Before we left, I expressed that this drive was boring. I was wrong. It’s amazing.
The whole trip is STUNNING. It’s not just a beautiful desert, there are some really amazing things along the way. For example, we found this:
This is called the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. It’s the first of it’s kind. The blue isn’t a lake. The blue in the image above is a lake of robotic mirrors. Each mirror reflects light to the top of that tower. The plant pumps salt from a 70 million pound vat to the top of the tower. That salt melts at the top of the tower. The melted salt is a storage method to utilize the energy of the sun.
This is different from photovoltaic solar power, it’s thermal solar power.
The heated salt stays hot for more than ten hours. Therefore, the power plant is capable of running consistently for the entire 30-year lifecycle of the plant. This is a zero emission source of power.
The problem seems to be that they produce a kilowatt hour for 13.5 cents, in a state where the market rate is 12 cents. That means they have to get better at it before the technology has a chance of taking over the market.
The US Military is probably the most prolific stakeholder along this route. The above image is one of many drones we saw while driving by the Creech Air Force Base. At first I thought they may have been checking out drivers to ensure they aren’t speeding… but then I realized there were about 5 in the air. I’m assuming that they are training the pilots or testing the vehicles.
Funny enough, we were listening to a podcast directly related to drones and technology of the future. It’s called Eye in the Sky. The show discusses a company that can take pictures of towns from so high their aircraft can’t be seen from someone on the ground. They can uses these images to track people and learn about people’s movements. It’s an excellent podcast.
Please feel free to listen to it if you’re interested:
Despite being born in Nevada, I’ve spent very little time in Las Vegas. It’s a beautiful town. I’m looking forward to learning more tomorrow.