Chevron's Using Solar Power...to Drill for Oil Chevron's Using Solar Power...to Drill for Oil
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Chevron's Using Solar Power...to Drill for Oil

by Andrew Price

August 28, 2009
From the Department of Mixed Emotions: The New York Times' Green, Inc. blog is reporting that a new solar thermal plant is going to be built in Coalinga, California...for Chevron to get oil with.Unlike "normal" solar power that converts sunlight directly to electricty, solar thermal converts light to steam power (primer here). And that steam power is useful for oil drilling. So a solar thermal company called BrightSource is building a 100-acre plant for Chevron. From Green, Inc.: Chevron is an investor in BrightSource, a solar power plant builder based in Oakland, Calif., and solar-powered oil extraction offers the oil giant an opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint while gaining a hedge against volatile natural gas prices.It'd be nicer if this new solar plant was being used to supply energy to the grid for California's future fleet of awesome electric cars, but the silver lining: This news makes it clear that solar is starting to make real business sense.
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Chevron's Using Solar Power...to Drill for Oil