The Ivanpah thermal solar plant has been operating all three towers in the facility since the first of the year. That according to the San Bernardino Sun on 2/3/14– World’s largest solar thermal plant comes on line near state line. They hosted a grand opening on 2/13/14, as mentioned here.
All three towers are in operation. At peak point of output, while the sun is up, when there aren’t any clouds in the sky, and when the towers are actually working (see comment later in this post), the three towers will be able to produce a maximum of 392MW. Of this, 259 MW will go to Pacific Gas and Electric in the bay area and 133 MW (from unit 3) will go to SCE here in Southern California, according to the article.
On the other hand, Chris Clarke reports on 1/30 that Ivanpah Solar Project Quietly Goes Online — Or Does It?
Continue reading “Largest solar plant comes on line, sort of – solar #10”
(photo by James Ulvog)
As The $2.2 Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project hosted an open house yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran an article with that title. The article is summarized in the article’s subtitle, At California’s Ivanpah Plant, Mirrors Produce Heat and Electricity—And Kill Wildlife.
The article is above the fold on the front page of the second section. There are two great photos of the facility. My photo of the plant is above.
If you are just tuning in to the environmental damage caused by solar farms, the above article would be a great place to start.
Continue reading “Wall Street Journal article about “Bird-Scorching” – solar #9”
(Photo by James Ulvog)
Previous post highlighted financial info about solar farms I learned from an article in the Canada Free Press dated 1-18-14: Hard Times Hit Large Scale Solar Energy.
This post describes new info I learned about the environmental damage from the Ivanpah solar farm.
Next post will paint a picture of how I’m guessing one solar farm was financed and discuss the prospects for future thermal farms.
The article linked above goes into detail on the environmental damage from the Ivanpah project I’ve discussed before.
Continue reading “Environmental harm along with not-so-good financial results for thermal solar farms, part 2 – solar #8”
I’ve been wanting to find some financial info for the operations of a solar farm.
Wow, did I hit the jackpot with an article from the Canada Free Press dated 1-18-14: Hard Times Hit Large Scale Solar Energy.
I will extract some of the financial tidbits and reorganize them.
Here’s the summary reason (broken into bullet points) why solar power plants aren’t getting built very fast:
Solar companies are going out of business because solar power is not economic without large government subsidies and incentives;
projects are being canceled because of lack of financing;
saving threatened or endangered species, such as the desert tortoise, is costing solar developers dearly; and
once built, solar developers are having difficulty in negotiating agreements to sell their power to utilities because solar power requires higher rates than what utilities pay for power from traditional energy sources.
General relationship of electricity costs
Continue reading “Financial results not looking good for wing-toasters, part 1 – solar #7”
K Kaufmann from The Desert Sun has a followup report to the article I discussed here and here. Newer report, which I just read recently, is from 11/22/13: What to do about bird deaths at solar and wind farms.
Regulatory compliance reports are summarized for the Ivanpah solar farm. Here’s the data:
- September – 34 dead birds – 15 with melted wings
- October – 53 dead birds – 22 with melted wings
The wing-toasting facility’s mortality count went up in October. Not quite the trend needed to argue solar farms aren’t hurting birds.
Continue reading “Some updates on bird fatalities at solar farms (solar #6)”
Opening photo is of a feet-up bufflehead duck 25 miles from the nearest water.
Where was he? Between two rows of solar panels at the Genesis Solar farm in the California desert.
Condition? Decomposing. He is feet-up, as I said.
Cause of death? Unknown. Your guess is as good as the reporter’s.
Chris Clarke reports in ReWire on 7-17-13: Water Birds Turning Up Dead at Solar Projects in the Desert.
Continue reading “Reasons unknown why so many migratory birds are showing up dead at solar farms (solar #5)”
I’m slowly catching up on the happenings in the solar industry. In my research for this series of articles, I’ve learned the Palen Solar Electric Generating System was put on hold by the California Energy Commission this past December.
