Ivanpah solar plant in California starts energy feed to grid

Sep 27, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog

The world's largest solar thermal plant began to feed energy into the power grid on Tuesday, considered a solar energy milestone, in a project scheduled to be fully operational by the end of the year. The system delivered its first kilowatts of power Tuesday to Pacific Gas & Electric in California, from one of three central-tower units, with the remaining two to be activated next. Power generated from Ivanpah's initial sync testing to PG&E is under a power purchase agreement for energy produced out of the plant's Unit 1 station. Power generated from the Unit 3 station is also for PG&E. Unit 2 is under an agreement with Southern California Edison. Proof-of-concept testing will also be conducted at Units 2 and 3 in the coming months.

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is located in the Mojave Desert, covering some 3,500 acres of public land, The system gets its name from the Ivanpah Valley of the Mojave. The Tuesday event, said its backers, confirms the system's operational readiness. "Given the magnitude and complexity of Ivanpah, it was very important that we successfully complete this milestone showing all systems were on track," said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar, one of the plant's owners. NRG partners are BrightSource and Google, as well as Bechtel, responsible for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning on the project. (BrightSource Energy is the developer; NRG Energy; BrightSource Energy and Google are the owners; and Bechtel Engineering is the contractor.) This is a 392 megawatt (377 megawatt net) plant.

A report about the project in IEEE Spectrum calls out a noteworthy feature about the system, in the context of its nature as a CSP (concentrating solar power) project, using mirrors aimed at central towers. "There are other large concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in the Middle East and Spain, but most of the growth in solar in the United States has come from photovoltaic (PV) panel projects, which have come down considerably in price in recent years," said the report.

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CSP supporters say that while PV is cheap, it cannot incorporate storage using molten salts or other ideas the way that CSP can, and does not add value to the overall grid the way CSP does. CSP projects use large mirrors aimed at large central towers that create steam to drive turbines. There are three 459-foot-tall towers encircled by the large mirror sets. John Upton, writing in the environmental news site Grist, said the Ivanpah was "a startling sight" in the Mojave Desert. "Three sprawling units each contain a circular array of mirrors reflecting rays from the sun toward a 459-foot central tower."

California has a goal to get 33 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Ivanpah will be reducing carbon emissions by some 400,000 tons per year over its 30-year service life. Back in 2012, Smithsonian.com took notice of the project's future impact, writing that the desert was blooming with construction crews setting up mirrors, each 70 square feet, at a rate of 500 per day across some 3,500 acres. Once fully operational, the 392 megawatt plant will generate enough electricity to 140,000 homes annually.

Explore further: First of four Fukushima reactors cleared of nuclear fuel

More information: spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/e… nt-syncs-to-the-grid
grist.org/business-technology/… ed-up-in-california/
ivanpahsolar.com/

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Shootist
1.7 / 5 (30) Sep 27, 2013
What an incredible waste . . . just damn.

Where's the important work? Where are the new fission plants? Idiot Luddites.
shavera
4.2 / 5 (20) Sep 27, 2013
Look, all your various trolling aside, why not make use of energy that's available? The sun shines down. Might as well make electricity out of sun shining on otherwise empty terrain. This can be in addition to other power sources. No reason not to pursue all responsible options.
MR166
1.6 / 5 (25) Sep 27, 2013
"CSP projects use large mirrors aimed at large central towers that create steam to drive turbines. "

I wonder how much water these steam turbines consume. Is most of it recycled or do they need to tap aquifers and use a large amount of water?
djr
3.5 / 5 (14) Sep 27, 2013
Idiot Luddites.

If you're so smart Shootist - just organize yourself a little crowd funding project - and get building.

Or maybe the thousands of engineers working on the issue of our energy future know a little more than you - and you are the idiot luddite.
djr
4.5 / 5 (15) Sep 27, 2013
@MR166 " LPT 550 uses air-cooling to convert the steam back into water. Compared to conventional wet-cooling, this results in a 90 percent reduction in water usage, at some loss in power and turbine efficiency. The water is then returned to the boiler in a closed process. From Wikipedia...
CapitalismPrevails
1.5 / 5 (24) Sep 27, 2013
Look, all your various trolling aside, why not make use of energy that's available? The sun shines down. Might as well make electricity out of sun shining on otherwise empty terrain. This can be in addition to other power sources. No reason not to pursue all responsible options.

