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CindyB 11-18-2014 05:41 PM

Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Quote:

Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short

November 17, 2014 - 1:40 pm Updated November 17, 2014 - 6:17 pm

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES — The largest solar power plant of its type in the world — once promoted as a turning point in green energy — isn’t producing as much energy as planned.

One of the reasons is as basic as it gets: The sun isn’t shining as much as expected.

Sprawling across approximately 5 square miles of federal desert near the California-Nevada border south of Las Vegas, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened in February, with operators saying it would produce enough electricity to power a city of 140,000 homes.

So far, however, the plant is producing about half of its expected annual output for 2014, according to calculations by the California Energy Commission.

It had been projected to produce its full capacity for eight hours a day, on average.

“Factors such as clouds, jet contrails and weather have had a greater impact on the plant than the owners anticipated,” the agency said in a statement.

It could take until 2018 for the plant, backed by $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees, to hit its annual peak target, said NRG Energy Inc., which operates the plant and co-owns it with Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy.

“During startup, we have experienced … equipment challenges, typical with any new technology, combined with irregular weather patterns,” NRG spokesman Jeff Holland said in a statement. “We are confident that Ivanpah’s long-term generation projections will meet expectations.”

The technology used at Ivanpah is different from the familiar photovoltaic panels commonly used for rooftop solar installations.

The plant’s solar-thermal system — sometimes called concentrated-solar thermal — relies on nearly 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors at the site, each the size of a garage door.

The mirrors reflect sunlight to boilers atop 459-foot towers — each taller than the Statue of Liberty. The resulting steam drives turbines to create electricity.

When the $2.2 billion complex opened, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz called it a “symbol of the exciting progress” in renewable energy.

Although the agency still says the project remains in good standing, Kaitlin Meese, an analyst at research firm Bentek Energy, said its early production figures “do not paint a strong picture for solar-thermal technology development.”

The operation of such plants is highly dependent on weather conditions, and predicting when and how strongly the sun will shine is not a perfect science.

A little bit of inefficiency with mirrors can translate into a loss of power output ranging from small to significant, said Neil Fromer, executive director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at the California Institute of Technology.

Problems could include getting the thousands of mirrors pointed in precisely the right direction, especially in the cool early morning, or keeping them clean in the dusty Mojave Desert.

Operators initially expected to need steam from gas-powered boilers for an hour a day during startup. After operations began, they found they needed to keep boilers running more than four times longer — an average of 4½ hours a day.

State energy regulators in August approved the plant’s request to increase the natural gas it is allowed to burn by 60 percent.

Additional natural gas could also be needed to operate boilers when clouds thicken or to maintain output at the end of the day and extend the capability for power production, the company said.

“Because the plant requires sunlight to heat water and turn it to steam, anything that reduces the sunlight will affect steam conditions, which could damage equipment and potentially cause unsafe conditions,” said the commission, which approved the request for increased gas use.

Fromer said it was surprising that so much additional gas is needed, adding that it “signals to me they have some very large problems that they are going to need to sort out.”

Plants owners said they are learning on the fly to some extent.

“For some aspects of operation, the only way to fully understand how the systems work has been through the experience of operating,” plant owners wrote in the request to increase gas use.


The sun shines here most of the time, at least 85% of the time.
And I'm shocked they put some of the blame on chemtrails, AKA contrails, of all things. :rolls

FrancSevin 11-18-2014 05:50 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CindyB (Post 713568)
Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short | Las Vegas Review-Journal



The sun shines here most of the time, at least 85% of the time.
And I'm shocked they put some of the blame on chemtrails, AKA contrails, of all things. :rolls

I'm not at all surprised. the Green energy guys are from the same gene pool as our Congress which funds their schemes with piles of tax dollars. Excuses for failure is a common ailment.

the very concept of "your Cockamamie idea just doesn't work in the real world" is foreign to them.

Dog Man 11-18-2014 05:50 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CindyB (Post 713568)
Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short | Las Vegas Review-Journal



The sun shines here most of the time, at least 85% of the time.
And I'm shocked they put some of the blame on chemtrails, AKA contrails, of all things. :rolls

The sun shines a lot more than 85% of the time in Southern Nevada. I can count on both hands how many cloudy days in the last year. There may be clouds 85% of the time, but they do not block the sun 85% of the time, I wish they did.

