Fresnel reflectors (source: wikimedia commons)

Fresnel reflectors (source: wikimedia commons)

Having already made great strides in renewable energy production in the form of massive wind and photovoltaic solar panel projects, China is now building solar power plants of another type: concentrating solar power. Concentrating solar plants use large numbers of mirrors which generate electricity by capturing heat and producing steam. Europe and the United States have experienced a sudden and marked increase in plans for these types of plants during the last two years and now, according to an article in the ‘Energy and Environment’ section of the New York Times, China is getting in on the game.

Popular in California and the Southwestern United States, which has plenty of sun and water to run concentrating solar power stations, the technology may be less suited for cloudy, smoggy China, whose deserts are located far from the country’s main energy consumers. Nevertheless, China’s private sector is positive about the concentrating solar power and believes that the nation’s low cost of production could make the technology more economically viable.

‘Preparations are also under way for the construction of a 50-megawatt concentrating solar power plant in Gansu Province in northwestern China, said Min Deqing, a renewable energy consultant in Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu.’

–New York Times

Additional resources:

Concentrating solar power wiki

China enforces the use of renewable energy with new law

CNN: Video report on ‘China’s green plans’