Energy Economics: Research Design Essay


Discuss about the Energy Economics for Research design.


Project Contexts

A power plant can be of several types that mainly depend on the type of the fuel that is used. A thermal power station is the most conservative method which helps in generating the electric power which is reasonably of high competence. A thermal power station mainly uses the coal which is used as the primary fuel in order to boil the water (Swain and Guttmann 1983).

A nuclear power generating station is however, identical to the thermal stations in variety of ways. The hydro-electric power station mainly plants the energy of the falling water that is utilized to drive the turbine. This turbine in turn runs the generator in order to generate electricity (Spiteri 2015).

The Nevada Solar One Project is a concentrating solar power project. The data of the project is mainly organized by taking the details of the background, participants and the arrangement of the power plant. The Nevada Solar One Project is the third largest CSP plant in the world. It is also the first plant to get constructed in the US in the year 1999. The project is located in the Boulder City of Nevada which is about 40 miles southeast from Las Vegas. The project has come into force and has been operating since 2007. The US$260 million plant has an ostensible production capacity of 64 megawatts. The plant has a maximum capacity of 70 megawatts. The electricity of the plant which has the capacity to power more than 15, 00 households on a yearly basis were sold to the Nevada Energy. It was sold under an agreement known as the long-term power purchase agreement (Ousterhout and Olson 2013).

The Strategies used by The Nevada Solar One Project are as follows:

Increasing the efficiency and conversation of the energy in order to provide the customers with the tools so as to lower the bills while they will improve the surroundings.

Expansion of the initiatives as well as the investment of the renewable energy.

The strategy also involves the addition of new and efficient generating plants.

The Solar 1 Nevada involved a total cost of $266mn to get constructed. The solar project has 19,300 PTR-70 receivers both from Germany and Israel and the vacuum tubes are mainly filled with the transfer of the heat fluid that in turn gets heated when the mirror furrow replicates the rays of Sun on them. The fluid in the tube is in turn heated to 391?—‹C and this heat is in turn exchanged to water through the pipes in order to produce steam that drives a conservative turbine (Tian and Zhao 2013).

It has been reported that the solar power plant is not 100 % renewable and it in turn has 2% back-up of fossil fuel from a small heater of natural gas. This heater is used to prevent the freezing of the water. The solar power plant makes use of 400 acres of land that in covers 200 of fields that is used to play football. The Nevada Solar One power plant was financed with an amount of $266mn in the year 2007 by Acciona Energy (Ehlers et al. 2014).

However, it was found that there were some issues which were made by the union leaders stating that the workers were hired from Central America other Nevada itself which led to a conflict. As a result, Nevada commission rebated an amount of $15 million in the form of tax to Acciona. This was done mainly to hire the workers from the local residents and pay a current wage to them.

Background of Nevada Solar One Project


Parabolic Trough




United States


Boulder City

Land Area

400 acres


266,000,000 USD

Generation of Electricity

134,000 MWh/yr


20 years

The development of the solar thermal project became popular during the late 1980s at the same time when nine plants were installed in the Mojave Desert of California. The Nevada Solar One project was mainly constructed on the experience that was derived from the SEGS projects and it uses much of the similar energy as used by SEGS project. The Gross Turbine Capacity of the Project is 75.0 MW. The Nevada Solar One project consists of 64 MW and is hyped as the largest solar thermal power plant (Tahseen and Karney 2016).

Figure: Sir Adam Beck Generating Station

(Source:, 2016)

The Sir Adam Beck Generating I Station was opened in the month of December in the year 1921. It was mainly a clean source, renewable and supplies electricity at a low cost for more than 90 years. At the time of the development of the project, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world was the Queenston-Chippawa Development project. The hydropower is a product of the flow and the distance drops of water. The Sir Adam Beck Generating I Station is located at Queenston (Northrup and Wittemyer 2013).

(Source:, 2016)

The Sir Adam Beck Generating Station is a hydroelectric generating station is mainly located on the downstream side of the Niagara Falls which is on the side of Canada of the river Niagara. The diagram shows the Deriaz Runner of the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station. The pumping station offers the flexibility for the grid of OPG and also adds discharge for both the pumping station of Adam Beck. The pumping station was commissioned in the year 1958 and it mostly uses the uncommon Deriaz type runner that was mainly tested by the English Electric.

Similarly, the Sir Adam Beck Generating II Station was opened in the month of August in the year 1954. It was opened by H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent. The Beck II station holds the largest capacity of the OPG and it has also known to produce safely produced clean as well as low-cost electricity for more than 50 years. The construction of the station started in the year 1951. The construction was mainly a multi-faceted construction that mainly involved the construction of a new powerhouse at Queenston. The Niagara Diversion Treaty made the development of the Sir Adam Beck Generating II Station possible of the year 1950 between the countries Canada and the United States. The Niagara Diversion Treaty in turn defends the scenic beauty of the Falls by setting up minimum levels of water flow over the Falls. The Niagara Diversion Treaty also sets out some conditions that involve the sharing of the remaining water between the countries Canada and USA for the generation of power.

Group of the Plant

Niagara Plant Group

Drainage Basin

Lake Erie




1,499 MW

Number of Units


The up gradation of the turbines at Sir Adam Beck Generating II Station has in turn increased the ability of the station. Both the stations that is Sir Adam Beck Generating I Station and the Sir Adam Beck Generating II Station are owned by the Ontario Power Generation. Sir Adam Beck Generating I Station contains 10 generators whereas; Sir Adam Beck Generating II Station contains 16 generators.