Might as well promote malinvestment as much as possible. The money thrown at this solar plant could have easily gone towards better uses. I would bet a lot of money this plant turns into a dinosaur because it can't pull it's own weight without government support which will ultimately run dry at some point. Pet projects like these are nothing but costs on society. How profitable is it for the private sector? How profitable is it for the government on a tax revenue basis besides being politically profitable?
djr
3.5 / 5 (16) Sep 27, 2013
@captilasmprevails - Do you have any idea what the cost of cleaning up Fukushima is going to come to? Probably thousands of times more than the cost of Ivanpah. Perhaps it is a good idea that we develop the know how to run renewable energy - just like we did with fossil fuels.
CapitalismPrevails
1.7 / 5 (23) Sep 27, 2013
@djr - Why are you assuming i support conventional nuclear power plants? They wouldn't be financed by the private sector if it weren't for government loan guarantees distorting the market and creating disproportional risk. The private sector alone would never build BWR or PWR reactors because the chance of an accident would be too much of a liability cost to pay for as shown by Fukushima. The risk reward ratio would not be favorable in comparison to coal or oil. Power utilities are even mandated to purchase nuclear power at whatever cost because nuclear power still isn't competitive. Probably the only reason we have the legacy nuclear industry today is because weapons grade plutonium could be made as a by-product of uranium in these plants and they have a legal monopoly anyways.
Apex2001
1.6 / 5 (16) Sep 27, 2013
@MR166 " LPT 550 uses air-cooling to convert the steam back into water. Compared to conventional wet-cooling, this results in a 90 percent reduction in water usage, at some loss in power and turbine efficiency. The water is then returned to the boiler in a closed process. From Wikipedia...


It would be interesting if they could use thermoelectric materials to recycle the lost energy in heat and also recycle the water.
djr
3.9 / 5 (13) Sep 27, 2013
@capitalismPrevails - if you are not supporting conventional nuclear power plants - then what are you supporting? Please give a real world example of this thing your are supporting (that does not use government supports). Personally I am in favor of pursuing nuclear options such as LFTR's - but they will need government support. I also favor supporting renewables - just as we have done for many years with the oil and gas industry. We need to get beyond fossil fuels - and into a clean, cheap renewable energy economy. It will help to have government supports - as is currently happening.
packrat
2.9 / 5 (21) Sep 27, 2013
@Apex2001 The water is recycled but there is always some small loses in any steam plant. I doubt there would be much that could be recycled in lost heat due to the fact that if the plant is decently efficient the left over steam will be condensing in a vacuum before it gets fed back to the boilers. It isn't really very hot by the time it gets to the main condenser.
CapitalismPrevails
1.5 / 5 (22) Sep 27, 2013
@djr - I support whatever the free market chooses b/c the free market will always choose the most cost effective technology, IE means of doing more with less. LFTRs sound like a great idea when it comes to doing more w/ less & i follow the subject often. It seems to me LFTRs shouldn't need government funding if it's a good idea. A technology like LFTRs should certainly triumph over traditional uranium/plutonium reactors & possibly fossil fuels. Bill Gates is investing in thorium reactor technology & the flood gates of private investors would swing open if the DOE would stop crowding out the market so private enterprise would have room to breath in the sector. I don't advocate for supposed "green" energy b/c they have inferior EROEI ratios in comparison to fossil fuels, IE they're not a means of doing more w/ less.Therefor, they can't be greener than fossil fuels. I say stop subsidizing "green" energy & let the market work just like solar prices have fallen b/c of subsidies being cut.
shavera
4.1 / 5 (14) Sep 27, 2013
actually capitalism, one role government often plays is in technological research that may (and often does) lead to dead ends. That's why businesses are so hesitant to (and practically never) fund fundamental scientific research. In this case, we have a test facility to demonstrate a working concentrated solar plant. If it's economically feasible, then other businesses will surely take the concept and run. If not, then it's one more thing that investors didn't risk money over in an unproven technology.

