Power companies are facing challenges in setting up solar thermal power generation plants in California’s Mojave desert. The limited supply of water and the delicate ecosystem of the region have both contributed to a scaling back of plans to build more than 150 solar powered electricity generators across the region. Solar thermal power generation which superheats an oil or saline solution to drive traditional steam powered turbines have been the hardest hit, because of the volume of water they use. Some companies have proposed to switch over to concentrated photovoltaic systems, others are exploring air cooled turbines, which are less efficient. As well as the shortage of water, the impact of the development on wildlife has become an issue.
Related story in the Boston Globe