CindyB 11-18-2014 07:20 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Sunniest Places in United States - Current Results

Quote:

Sunniest Places in United States

Yuma, Arizona tops the list of places in United States with the most sun. Generally it's sunny in Yuma for 90% of the time from sunrise to sunset. In fact, with its typical 4300 sunny hours a year, Yuma achieves the world record for most recorded annual average sunshine.


Besides holding the highest annual total, Yuma gets more sunshine in each month, except for July, August and September, than any other US location.

The least brightest month there is December, when the sun still shines during 82% of daylight hours. That's a lot more than most places get in any month of the year. During the summer months, Redding, Fresno and Sacramento take over as the sunniest spots in the country.

The largest proportion of sun any place in the US averages for a month is 97% . Yuma reaches that mark in June, Fresno and Sacramento in July, and Redding in both July and August.

Places in the US with sunshine more than 75% of the time from sunrise to sunset.
% sunshine is the percentage of time between sunrise and sunset that sun reaches the earth's surface.

City ------------ % Sunshine
Yuma, Arizona------ 90
Redding California--- 88
Phoenix, Arizona----- 85
Tucson, Arizona------ 85
Las Vegas, Nevada-- 85
El Paso, Texas------- 84
Fresno, California---- 79
Reno, Nevada-------- 79
Flagstaff, Arizona---- 78
Sacramento, Ca -----78
Pueblo, Colorado----- 76
Key West, Florida---- 76
Albuquerque, NM ---- 76


Hairy Jello 11-18-2014 07:30 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Solar plants failing and losing money hand over fist isn't news!

Mikeyy 11-18-2014 10:50 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Do you guys all work for big oil? I know lots of people with solar on their homes and they like it. I have had solar water heating and it works great. Kept my pool at 90 degrees. Too hot really. Ya'll keep those negative stories coming while you watch your neighbors install panels. :thumbsup

Jackass master 11-18-2014 11:35 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Solar and wind will never replace steam turbines for reliable continuous electric production. They will drive the costs out of this world though.

Hairy Jello 11-18-2014 11:37 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikeyy (Post 713631)
Ya'll keep those negative stories coming while you watch your neighbors install panels. :thumbsup

I don't mind. I like knowing which neighbors are retarded.

jimbo 11-18-2014 11:38 PM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
The article cited is just a small part of the problems mentioned. Among others:

The plant is killing birds at the rate of over 700/day. Many of these are species on the endangered or threatened lists. There are so many being killed that one proposal to locate the dead and injured birds is to train dogs to find them.

This does not include land dwelling species, the most prominent of which is the desert tortoise, which were moved at a cost of 56 million. Turns out that the move didn't work as well as expected, and a recent proposal is use another hundreds of acres to fence and dedicate to desert tortoise habitat. There are also several other species of endangered mammals and reptiles and plants that have lost their environment.

The plant is now allotted 5.5 times the original estimate of gas usage, while the plant is currently producing about half the design energy. I cannot find estimates of increased pollution, but presumably 5.5 times more natural gas would produce 5.5 times the pollution.

Pilots are complaining of the danger of stray light blinding them. (It is illegal to shine laser beams or other high intensity light at planes. Apparently this does not apply to solar mirrors)

Plant construction and footprint destroyed 3500 acres of public land. By contrast a nuclear plant producing a similar amount of energy would use 38 acres, and at less potential damage to the environment.

All this from a plant paid for with a 1.3 billion loan guarantee from the taxpayer, which the plant owners claim to be unable to pay. Their solution is a 500+ million grant from the taxpayer so that the loan will not fall in arrears. Said grant has been applied for. I'd give odds they will get it.

There is good news concerning California solar, however. Last month a similar proposed plant was scrapped.

Mikeyy 11-19-2014 12:11 AM

Re: Giant Ivanpah solar plant south of Las Vegas falls short
 
So use oil and coal or you are retarded?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hairy Jello (Post 713651)
I don't mind. I like knowing which neighbors are retarded.



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