I know LFTR is very internet famous these days, but it's got a lot of engineering challenges. And again, at its heart, is government funding. Government funding that's willing to take on tough challenges businesses don't. If it pans out, companies will build them and sell their power. If it doesn't... we'll try something else, we never put all our eggs in one energy basket.
shavera
4.3 / 5 (16) Sep 27, 2013
as for the more general statement, economically speaking, you're not paying the full cost when you pay for energy using fossil fuel sources. Those fossil fuels damage areas that people live, damage crops and other production, so really you're stealing from other people's production to subsidize the production of energy by burning hydrocarbons. So it's really the fossil fuel industry that's the "moocher" class, profiting off of others' hard work by selling their products at an artificially low price.

But I wouldn't expect you to subscribe to any but the most naive of economic models.where costs are what you pay for a thing and no more, and benefits are the profit you receive from selling a thing and no more.
VendicarE
3.3 / 5 (15) Sep 28, 2013
"Where are the new fission plants?" - ShooTard

People have proven themselves too retarded to be trusted to reliably operating fission plants, so as a result the retards will no longer be permitted to build them.

It is a shame really that your people don't have the brains to be trusted at the controls of a nuclear reactor.
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (13) Sep 28, 2013
"I wonder how much water these steam turbines consume." - Mr166

Why wonder? You have been given the power output, and you know the energy needed to boil water. So you can estimate how much water is used.

What is keeping you?
VendicarE
3.5 / 5 (17) Sep 28, 2013
"The money thrown at this solar plant could have easily gone towards better uses." - CapitalismHasFailed

Yup, like improving consumptive efficiency.

Unfortunately Republicans and energy corporations are opposed to that since it reduces the amount of money being funneled into their bank accounts.

Corruption.
VendicarE
3.5 / 5 (16) Sep 28, 2013
"Pet projects like these are nothing but costs on society." - CapitalismHasFailed

When do you intend to start paying the cost of the environmental and health related damages caused by Carbon based fuels?

When do you intend to start transferring the cost of America's war for oil in the Middle East to the cost per gallon of gasoline you pay at the pump?

Let us know when you intend to get off your fat, stupid, ass, and internalize those externalities.

VendicarE
3.2 / 5 (17) Sep 28, 2013
"I support whatever the free market chooses" - CapitalismHasFailed

The free market chooses child prostitution and all manner of immorality and socially destructive deviancy.

It is one of the reasons why America is such a spectacular failure.
djr
3.8 / 5 (16) Sep 28, 2013
"I support whatever the free market chooses"

But there is no free market. Fossil fuels are subsidized in many different ways. Nuclear is heavily government supported.

The pure free markey would choose sending little chidren down the coal mines - with no safety equipment. The coal would be cheap - and let's not worry about the mercury emmissions - what's a few million dead people? Don't you understand that we have a mixed economy for good reasons?
depth12
2.3 / 5 (15) Sep 28, 2013
@djr - I support whatever the free market chooses b/c the free market will always choose the most cost effective technology

If it were upto freemarket we wouldn't have NASA, Large hadron collider,Nuclear reactor, Fusion technology, Oil industries, Medical breakthroughs, vaccines, Roads, Internet, etc list will go on.
This is most uneducated opinion ever i have seen. You have no idea how a country works or how a economy works . You clearly have agenda to spread misinformation and bashing these projects because it goes against your agenda.
meBigGuy
3.6 / 5 (15) Sep 28, 2013
The free market ALWAYS chooses to exploit the vulnerable. As for your fantasy about choosing the most cost effective, it is just that - a fantasy. The free market is driven by short term profits and greed. So many simple examples to prove that. Very few exceptions.

Can't understand why people bitch so much when something they are adamantly opposed to on dogmatic political grounds turns out to work really well.

OMG -- could have build a fission plant
OMG -- could have researched cold fusion
OMG -- could have drilled more oilwells
kochevnik
2.9 / 5 (18) Sep 28, 2013
@CapitalismFails - I support whatever the free market chooses b/c the free market will always choose the most cost effective technology
By 'free market' you mean 'deregulation' which means you DO NOT support a free market, but instead trusts, robber barons and oligarchs

The first thing that emerged in capitalist Russia was the mafia
VendicarE
3.3 / 5 (13) Sep 28, 2013
"If it were upto freemarket we wouldn't have NASA, Large hadron collider,Nuclear reactor, Fusion technology, Oil industries, Medical breakthroughs, vaccines, Roads, Internet, etc list will go on." - Depth12

That is the goal that Libertaraisn and Randites have chosen as their target for America.

