The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 11:34cat

Solar Wind Energy Tower Wins Approval in Arizona

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The Solar Wind Energy Tower will cost $1.5 billion to construct The Solar Wind Energy Tower will cost $1.5 billion to construct Ronald Pickett

Solar Wind Energy Tower, Inc. received approval last Wednesday from San Luis, Arizona to build a $1.5 billion project that would use ambient desert air to create a draft and generate electricity in a concrete tower.  A picture of how the project will work can be seen above. Once finished, the 2,250-foot tower would be the tallest structure in North America.  The Solar Wind Downdraft Tower project would be able to generate power at an average rate of 435 megawatt-hours annually.  The tower would be able to generate close to 1,200 megawatt-hours during July and August due to the higher summer temperatures. 

The company is using the San Luis location as a way to prove that their technology will work in hot, dry climates and then would like to expand to other parts of the U.S. and world. The project would use technology created by Solar Wind Energy Inc.  In the dry desert air, water would be injected in a mist near the top of tower, causing the air to cool and gain density. The draft created by the sinking air would exceed 50 miles per hour as it’s forced through a ring of turbines at the tower’s base, generating electricity.  While the project does not have financing or customers for its electricity yet, local utility companies and the U.S. Defense Department have inquired about purchasing the project’s power.

Solar Wind Energy Tower purchased 600 acres in San Luis to build the downdraft tower.  The site is close to highways, rail service, and public utilities.  The company’s chief executive Ron Pickett said: “This is the most significant event in the history of our company. This milestone allows us to advance into definitive discussions with power purchasers, potential joint venture partners and financing sources which will enable the tower to be built on time and within budget.”  Picket is hopeful the tower will be operational by 2018.

Sources: WSJBloombergSolar Wind Energy Tower

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