Skip to comments.A Huge Solar Plant Opens, Facing Doubts About Its Future
Posted on 02/14/2014 8:11:25 AM PST by lbryce
The Ivanpah solar power plant stretches over more than five square miles of the Mojave Desert. Almost 350,000 mirrors the size of garage doors tilt toward the sun with an ability to energize 140,000 homes. The plant, which took almost four years and thousands of workers assembling millions of parts to complete, officially opened on Thursday, the first electric generator of its kind.
It could also be the last.
Since the project began, the price of rival technologies has plummeted, incentives have begun to disappear and the appetite among investors for mammoth solar farms has waned. Although several large, new projects have been coming online in recent months many in the last quarter of 2013 experts say fewer are beginning construction and not all of those under development will be completed.
I dont think that were going to see large-scale solar thermal plants popping up, five at a time, every year in the U.S. in the long-term its just not the way its going to work, said Matthew Feinstein, a senior analyst at Lux Research.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
For Solydra, once it went green, the government start-up money was never again seen.
If the liberals are wrong about the viability of solar power, as they lecture us about what we should do, what else are they wrong about? Could they also be wrong about global warming and banning plastic bags?
A better question would be: “What are they (liberals) right about?”
It will power 140,000 homes, right? Except for the 67% of the time when the sun doesnt shine or shine brightly enough.
And given 132,452,405 housing units in the U.S., itd 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.
There was a prototype “solar tower” at Sandia Labs that is not used any more.
There was a commercial plant near Bagdad, CA (or maybe Daggett), that was the same technology. It was not commercially viable and was mothballed.
And now a bigger one is being made!
One cool thing about the Solar One project near Bagdad was the pattern of light in the sky. As you drove down the road, this ethereal floating pattern of light would appear on the horizon. Very mysterious if you didn’t know it was a solar mirror farm.
I wonder what would happen to a bird or insect if it flew into the beam?
It’s always amazing to me that the dim-bulb-crats claim to be the party of science...but it’s their types that typically fail even the most elementary science classes and consequently pursue areas more matched to their weak intellect - like law, political “science”, sociology...womyn’s “studies”, advanced marshmallow eating....etc....etc.
Please, liberals, leave the complicated things to us, and you take care of serving burgers.
There was a smaller one build by palm springs with the same fan fare that is now abandoned.
I would like to see more in city off the power grid alternatives.
Solar in city to reduce power bills.
They still haven’t declared their annual consumption of Windex or who has the mirror cleaning concession.
Also, it’s not nice to singe the feathers and ground any bird flying through the light beam, not to mention that the birds either die or can’t fly and slowly die after they’ve been scorched.
“The $2.2 Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project”
I find it so odd that people are surprised that a device that is basically designed like a solar cooker successfully cooks birds that fly over it. Duh!
Now, you could turn that fault into a feature if you launched plucked, batter-dipped chickens over the mirror array, and caught them in KFC buckets when they fell out of the sky.
All the same, I think this array should be the last of its kind.
...see who the major backers are...probably a slew of senators and congressmen....all out for the bailout..$$$$$$$
Well, to be fair... Enrico Fermi built a small nuclear reactor under the stands at Stagg Field in Chicago that was abandoned immediately after it was used to demonstrate a chain reaction in U-235.
A pic of Solar One demolition (and a story about solar thermal power):
PG&E tried this on the Carrissa Plains several years ago. Then dropped it.
I’ve wondered why this was attempted again, except to throw Other People’s Money away, as usual.
Holly Crap. Cost? And 140,000 homes? And during sunlight? What the hell 5 sq miles of land. This is a joke! One natural gas fired plant could do twice as much as this and day or night. These damn fools.
One short circuit and the whole damn thing blows up.
Thanks! The article does indeed talk about roasting birds on the wing. And it states that this is the first of its kind, which is obviously untrue.
Calculating from the rated output of 392 MW, assuming 33% availability (and assuming that energy storage is “free”) and comparing it to the US comsumption of 3,886,400,000 MWHr (in 2010) it would take a mere 3400 hundred such plants, covering 17,000 square miles. Not counting storage and attendant losses, including transmission losses.
There are environmentalists, much to their chagrin who admit that this thing is a danger to the habitat. Namely, it kills birds.
No mention of:
1. Total MW
2. Total cost before taxpayer subsidies
3. Total cost of infrastructure to connect it to the grid
4. Expected utilization rate
5. Expected cost per kwh
6. What power source it is displacing
7. Cost per kwh of power source it is displacing
8. Expected increase in cost per kwh to utility rate payers
9. Political connections of those who profited and got the taxpayer subsidies.
10. Likelihood the taxpayer guaranteed loan will ever be paid back.
This article is just political propaganda. It is without substance.
