Akshay Deverakonda is a senior at the College of William & Mary, originally from Herndon, Virginia. A Biology and Environmental Science double major, he is interested in human-environment interactions and how human activity/development can promote biodiversity. He also wants to make science accessible to the general public through writing and other media. On campus, Akshay leads weekend service trips through Branch Out, an on-campus alternative breaks group, and is working on an Honors Thesis about the breeding ecology of Wood Thrush mating pairs.
The Fall of Icarus: Ivanpah's Solar Controvery
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a jewel in southern California’s Mojave Desert, a blue ocean of glass amongst the sand and rugged hills. Hundreds of thousands of mirrors, called heliostats, surround Ivanpah’s three towers, and follow the sun. The towers, at 459 feet tall, would dwarf the Statue of Liberty. The heliostats, each larger than a grown man, follow the sun and reflect its energy toward boilers at the top of each tower. The boilers, which create enough steam to spin an electricity-generating turbine, glow, the pinnacle of an awe-inspiring interplay of glass, steel, and light.
At 3,500 acres, Ivanpah is more than four times as large as New York City’s Central Park and would cover more than 2,600 football fields. And as the largest solar thermal plant in the world, it is the vanguard of a new wave of renewable energy – infinite energy, originating from sunlight, which illuminates a path to an increasingly bright future against dire climate predictions.
Unless you fly through it.
Read the rest of Akshay's article here.