Florida Power and Light Company, part of FPL Group, Inc, began construction of a 75 MW solar-thermal plant in Martin County, Florida. The plant, which will be constructed from 180,000 mirrors, is an addition to an existing natural gas/oil-powered power station. Once the plant becomes operation in 2010, as long as the sun is shining it will reduce fossil fuel use at the power station by using solar-thermal energy along with a combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plant to produce steam and generate electricity.
What will the environmental impact be? According to FPL, via Reuters:
FPL said the solar-thermal station should provide enough power to serve about 11,000 homes, while preventing the emissions of more than 2.75 million tons of greenhouse gases, which is the equivalent of removing more than 18,700 cars from the road every year for the life of the project, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.