Only two trillion? That’s easy. We’re something close to 18 $ trillion in debt now. What’s a couple $ trillion more?
That’s a good point. Solar power, going green, was the cornerstone of Democrat issue viability, credibility. If solar power doesn’t ‘light up their life’ what does it say about some of their more hare-brained political concoctions?
Good point. Let’s talk about what liberals have ever been right about.
Take the whole war on poverty and the various programs which came out of that effort. Have those programs taken people out of poverty?
Do we have better more reliable sources of energy, and better energy policies, since we’ve had a Department of Energy?
Is the state of public education improved since Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education?
Are liberals ever held to account for their policies and programs? Or do we just ignore apparent failures of liberal programs, because, well just because we want to cut liberals a break??? And go back to bashing conservatives as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc?????
I toured such a facility near Barstow back about 1988 or so. Lots of mirrors.
The purpose is to allow those with political connections to have access to taxpayer money. There are well connected people who will profit even though the project makes no economic sense.
It was true in the 70s, it was true in the 90s, its true now and it will be true 20 years from now: the ONLY way you make money in a solar deal is through state subsidies and tax credits, period.
If you go to Google Maps, and look for:
“Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating”
Your jaw will drop. This is insane.
We use these folks for our electric here in a small rv park. Rates are .31 per kw. Last months electric bill for our 36 ft motor coach was $ 622. Somebody is making a couple bucks. You can see the towers from our place 11 miles away
Isn't it amazing how the environmentalist don't worry about solar mirrors frying birds or wind turbines chopping them up. But if its a pipeline or chopping down trees the protestors are out screaming "their habitat is being threatened".
More targets for terrorists.
Lots of minimum wage jobs dusting all those mirrors off, eh?
California Dusters for Dough!!
Yet more proof of two things: LIBs are insane and LIBs are criminals.
OMG! Don't ruin burgers, too!
The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is being shut down at the end of the year because it is claimed it can't make money to cover its cost of operation. It is a rather small unit (less than 600 MW installed capacity) as nuclear plants go, has a 90+% capacity factor. It is a perfectly functional facility. But it is sobering to think that even this somewhat small-scale nuclear plant generated, last year, a total amount of energy that was more than every solar panel and windmill in the states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine combined.
Which was not shutdown by extremists more concerned with the dead birds and disruption to desert lizards and other local wildlife.
Hey, you’re quite good at figurin’ all that stuff out. You do that all by yourself?
I have said it before and I will say it again. The greatest danger to the Economy and Security of the United States is the Environmental Lobby and the politicians they buy.
Not joking. Liberals are just not the smartest of the bunch. And, they need someone else's help (government) to organize their daily lives and make tough decisions on their behalf. Emotionally gullible as well. Just not the sharpest bunch.
Are there night courses available?
Oh come on now - you can figure that out.
This is what happens when elite liberal “climate scientists” run the DOE. Another $1.6 billion cluster-blank.
“These damn fools.”
Government subsidy, government guaranteed loan, high salaries. You buy and pay for your nice house, buy gold, get a really nice car, then when the project goes bankrupt, which it will if they set things up correctly, the folks at the top keep the car, house, gold, land, personal investments.
Maybe not set for life, but very comfortable after only a few years work.
Rest assured that the guys at Solyndra and A123 Batteries are not working at Wal Mart to make ends meet.
Looking at the construction cost and expected power output, I doubt they’ll power at any commercially acceptable rate, which is the bankruptcy guarantee.
It was positively mind-boggling! The size of the facility, the enormous acreage that it covers in which every available bit of space is covered with solar panels in two separate enormous circular configurations, with the control operations in the center of the circles is indeed jaw dropping, a facility that must be seen to be believed, especially as you drop in on it from the very edges of the atmosphere.
I want to express my utmost appreciation for having informed us of it because it is like nothing ever seen. Thanks again very much.
If a bird is killed in flight and plummets crashing into one of the mirrors, how much will it cost? How often will this happen?
Meanwhile here in Cow Hampshire we have a fight going on to bring Hydro Electric power down from Quebec into NH and southern New England. It is billion dollar project that will create hundreds of jobs called the Northern Pass. The power comes from the dams on the St. Lawrence seaway and other hydro electric projects in Quebec. It does not add any CO2 to the atmosphere and can be produced 24/7 for about $.001/KW. However, because the people up in northern NH do not want high tension power lines in their backyard(I can’t blame them)the project has been a big fight backed by the environmental groups. They will probably have to bury some of the lines to get it approved. There is only about 30 miles of right of way they are fighting over. In most of the state it will travel over existing right of ways. Also, there are absolutely no endangered birds, frogs, bats, grasshoppers or fish that will be hurt in any way.
Environmentalists protest anything that impedes the flow of Arab oil.