Some have even told me that they would sell the right to consume air, and collect rain water to Corporatons and bar people from the consumption without paying a fee to those corporations.

retrosurf
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 28, 2013
This thing is gorgeous. It's enormous, out there in the desert. I've driven past while it was under construction, and I am looking forward to seeing it in operation.

The war in Afghanistan costs 300 million a day. This Ivanpah plant has a subsidy from the DOE of 1.6 billion. It costs less than a week of the ongoing fiasco in the Graveyard of Empires.

DOE funding doesn't "crowd out" private investment: it amplifies it. Even the most cursory examination of the numerous small grants made (a million dollars or less) will bear this out, and the records are public.

The assertion that advanced nuclear power will thrive in a private investment setting is ridiculous. No municipality will allow nuclear power without insurance, and no private insurer will step up to write the contract. The Federal Government handles insurance for nuclear power here in the US.

ShotmanMaslo
1.7 / 5 (17) Sep 28, 2013
CSP with molten salt storage is one of the more perspective renewables. At the cost of 2.2 billion it is not even that expensive.

Does anyone know if the 377 megawats is peak power or around the clock?
ShotmanMaslo
1.6 / 5 (17) Sep 28, 2013
The assertion that advanced nuclear power will thrive in a private investment setting is ridiculous. No municipality will allow nuclear power without insurance, and no private insurer will step up to write the contract.


And what makes you think that? There are private companies that insure nuclear plants, particularly outside of US. Modern plants are even considered lucrative to insure because the risk is very low.
MR166
1.3 / 5 (23) Sep 28, 2013
"The assertion that advanced nuclear power will thrive in a private investment setting is ridiculous. No municipality will allow nuclear power without insurance, and no private insurer will step up to write the contract. The Federal Government handles insurance for nuclear power here in the US."

Of course there will be no new private investment in nuclear power since the politics involved will triple the construction costs and there is no guarantee that, once finished, a new plant would even get a license to operate.

Storing used fuel rods at each facility is ludicrous! This insures that any major problems will be 10 times worse and dramatically increases the chances of the rods getting into the wrong hands. We already have a central storage facility available and just need to authorize it's use.

djr
4.1 / 5 (13) Sep 28, 2013
@MR166 "Storing used fuel rods at each facility is ludicrous! "

And there you have the problem don't you? Tepco engineers wrote a report - detailing what would happen to the diesel gennys if there was a tsunami. The management buried the report - because it would have cost too much to protect the gennys. No gennys - no cooling - oops. Now we have an open ended clean up bill. So if you rely on the free market - you get Fukushima. It is clearly more intelligent to put our investment behind renewables such as Ivanpah - the latest data is showing we will actually have cheaper power that way too. Several companies have a road plan to $0.35 a watt solar panels within a few years. Then it is game over - it makes sense from an economic perspective - as well as an environmental one.
MR166
1.5 / 5 (22) Sep 28, 2013
DJR I finally agree with you 101%. If Tepco had only asked the international community for help, IE airlift in replacement generators, most of the disaster would have been averted. Yes, man is too stupid to run a nuclear power plant that is capable of going into thermal runaway.

But government and their regulations are just as useless. The Japaneses government could have asked for help but did not.

I know that you think that the green movement has the best interests of the earths long term survival at heart but if that is true why is hydroelectric not considered "Green" and why do solar and wind qualify for carbon credits but not hydroelectric? Why has there been a concerted effort to close hydroelectric generators? Why are birds and bats less important than fish?
obama_socks
1.2 / 5 (19) Sep 28, 2013
Personally, I support this because "CSP projects use large mirrors aimed at large central towers that create steam to drive turbines." The use of water to steam to water to steam, etc. in an enclosed "pipeline" is both economical and environmentally friendly...and the excess energy runs the lights and provides electricity for power tools when needed by construction crews.
It IS clean energy and the fact that it is out in the Mojave Desert (where the Sun shines most of the time), using only about 3,500 acres and is well away from populated areas is appealing.

