Hybrid Solar/Natural Gas Plants Proposed as Solution to Regulatory Issues
Florida Power and Light has developed a solar and natural gas hybrid power plant at the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center that they claim could fast-track the implementation of marketable utility-scale solar power generation. Such hybrid facilities are believed to have a better chance of passing regulatory roadblocks because they will be administered by established power companies who have experience manipulating the environmental review process to favor expansion and upgrades of their facilities over experimental, stand-alone alternative energy projects.
The Florida Power and Light pilot project is designed to test the feasibility of creating hybrid solar/natural gas plants since projects like Brightsource, Abengoa and Solar Reserve are facing regulatory review issues that are hampering implemetation of renewable power production projects. Existing utilities like Florida Power and Light believe that hybrid facilities can create a way to gradually shift energy production to sustainable methods, since steam generation is the basis of both solar and natural gas technology. The proposed hybrid system can bring energy production at a natural gas facility from 1570 MW at peak production hours up to 3,800 MW, a significant increase.