inc. and NV Energy. Those plants are in Kingman, Ariz., and Las Vegas.

The utilities would construct fields of mirrors, placed adjacent to power plants, that would focus the sun’s heat and boil water into steam, which would be integrated into the steam cycle of the fossil-fueled power plant, thus either reducing the burning of fossil fuel or increasing power production.

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