I am wondering how much Pacific Gas & Electric will be paying to Ivanpah for the electricity, and will PG&E pass on any reduced rates to their customers.
obama_socks
1.2 / 5 (22) Sep 28, 2013
However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden or anywhere where there is not an abundance of direct sunshine all or most of the time.
djr
3.8 / 5 (11) Sep 28, 2013
MR166 "I know that you think that the green movement has the best interests of the earths long term survival at heart"

I don't know what you mean by the green movement. I am an individual - with my own thoughts. I like technology and science. I don't see this as a political battle - I see it as a battle for a more intelligent species. A move to carbon neutral energy sources is part of that process. You are correct - governments are highly dysfunctional - as are corporations. I don't have the answers - more of an observer. The free market alone is no the solution - it must have some oversight - at least until we evolve beyond the point of the insanity of war and religion. Hang on for the ride.

kochevnik
2.4 / 5 (15) Sep 28, 2013
However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden or anywhere where there is not an abundance of direct sunshine all or most of the time.
That is why the Saudis are making big investments in solar
I know that you think that the green movement has the best interests of the earths long term survival at heart but if that is true why is hydroelectric not considered "Green" and why do solar and wind qualify for carbon credits but not hydroelectric?
Dams fill with silt and become useless after a century
ShotmanMaslo
1.3 / 5 (16) Sep 29, 2013
Several companies have a road plan to $0.35 a watt solar panels within a few years. Then it is game over - it makes sense from an economic perspective - as well as an environmental one.


Nope, even if solar panels were free it would be problematic to use them on a large scale, because of intermittency. Cost of installation is not the major problem of renewables, intermittency is.
djr
3.8 / 5 (13) Sep 29, 2013
Shotman - "Cost of installation is not the major problem of renewables, intermittency is."

I guess you did not read this article. Intermittency is certainly an issue to be dealt with - and one that the engineers are doing a great job working with. We are developing storage technologies - such as the molten salts in this project. Solar is doing a great job of supplying peak power in communities that have a high demand, and high supply that match well. In time - renewables are going to supply all of our power needs - you are just myopic.
mrlewish
4.4 / 5 (9) Sep 29, 2013
Instead of bickering about what is the most economical source of energy might we all agree that using any source of energy should be done in as efficient way as possible? Better insulation, energy saving appliances, shorter commute times and distance. etc.
Neinsense99
2.4 / 5 (19) Sep 29, 2013
However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden or anywhere where there is not an abundance of direct sunshine all or most of the time.

Except that at high latitudes the sun is above the horizon for much longer periods every day during the summer, meaning much more available energy than you assume. Thus the expression 'midnight sun'.
VendicarE
3.7 / 5 (12) Sep 29, 2013
"However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden" - TardieSox

Similarly wheels are fine on the ground but no good let's say in space.

So I guess, wheels like thermal solar, are just no damn good at all.

VendicarE
3.1 / 5 (15) Sep 29, 2013
"Cost of installation is not the major problem of renewables, intermittency is." - Shotman

And yet in some areas we now have 30 percent renewables supplying the grid.

No problems yet.

Perhaps your problem meter is stuck on Retard.

Kiwini
1.5 / 5 (23) Sep 29, 2013
However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden or anywhere where there is not an abundance of direct sunshine all or most of the time.

Except that at high latitudes the sun is above the horizon for much longer periods every day during the summer, meaning much more available energy than you assume. Thus the expression 'midnight sun'.


Let us know when you have a battery/power storage installation that will last through those long dark months when there are only two or three hours of seeing the sun, hovering just above the southern horizon, IF it's clear enough to be seen. Whatever you might gain in daylight during the warm parts of the year you'll more than pay back a few months later.

As usual, you've provided an answer that only reveals the "good" parts, ignoring the downsides that reality always brings...

You never fail to disappoint.
kochevnik
2.5 / 5 (13) Sep 29, 2013
However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden or anywhere where there is not an abundance of direct sunshine all or most of the time.

Except that at high latitudes the sun is above the horizon for much longer periods every day during the summer, meaning much more available energy than you assume. Thus the expression 'midnight sun'.


Let us know when you have a battery/power storage installation that will last through those long dark months when there are only two or three hours of seeing the sun, hovering just above the southern horizon, IF it's clear enough to be seen. Whatever you might gain in daylight during the warm parts of the year you'll more than pay back a few months later.

You never fail to disappoint.
That never happens in South California you shill
Neinsense99
2.9 / 5 (19) Sep 29, 2013
...

Except that at high latitudes the sun is above the horizon for much longer periods every day during the summer, meaning much more available energy than you assume. Thus the expression 'midnight sun'.