Sir Adam Beck Generating Station is made of 174 megawatt and it has 300 hectare reservoir. The reservoir is build simultaneous with the Sir Adam Beck Generating II Station.

There are nearly 130 solar companies of Nevada and these companies provides a diversity of solar goods as well as services that ranges from the installation of the solar system to the manufacturing of components which is used for the photovoltaic panels.

The solar field of the Nevada Solar One is shown below:



The total number of SCAs


The total number of SCAs per loop


SCA length

100 m



The total number of HCEs


HTF Temp in


HTF Temp out


The Nevada Solar One of Acciona uses proprietary technology in order to track the location of the sun as well concentrates the rays of the sun during the peak hours of demand. The plant mainly employs 750 parabolic concentrators and the concentrator has more than 183,000 mirrors. The potential of the CSP generation is recognized by Acciona and as a result, the construction of Nevada Solar One took place in order to reveal that the technology can perform on a profitable scale. The construction of the CSP plants in America helped to contribute to a lower electricity grid of the emission of carbon (Kurihara and Hanakawa 2013).

Review Evaluation Design and Methods

Evaluation is mainly the determination of the worth of the object of evaluation. In order to review the evaluation design as well as the methods, it is very important to carry out the methodology under a widespread literature survey. The methods are mostly of two types that are quantitative and qualitative and they are obtained by browsing through the internet, journals as well as other information on the power plants. It is very important to carry out a performance indicator method to review the evaluation methods (Yin 2013).

Performance Indicator

PT = ? PAi

Here PT stands for the total outage cost of the power which is mainly due to the downtime of the system for n number of years.

PA stands for the outage cost of the annual M number of Turbine.

However, PA = PR ? PF ? CU

PR = ? Pr, where PR is the annual reduction of power for M number of Turbine.

Pr = annual generation of power reduction for an individual turbine.

The evaluation questions are as follows:

  1. What does a usual solar panel system cost to install?
  2. Did the project achieve what it proposed to do?
  3. Who benefited from the project?
  4. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of the hydro electric power plant?
  5. What improvements could have been made to make the project more favorable?

The evaluation was conducted by the author and the data were collected mainly by researching from the internet and also going through various journals. The data which have been implemented by the author is mainly the numerical data that is collected with the help of the quantitative method. The quantitative method has helped to get the numerical data related the projects which gave a brief description of the generation capacity of the two projects as well as the turbine of the projects. The author has mainly focused on the quantitative method because the method a survey through an ease method by which data is composed and analyzed quite quickly (Creswell 2013).

With the help of the quantitative methodology, it has found that Nevada installed 409 MW of solar electric capacity in the year 2015. The Nevada Solar industry has more than 128 solar industries in which there are 8,765 individuals who are employed. As per the findings, it has been found that in the year 2015, Nevada Solar industry has invested more than $834 million on the installation of the solar plants. It has also been established that the project will install 2,408 MW of solar electric capacity over the next five years.

The data that has been collected from the methodologies are as follows:


Boulder City, Nevada, America


First parabolic trough power plant since the year 1991

Start-up date

May 2007



Heat Storage


The customer of electricity

Nevada Power Company



The author has mainly used the quantitative method as the method has helped to validate the already constructed theories. The quantitative theory has mainly chosen to simplify the research findings at the point when the data are based on the random samples of adequate size (Mertens 2014).

Discussion of Results

The evaluation has been successful as with the help of evaluation, the author has found that the Nevada Solar One was a sustainable project. The Nevada Solar One went online in the month of June in the year 2007. This in turn helped in the creation of 800 construction jobs out of which 30 jobs were permanent operation jobs (Leung and Yang 2012).

The feedback that is associated with the result of evaluation is based on the program that does not allow for the explanation of the results in terms of the accomplishment as well as efficiency. This is because, evaluation itself manipulate the success of the project (Androutsos et al. 2014).

The findings are robust under the quantitative evaluation design as it helped to provide the details of capacity and turbine of the power projects.

The limitation of the evaluation studies are as follows:

It is not always possible to obtain all sorts of information with the help of the collective structured data particularly when it is about comparing two different types of projects.

It is not always possible to get the numerical details about an energy project by browsing through the internet.

The information which is attained through questionnaires is not always correct and might be inappropriate.

There are sometimes difficulties that arise while collecting the details that are based in the contextual factors. This contextual factor in turn helps to explain the variations in the behavior between the family circle and the society.

The studies which are involved are expensive and also consume a lot of time. As a result, the preface results are not often available.

The instruments are also not modified and this result in the rigidity of the methods involved in the business.

If the researcher tries to reduce the data into numbers that will in turn result in to the lost of the information.

If the variables are untested, that may lead to the account for the impact on the program (Devine-Wright 2014).


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Devine-Wright, P. ed., 2014. Renewable Energy and the Public: from NIMBY to Participation. Routledge.

Ehlers, S., Roeder, V., Kather, A., Singh, P. and Davison, J., 2014. Energetic Evaluation of Different Flow Sheet Modifications of Post-Combustion CO 2 Capture Plant at Coal and Natural Gas Fired Power Plant for a Generic Improved Solvent. Energy Procedia, 63, pp.1029-1039.

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