GlassPoint Solar is an Oman-based company and they are set to partner with Aera Energy, a gas and oil producer, to put up the biggest solar energy project in the US. This integrated solar project will become the first type to use solar energy to power oilfield operations. They are hoping to make efficient use of the power, and reduce the overall carbon emission that the operation produces.
The site will be located in California at Belridge oilfield. According to the official company statement, the plant is expected to deliver the biggest peak output of energy from any solar plant in the state. Ben Bierman is the COO and acting CEO of GlassPoint and has stated that their partnership with Aera Energy reflects their commitment in innovation as they are aware of the ever-growing need of oil consuming customers all over the world. Their solar steam tech was created in California and was perfected in the Oman desert oilfields. They are using their five- year experience in Oman to drive this new California expansion. They will be putting everything they learned and achieved into this new endeavor.
A Source for Renewable Energy
Solar energy is one of the most used renewable sources of energy and is very beneficial in helping the environment as it doesn’t cause any air or water pollution. It also doesn’t create greenhouse gases.
There are several solar power pros and cons but the advantages mostly outweigh the negatives. One of the biggest drawbacks of solar energy is that it isn’t as efficient since it can’t collect power during the night. However, as solar energy is free and has lower operating costs, this can easily be sustained.
The Belridge Solar project will have an 850 megawatt solar thermal facility producing steam at an annual rate of 12 million barrels. It will also have a 26.5 MWe photovoltaic facility to generate electricity. The steam from solar energy is expected to reduce the natural gas presently in use in oilfield operations. With this facility, they project to save around 376,000 metric tons of annual CO2 emissions, equivalent to the output of 80,000 cars.
Low Cost Renewable Energy by 2020
According to GlassPoint, their solar tech will supply low-cost renewable energy for oil extraction operations. To extract the oil, steam is injected into the oil reservoir heating the oil before pumping to the surface. Both companies are expecting to break ground on the new power plant sometime in the first half of 2019. They aim to have the plant up and running by 2020 when it begins producing steam and energy.
Right now, GlassPoint is working on Miraah which is a landmark project that they are doing together with the Petroleum Development Oman or PDO. Once this is done, this project will be able to create more than a gigawatt of peak thermal power. This makes it one of the biggest solar power plants anywhere in the world. The company established Oman as its regional HQ back in 2012. The biggest shareholder of the company is the Royal Dutch Shell and State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), which is the biggest sovereign wealth fund in Oman.