Let us know when you have a battery/power storage installation that will last through those long dark months when there are only two or three hours of seeing the sun, hovering just above the southern horizon, IF it's clear enough to be seen. Whatever you might gain in daylight during the warm parts of the year you'll more than pay back a few months later.

As usual, you've provided an answer that only reveals the "good" parts, ignoring the downsides that reality always brings...

You never fail to disappoint.

I never claimed that it would provide all-year power. It obviously would not. I merely pointed out a fact, which you parlayed into an attack on what I did not say. You and your ilk are predictable in your straw man tactics.
Neinsense99
2.5 / 5 (18) Sep 29, 2013
It's future's so bright, it oughta wear shades. B)
VendicarE
3.2 / 5 (10) Sep 30, 2013
"Let us know when you have a battery/power storage installation that will last through those long dark months" - Kiwini

What in the world makes you think it would need to?

Do you have a brain tumor?

Neinsense99
2.5 / 5 (16) Sep 30, 2013
"However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden" - TardieSox

Similarly wheels are fine on the ground but no good let's say in space.

So I guess, wheels like thermal solar, are just no damn good at all.


That's the classic 'perfect solution fallacy': http://en.wikiped..._fallacy
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (11) Sep 30, 2013
and the excess energy runs the lights and provides electricity for power tools when needed by construction crews
I was just wondering how construction crews would get power for their tools from an unfinished power plant which they are building? Anyone?
Neinsense99
2.2 / 5 (19) Sep 30, 2013
and the excess energy runs the lights and provides electricity for power tools when needed by construction crews
I was just wondering how construction crews would get power for their tools from an unfinished power plant which they are building? Anyone?

Presumably a basic setup will be ready, and as more mirrors, support facilities, additional generators, more storage, etc. is added, workers can charge their tools from what is already working. Perhaps there will also be a separate photovoltaic generation system during the early phases. I expect the capacity to be expanded after it gets going.
Neinsense99
2.1 / 5 (15) Oct 01, 2013
"However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden" - TardieSox

Similarly wheels are fine on the ground but no good let's say in space.

So I guess, wheels like thermal solar, are just no damn good at all.


That's the classic 'perfect solution fallacy': http://en.wikiped..._fallacy

To which the Kiwini rating troll responds with an automatic 1 rating, which is highly suggestive of someone with an axe to grind and/or a dislike of information about critical thinking.
ShotmanMaslo
1.6 / 5 (14) Oct 01, 2013
Shotman - "Cost of installation is not the major problem of renewables, intermittency is."

I guess you did not read this article.


I guess you did not read what I was responding to, it was about solar panels. I agree that solar thermal is indeed more perspective when it comes to intermittency. However it still has major issues during winter or long-term cloudy weather.

In time - renewables are going to supply all of our power needs - you are just myopic.


Yeah, but not soon enough.
djr
3.4 / 5 (11) Oct 01, 2013
Shotman: "I guess you did not read what I was responding to"

But this statement stands by itself - it does not matter what specifically you were responding to.

"Cost of installation is not the major problem of renewables, intermittency is."

Stop being obtuse.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (10) Oct 01, 2013
presumably a basic setup would be ready
And why would you presume that? These plants operate as the sum of all their parts. You don't run a little steam pipe to one little turbine first to provide power for construction. The thing doesn't turn on until all components are in place and the entire plant is validated and commissioned.

Any engineer would know this without thinking about it. Phony engineers would think they had something valid to say, without thinking about it.

And why would a solar thermal plant need photovoltaics installed as part of it? Construction companies routinely provide their own portable generators in remote areas.

And why are you answering as if you were obamasocks? Are you obamasocks???
Neinsense99
2 / 5 (12) Oct 01, 2013
presumably a basic setup would be ready
And why would you presume that? These plants operate as the sum of all their parts. You don't run a little steam pipe to one little turbine first to provide power for construction. The thing doesn't turn on until all components are in place and the entire plant is validated and commissioned.

Any engineer would know this without thinking about it. Phony engineers would think they had something valid to say, without thinking about it.

And why would a solar thermal plant need photovoltaics installed as part of it? Construction companies routinely provide their own portable generators in remote areas.

And why are you answering as if you were obamasocks? Are you obamasocks???