If you think I’m slow on the uptake, keep in mind the purpose of this blog is to learn what’s going on around me. I may be a slow learner but I’m learning.
Joshua Hill explains at Clean Technica on 12/20/13: California Blocks Another Concentrated Solar Power Project. Continue reading “Palen solar farm on hold – solar #4”
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a huge solar farm in California near the Nevada border. It is quite visible just north of I-15 a few miles south of the border. An article at the Washington Post by Lenny Bernstein provides a lot of background on the solar farm: Solar on a grand scale: Big power plants coming online in the West.
All photos in this post are of the Ivanpah solar farm and were taken by me in October 2013. Photo above shows one tower in operation and the lake-like mirrors around it.
Since I expect to be writing about Ivanpah and other thermal solar facilities in the future, here’s some of the general background from the 1,500 word article.
Mirrors reflect sunlight to one of three towers, which heats the tower to 1,000 degrees. The tower glows white-hot when in operation. Continue reading “Background of Ivanpah solar farm – solar #3”
Previous post started a discussion of the danger solar farms pose to migratory and other birds.
This pair of posts is based on an article in My Desert on 11/9/13 by K Kaufmann of The Desert Sun: Palen project raises concerns across Coachella Valley.
A few of the known fatalities
Some comments from the article referenced above –
Thermal farm damage:
Of the 34 birds reported dead or injured at Ivanpah in September, 15 had melted feathers.
Dozens of other bird carcasses, not singed but with critical injuries, have been found in recent months at two solar projects about to go online…
Continue reading “Solar farms = wing-toasters (part 2, solar #2)”
The photo is of a dead northern rough-winged swallow.
Gloved hands extend the wings. There’s something odd.
Many of the feathers are gone. With the wings spread out, all that’s visible is the torso and charred spines where the wings should be. Looks like they were cut off.
Or burned off.
What could toast the wings off a swallow?
Continue reading “Solar farms = wing-toasters (part 1, solar #1)”
I’ve spent a large portion of the day researching and writing about solar farms. Been going through a backlog of articles saved over the last few months.
Monday Tuesday will be the start of a series. Currently have 6 posts written. (update – make that 9 posts with a couple of articles saved for future posts.) Plan to accumulate them in a page like the Peak Oil series.
You will soon see why I have already started calling solar farms wing-toasters. You might say I’m not amused.
A few minor pieces of news on the solar and wind power industries.
Possible end of 2.3 cent/kilowatt subsidy
The Wall Street Journal hopefully describes Powering Down the Wind Subsidy. Unless Congress affirmatively acts, the large subsidy to wind power will expire on 12-31-13.
Continue reading “Minor updates on slice-and-dice & wing-toaster projects”
Here’s an analysis you won’t see trumpeted very widely – The Dickenson Press carries an article by Deroy Murdock – Fracking outgreens “green” energy.
After describing the unobtrusive scene of five producing gas wells running from a three-acre pad he previously visited in the middle of drilling, he describes the ecological footprint of gas versus the ‘green’ energy sources.
He compares different industries in terms of a common size. Here is his data:
Water used to generate one million BTUs of energy output: Continue reading “Natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar. Which is easiest on water, land, and wildlife? Um. Keep it quiet, but that would be gas.”
Million Dollar Way ponders The Irony Of It All – North Dakota Will Lose More Grassland, More Wetlands To Ethanol Than To The Oil And Gas Industry:
And with an ever-increasing number of slicers and dicers killing bats, eagles, hawks, and whooping cranes, the oil and gas industry is starting to look like an oasis of common sense.
Four industries: wind power, solar power, ethanol, and oil & gas. What common sense is visible seems to be in oil & gas.
…is environmentally unfriendly. Maybe. Probably. Possibly.
Continue reading “Compared to slice-and-dice, wing-toasters, and corn-for-gasoline industries, seems like oil and gas is an oasis of common sense”