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The $2.2 Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project
Wall St. Journal ^ | February 12, 2014 | Cassandra Sweet

Posted on 02/13/2014 10:48:49 PM PST by grundle

At California's Ivanpah Plant, Mirrors Produce Heat and Electricity—And 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 technology—call 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 ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: brightsource; energy; ivanpah; solar

1 posted on 02/13/2014 10:48:49 PM PST by grundle
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To: grundle

Ivanpah fried chicken.... we do it right.... the only fried chicken.... from sunlight...


2 posted on 02/13/2014 11:14:00 PM PST by Cronos (Obama’s dislike of Assad is not based on Assad’s brutality but that he isn't a jihadi Moslem)
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To: Cronos

Well, upon seeing such things, I am always moved to wonder whether there could be some kind of bird repellent or bird shield.


3 posted on 02/13/2014 11:25:15 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar for you if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: Cronos

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.


4 posted on 02/13/2014 11:28:01 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar for you if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: grundle

Calfifornia where liberals panic about heating the atmosphere ... and so, to make electricity for their many electrical/electronic appliances, they *super*-heat the atmosphere.


5 posted on 02/13/2014 11:29:21 PM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: grundle

does it produce power at night? If not, then it’s billions of wasted dollars


6 posted on 02/13/2014 11:34:07 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: grundle

I wonder how much tax money went into this?


7 posted on 02/13/2014 11:35:06 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Vegas will be lit up well, in the day time.


8 posted on 02/13/2014 11:35:58 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

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.


9 posted on 02/13/2014 11:36:07 PM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: MrEdd

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.


10 posted on 02/13/2014 11:56:45 PM PST by ifinnegan
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To: GeronL

All they could get. Wonder how many of the big cheeses were obama bundlers? All or most?


11 posted on 02/14/2014 12:04:12 AM PST by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux)
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To: Eagles6
NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy Inc.

Yeppers, pretty much all

12 posted on 02/14/2014 12:05:01 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: ifinnegan

An OVER 30 year old idea. Look up Solar one—it looked a lot like this.


13 posted on 02/14/2014 12:05:21 AM PST by Rca2000
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To: Eagles6

$1.6 BILLION federal loan guarantee

Not including all of the subsidies, tax breaks and green funds from this government.


14 posted on 02/14/2014 12:08:56 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: grundle

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.


15 posted on 02/14/2014 12:10:09 AM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: HiTech RedNeck

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.


16 posted on 02/14/2014 12:12:43 AM PST by fella ("As it was before Noah so shall it be again,")
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To: grundle

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.


17 posted on 02/14/2014 12:13:34 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: FreedomPoster

The taxpayers are going to pick up the whole tab for this, the pay-offs must have been epic.


18 posted on 02/14/2014 12:21:04 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: GeronL; HiTech RedNeck; All

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?


19 posted on 02/14/2014 12:29:13 AM PST by gleeaikin
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To: gleeaikin

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.


20 posted on 02/14/2014 12:40:05 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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Of course this isn’t a problem for the spotted owl...


21 posted on 02/14/2014 12:41:52 AM PST by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: grundle

Wait until the next hail storm.


22 posted on 02/14/2014 12:52:10 AM PST by chemicalman (The more support I see,the harder I want to work,and the more determined I am not to let folks down.)
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To: Rca2000

In 1949 a solar furnace for melting steel was built in France.


23 posted on 02/14/2014 1:10:44 AM PST by monocle
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To: monocle

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.


24 posted on 02/14/2014 1:28:53 AM PST by pepsionice
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To: GeronL

and at a cost of ONLY $16,000 per house!


25 posted on 02/14/2014 1:40:06 AM PST by Mr. K (If you like your constitution, you can keep it...Period.)
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To: gleeaikin

$11,111 per home?

If this puppy can keep this up for enough years, it could break even.


26 posted on 02/14/2014 2:24:55 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar for you if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: Cronos

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.

Phoenix?


27 posted on 02/14/2014 2:34:06 AM PST by urbanpovertylawcenter (the law and poverty collide in an urban setting and sparks fly)
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To: urbanpovertylawcenter

Phoenixes? Phoenices?


28 posted on 02/14/2014 2:35:39 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar for you if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
I>And actually this doesn’t look like all that bad an idea for a solar project.

$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.

29 posted on 02/14/2014 2:43:15 AM PST by raybbr (I weep over my sons' future in this Godforsaken country.)
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To: raybbr

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.


30 posted on 02/14/2014 2:47:22 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar for you if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: grundle

Idiots!.....The birds are drinking the windex and choking on paper towels.


31 posted on 02/14/2014 3:04:55 AM PST by DainBramage
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To: HiTech RedNeck
If this puppy can keep this up for enough years, it could break even.

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.

32 posted on 02/14/2014 3:20:22 AM PST by palmer (don't feed the bears)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
There’s also the fuel, which for this sun plant is zero.

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.

33 posted on 02/14/2014 3:21:59 AM PST by palmer (don't feed the bears)
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To: grundle

Bookmark.


34 posted on 02/14/2014 4:01:45 AM PST by SunTzuWu
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To: HiTech RedNeck

The problem is you also need the water and lots of it.


35 posted on 02/14/2014 4:07:10 AM PST by pas
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To: palmer

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.


36 posted on 02/14/2014 4:09:45 AM PST by Recon Dad (Force Recon Dad)
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To: grundle

Birds. If the wind generators don’t get them, the solar array will.


37 posted on 02/14/2014 4:11:52 AM PST by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: gleeaikin
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?

The cost is to the lowly taxpayer. The benefit is to the Regime's politically connected friends.

38 posted on 02/14/2014 4:16:21 AM PST by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: grundle

Yesterday’s thread on the topic (different news source, not duplicate)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3122668/posts

Includes some more pictures


39 posted on 02/14/2014 5:11:50 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: GeronL
does it produce power at night?

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.

40 posted on 02/14/2014 5:14:03 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Rca2000

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.


41 posted on 02/14/2014 5:15:34 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: GeronL

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.


42 posted on 02/14/2014 5:17:19 AM PST by varyouga
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To: HiTech RedNeck

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.


43 posted on 02/14/2014 5:45:11 AM PST by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: grundle
In the summer of 1977 I was at Kirkland AFB, New Mexico, with ROTC. During that visit I got to see a test at Sandia Labs where they were testing the ability to focus sunlight from multiple mirrors on a tower. As part of the test they first focused on a point a few feet to the right of the target on the tower. While focused on that point a bird flew the hot spot - instant roosting! So this has been known for a long time!
44 posted on 02/14/2014 6:03:16 AM PST by MrTed ("...at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow...", when one 1st does it makes an eternal difference!)
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To: grundle

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.


45 posted on 02/14/2014 7:57:28 AM PST by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck; All

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.


46 posted on 02/14/2014 4:57:15 PM PST by gleeaikin
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To: thackney; GeronL; HiTech RedNeck; All

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.


47 posted on 02/14/2014 5:06:04 PM PST by gleeaikin
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To: gleeaikin

I oppose government guarantees on loans


48 posted on 02/14/2014 8:28:36 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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