Yes, construction companies have generators. I agree that it is possible that the article may have something wrong, but if not, I suggested a possibility.
Your question was addressed to "Anyone?". I am not obamasocks. Do you confuse your own comments?
wwqq
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 01, 2013
"CSP projects use large mirrors aimed at large central towers that create steam to drive turbines. "

I wonder how much water these steam turbines consume. Is most of it recycled or do they need to tap aquifers and use a large amount of water?


Steam turbines don't consume water. It's not an open cycle.

Cooling may or may not use water. It can be done with parabolic cooling towers, which are efficient but evaporate a lot of water, or it can be done with air-cooling, which is inneficient and costly but uses no water.

They are using air cooling. Which is part of the reason why 392 MW installed capacity, by their estimate 123 MW average, estimated cost $2.2 billion.

That's not including power lines. Not including interest on debt. That's not including 3 500 acres of public land which is provided gratis; though they did have to remove desert tortoises and purchase land for them.
wwqq
4 / 5 (4) Oct 01, 2013
Solar thermal is one of a short list of power sources more idiotic than photovoltaics; with, in this case $19/W of average power, lots of fragile moving parts, no benefits(like thermal storage, which is expensive) and many costs not included.

Solar PV on Californian roofs can at least justify its existance by reduced transmission costs and good load matching to air conditioning, even if not exactly cheap.

Solar thermal is mature tech. It is as terrible today as it was 30 years ago when it was examined and rejected by the DoE; it's not getting cheaper or better.
djr
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 01, 2013
wwqq - "with, in this case $19/W of average power, "

Please provide links for your numbers. Here - this is from wiki - and keep in mind that there is no fuel cost once the plant is up and running.

"The estimated construction costs for this CSP project: $5,561.00 per KW fall between the construction costs for coal and nuclear power plants per Synapse Energy Economics."
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (9) Oct 01, 2013
Yes, construction companies have generators... Your question was addressed to "Anyone?". I am not obamasocks. Do you confuse your own comments?
Well you said 'presumably' as if you had the same basic ignorance of power plants and construction projects as phony engineers such as obamasocks. It is rare to encounter such an egregious lack of understanding in other posters. Sorry if I misunderstood.
I agree that it is possible that the article may have something wrong, but if not, I suggested a possibility
-And you fault the article for your own ignorance? Another trait you share.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (9) Oct 01, 2013
Solar thermal is one of a short list of power sources more idiotic than photovoltaics
Well there must be advantages as they are building a lot of them.
http://en.wikiped..._designs]http://en.wikiped..._designs[/url]
lots of fragile moving parts
-No more or less fragile than the components of any other power plant, or for that matter nuclear sub, container ship, or high-rise building HVAC system.
no benefits(like thermal storage, which is expensive)
Name one type of power generation with intrinsic 'thermal storage'. Solar thermal solar can accomodate this much easier because of the higher temps.

"Molten salt can be employed as a thermal energy storage method to retain thermal energy collected by a solar tower..."
http://en.wikiped..._designs]http://en.wikiped..._designs[/url]
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) Oct 01, 2013
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (15) Oct 01, 2013
and the excess energy runs the lights and provides electricity for power tools when needed by construction crews
I was just wondering how construction crews would get power for their tools from an unfinished power plant which they are building? Anyone?


From the first paragraph of the article: "The system delivered its first kilowatts of power Tuesday to Pacific Gas & Electric in California, from one of three central-tower units, with the remaining two to be activated next. Power generated from Ivanpah's initial sync testing to PG&E is under a power purchase agreement for energy produced out of the plant's Unit 1 station. Power generated from the Unit 3 station is also for PG&E. Unit 2 is under an agreement with Southern California Edison. Proof-of-concept testing will also be conducted at Units 2 and 3 in the coming months."
Three (3) phases, each with a separate set of mirrors and central towers So much for wondering how it could provide power for construction.
Howhot
4 / 5 (5) Oct 04, 2013
I was just reading the article, and damn; what an incredible event! It so impressive. It's too bad none of the rightwingers can absorb just how impressive this system is for energy production. And it doesn't require fossil fuels! The thick skull knuckle draggers RINOs meth-head POSs will always hate a successful clean energy project; they always have an aversion to anything decent in this world.

