Skip to comments.The $2.2 Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project
Posted on 02/13/2014 10:48:49 PM PST by grundle
At California's Ivanpah Plant, Mirrors Produce Heat and ElectricityAnd Kill Wildlife
A giant solar-power project officially opening this week in the California desert is the first of its kind, and may be among the last, in part because of growing evidence that the technology it uses is killing birds.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is scheduled to speak Thursday at an opening ceremony for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, which received a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee.
The $2.2 billion solar farm, which spans over five square miles of federal land southwest of Las Vegas, includes three towers as tall as 40-story buildings. Nearly 350,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, reflect sunlight onto boilers atop the towers, creating steam that drives power generators.
The owners of the project NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy Inc., the company that developed the "tower power" solar technologycall the plant a major feat of engineering that can light up about 140,000 homes a year.
the BrightSource system appears to be scorching birds that fly through the intense heat surrounding the towers, which can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The company, which is based in Oakland, Calif., reported finding dozens of dead birds at the Ivanpah plant over the past several months
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Ivanpah fried chicken.... we do it right.... the only fried chicken.... from sunlight...
Well, upon seeing such things, I am always moved to wonder whether there could be some kind of bird repellent or bird shield.
And actually this doesn’t look like all that bad an idea for a solar project. Ground mirrors, tower boiler. It would work well anywhere on land there is plenteous sun. Some space age scarecrow is needed, perhaps. Seems a shame that such a problem has to completely stymie the project.
Calfifornia where liberals panic about heating the atmosphere ... and so, to make electricity for their many electrical/electronic appliances, they *super*-heat the atmosphere.
does it produce power at night? If not, then it’s billions of wasted dollars
I wonder how much tax money went into this?
Vegas will be lit up well, in the day time.
Americans have become pretty stupid.
The primary limiting factor in bird population is and will always continue to be the food supply. There will always be more birds hatched than the food supply can support.
In fact, there will always be more birds hatched that figure out how to not run into windmills or get frickaseed by mirrors than there is enough food for. Additional survival hazards are just changing some of the birds who would have starved into birds who live because a better forager wasn’t clever enough to figure out a hazard.
Its an epic non problem.
Yes. you are right.
And how many birds anyhow? “Dozens over several months”.
That’s certainly less than one a day. Maybe as few as one a week.
All they could get. Wonder how many of the big cheeses were obama bundlers? All or most?
Yeppers, pretty much all
An OVER 30 year old idea. Look up Solar one—it looked a lot like this.
$1.6 BILLION federal loan guarantee
Not including all of the subsidies, tax breaks and green funds from this government.
Looks like a multimillion dollar drive-in movie.
I sure hope that Pelosi flies over it to inspect it.
Now that is one bird I’d like to see fried. Nasty old vulture.
Back in the Carter years a group of tinkerers came up with a parabolic mirror smaller than the old satellite dishes that would power a small turbine generator that would power a single dwelling. The hot spot was small enough that it was little danger to critters. However the government quickly declared it to be a pressure vessel with the licensing and regulations and inspections that go along with that and it became to expensive to build and operate for a single household. It was featured in Popular Science or Mechanics I think.
I lived though this nonsense as a young starry-eyed engineering student in the late-70s, when Jimmy Carter had proclaimed that “energy is the moral equivalent of War.” I had figured it out by the time I graduated in the early 80s. I lived through a period of uneconomic alternative energy schemes subsidized by the government once, and have not at all enjoyed getting to see it come to pass once again in my lifetime. Especially since I’m more aware of the graft aspect on this go around.
This thing is a boondoggle.
The taxpayers are going to pick up the whole tab for this, the pay-offs must have been epic.
It is a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to light up 144,000 homes. If it succeeds, the loan will be repaid and the guarantee cancelled. Anybody out there that can calculate the cost benefit analysis on this?
It doesn’t matter. The government/taxpayers should not be on the hook for it at all. Let Google/BrightSource fund it and take the risk of their own endeavors.
Of course this isn’t a problem for the spotted owl...
Wait until the next hail storm.
In 1949 a solar furnace for melting steel was built in France.
We should add...this French furnace in 1949...handled 50kW of power. It was a state-funded university project. You would have thought that he’d have won the Nobel Prize for stuff like this....but apparently didn’t get much publicity out of the episode. There’s also some suggestion that he really stepped on various toes of the French and European science community by building this and proving several industrial uses. Even the Wiki guys barely give him eight lines of text. He was probably sixty years ahead of his time.
and at a cost of ONLY $16,000 per house!
$11,111 per home?
If this puppy can keep this up for enough years, it could break even.
If Darwin is correct, no changes will have to be made to the solar thermal generators, the birds will adapt and develop skins and feathers which are impervious to high temperatures.
$2.2 BILLION to produce a PEAK output of 377 MW, but with only a 29% capacity factor - which translates into 110 MW (avg) power plant. That is a cost of over $20/W! Conventional power plants cost $1-2/W.
Another payoff from Obama to Google.
The initial capitalization of the plant isn’t the only cost there, though.
There’s also the fuel, which for this sun plant is zero.
It might or might not add up to a stunning bargain, but to dismiss it based on a one dimensional analysis is not thinking.
Idiots!.....The birds are drinking the windex and choking on paper towels.
The problem is that it can't power any homes at night, so it is mostly useful for 1/2 the year (at most) that A/C needs coincide with power generation. The rest of the time the power is not created at peak time (evening) therefore it is simply not needed since a conventional boiler can't be turned off every day and turned back on at night.
Nope. There's O&M which for this plant is huge. Fuel for conventional plants costs money, but other O&M costs are much lower.
The problem is you also need the water and lots of it.
When solar panels collect dust and grime, they lose much of their effectiveness, so they must be cleaned frequently. Where, exactly, are we going to get the water needed for cleaning in the middle of the desert? And who’s going to be out there wiping down 500,000 acres of panels?
Furthermore, the more distant a source of electricity is from where it’s used, the more of it you lose during transmission, as much as 50% over 115 miles.
Birds. If the wind generators don’t get them, the solar array will.
The cost is to the lowly taxpayer. The benefit is to the Regime's politically connected friends.
Yesterday’s thread on the topic (different news source, not duplicate)
Includes some more pictures
No, but electrical power usage goes down at night. Solar in this area (Vegas) produces the most power when the AC load is the highest.
The government subsidies are the real problem, not the technology.
I helped build a Natural Gas compressor station across the street from Solar One, in Daggett, CA on old Route 66, quite a few years back.
Far less power is needed at night since most air conditioning load is solar.
This would work very well for desert communities where there is lots of extra land and sun.
For a group-participation public execution, folks could be asked to bring bathroom mirrors to a football stadium at noon, with the condemned prisoner tied to a stake at mid-field.
Powers 140,000 homes. Except for the 67% of the time when the sun doesn’t shine or shine brightly enough.
And given 132,452,405 housing units in the U.S., it’d take only about 1,000 more of these 33% efficient plants covering 5,000 square miles of the U.S. at a cost of only two trillion dollars. All in all, quite doable. IF you are a “Progressive” who graduated in Lesbian Dance Theory and believe in the economic and scientific nature of Unicorn and Rainbow power.
That sounds reasonable. Actually the figure was 140,000 homes, not 144,000, but that is still under $11,500. I know people who are spending $20 and $30,000 to put solar on their roofs, so this seems possible.
I read loan guarantee, not subsidy. Also, energy produced goes into the grid. Other resources are also producing energy at night, so the energy gets distributed as needed. If all those mirrors need cleaning/dusting? sounds like a good employment program.
I oppose government guarantees on loans