The Solar Decathlon 2013 started today, and is producing NET a collective ~600,000 kwH per day from PV for 20 homes. Shall that be the wave of the future, or will the METH head knuckle draggers RINOs push the USA into darkness and poverty?

Seriously though; Great article.
RealScience
4.3 / 5 (4) Oct 05, 2013
Easy, there, Howhot. As exciting as a new solar thermal power plant is, there is no point in stooping to insults.
(And you are mixing up your druggies besides - meth-heads tend to be left wing, whereas when the rightwingers get addicted it is usually to prescription drugs.)
Neinsense99
2.5 / 5 (8) Oct 05, 2013
Easy, there, Howhot. As exciting as a new solar thermal power plant is, there is no point in stooping to insults.
(And you are mixing up your druggies besides - meth-heads tend to be left wing, whereas when the rightwingers get addicted it is usually to prescription drugs.)

Source for the drug preference claim?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2013
Three (3) phases, each with a separate set of mirrors and central towers So much for wondering how it could provide power for construction
-And so why are you assuming that contractors are taking power from this plant to run their equipment?

""The system delivered its first kilowatts of power Tuesday to Pacific Gas & Electric in California"

-There is obviously already commercial power to and from the site. Contractors would have run metered power from the grid from the beginning, for work at each of the 3 sites if they didnt need portable generators.

Just what do you think they need to power on a construction site? Lights, job trailers, thats about it. Your idea is ridiculous and the fact that you continue to try to justify it while knowing nothing about construction projects is even more ridiculous.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (8) Oct 05, 2013
Go to the ivanpah website.
http://ivanpahsol...d-videos

-Click on the 'bechtel gives back' pic. See all those power poles behind the job trailers? Thats where the power is coming from. If you go through those pics you can see public power poles, area light poles, transformers, etc in many of them.

Ah. click on the pic labeled 'High voltage transmission lines cross the ISEGS site'. Any more questions?
Neinsense99
2.9 / 5 (10) Oct 05, 2013
However, this works well out in the Mojave Desert in sunny California...but not so good in, let's say, Norway/Sweden or anywhere where there is not an abundance of direct sunshine all or most of the time.

Except that at high latitudes the sun is above the horizon for much longer periods every day during the summer, meaning much more available energy than you assume. Thus the expression 'midnight sun'.


Let us know when you have a battery/power storage installation that will last through those long dark months when there are only two or three hours of seeing the sun, hovering just above the southern horizon, IF it's clear enough to be seen. Whatever you might gain in daylight during the warm parts of the year you'll more than pay back a few months later.

You never fail to disappoint.
That never happens in South California you shill

They are so quick to attack arguments people never made. Pathetic.
RealScience
5 / 5 (2) Oct 05, 2013
Source for the drug preference claim?

Three sources - personal observation, seeing in the news which well-known people get busted / go to treatment centers for which drugs, and reading studies in medical research newsletters.

Of course there plenty of exceptions; the elderly across the political spectrum are far more likely to get addicted to prescription drugs than to illegal drugs. And Cocaine seems to have addicts across the spectrum at all ages.
And alcohol and tobacco are neither illegal nor prescription.

Why do you ask - do your observations disagree?
kochevnik
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 06, 2013
@RealSilence (And you are mixing up your druggies besides - meth-heads tend to be left wing, whereas when the rightwingers get addicted it is usually to prescription drugs.)
Liberals like Ted Haggard : secret preacher of George Bush Jr. and assailant of Dawkins until his meth and gay sex habits were made public?
discouragedinMI
1 / 5 (9) Oct 11, 2013
3500 acres to produce 392 MW? Dang, people need to go back to math class. This is not going to work for the whole planet's power needs now or in the future. Push the dollars in fusion research. It is the only source that is clean enough and has a high energy density.
RealScience
5 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2013
@discouraged - why wouldn't 3500 acres for 392 MW work?
It's not great, but even at that level it would take less than 5% of the Mojave/Sonora desert area to supply the U.S.'s entire energy needs (not just electricity).
The density is not the big problem; cost and storage are (and this is solar thermal so storage can be added once the demand peak is shave off).

I like fusion in theory, but I've been the attempts for nearly half a century and it is still the same 40 years away as it was back in the 60's. I say don't put all our eggs in one basket until we know for sure that a technology will work and be cost effective.

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