Huge US thermal plant opens as industry grows (Update 2)

Feb 13, 2014 by Brian Skoloff
Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

A windy stretch of the Mojave Desert once roamed by tortoises and coyotes has been transformed by hundreds of thousands of mirrors into the largest solar power plant of its type in the world, a milestone for a growing industry that is testing the balance between wilderness conservation and the pursuit of green energy across the American West.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles (13 sq. kilometers) of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opened Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.

"The Ivanpah project is a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement after attending a dedication ceremony at the site. "This project shows that building a clean-energy economy creates jobs, curbs greenhouse gas emissions and fosters American innovation."

The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts—enough power for 140,000 homes. It began making electricity last year.

Larger projects are on the way, but for now, Ivanpah is being described as a marker for the United States' emerging solar industry. While solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of the nation's power output, thousands of projects from large, utility-scale plants to small production sites are under construction or being planned, particularly across the sun-drenched Southwest.

The opening of Ivanpah is "a dawn of a new era in power generation in the United States," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group.

The plant's dedication comes as government continues to push for development of greener, cleaner power.

A boilers sits on 459-foot towers vents steam Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

President Barack Obama has mounted a second-term drive to combat climate change, proposing first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants. His plan aims to help move the U.S. from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by wind and solar power, nuclear energy and natural gas.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, the cost of building and operating a new solar thermal power plant over its lifetime is greater than generating natural gas, coal or nuclear power. It costs a conventional coal plant $100, on average, to produce a megawatt-hour of power, but that figure is $261 for solar thermal power, according to 2011 estimates. The figures do not account for incentives such as state or federal tax credits that can affect the cost.

Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the solar association, said in a statement that solar systems have seen "dramatic price declines" in the last few years.

That's good for utilities in California, which must obtain a third of their electricity from solar and other renewable sources by 2020.

The Ivanpah site, about 45 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of Las Vegas, has virtually unbroken sunshine most of the year and is near transmission lines that carry power to consumers.

Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Using technology known as solar-thermal, nearly 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors roughly the size of a garage door reflect sunlight to boilers atop 459-foot (140-meter) towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which drives turbines to create electricity.

While many people are familiar with rooftop solar, or photovoltaic panels, "these are a little bit different. This takes the sun's rays and reflects them onto towers," said NRG spokesman Jeff Holland.

The plant can be a startling sight for drivers heading toward Las Vegas along busy Interstate 15. Amid miles of rock and scrub, its vast array of mirrors creates the image of an ethereal lake shimmering atop the desert floor. In fact, it's built on a dry lakebed.

Jeff Holland takes a picture of some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors that reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Google announced in 2011 that it would invest $168 million in the project. As part of its financing, BrightSource also lined up $1.6 billion in loans guaranteed by the U.S. Energy Department, while San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp. constructed the facility.

Ivanpah can be seen as a success story and a cautionary tale, highlighting the inevitable trade-offs between the need for cleaner power and the loss of fragile, open land. The California Energy Commission concluded that while the solar plant would impose "significant impacts on the environment ... the benefits the project would provide override those impacts."

Jeff Holland, right, talks with Noel Hanson near a boilers that sit on 459-foot towers Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Such disputes are likely to continue for years as more companies seek to develop solar, wind and geothermal plants on land treasured by environmentalists who also support the growth of renewable energy. At issue is what is worth preserving and at what cost, as California pushes to generate more electricity from renewable sources.

In 2012, the federal government established 17 "solar energy zones" in an attempt to direct development to land it has identified as having fewer wildlife and natural-resource obstacles. The zones comprise about 450 square miles (1,165 sq. kilometers)in six states—California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

A boilers sits on 459-foot towers vents steam Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Government documents show dozens of dead birds from sparrows to hawks have been found on the site, some with melted feathers. The suspected causes of death include collisions with mirrors and scorching. In November alone, 11 dead birds were found, including two, a blackbird and a warbler, with singed feathers.

The Western Watersheds Project is continuing to push a lawsuit against federal agencies that reviewed the Ivanpah project. Its California director, Michael J. Connor, said alternatives to the site were not considered and serious environmental impacts, including fragmenting the tortoise population, were ignored.

Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

NRG did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

According to statistics compiled by the Energy Department, the solar industry employs more than 140,000 Americans at about 6,100 companies, with employment increasing nearly 20 percent since the fall of 2012.

Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on 459-foot towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which in turn drives turbines to create electricity Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

A boilers sits on 459-foot towers vents steam Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Primm, Nev. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, will be opened formally Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)


Explore further: Ivanpah solar plant in California starts energy feed to grid

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vlaaing peerd
4 / 5 (8) Feb 13, 2014
The $2.2 billion project is a milestone for a growing industry, but it's testing the balance between wilderness conservation and the pursuit of green energy across the West


Don't show this to American republicans, it will confuse them too much.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2014
Just curious if anyone knows the answer: Whenever I see images of concentrating solar power plante there are always quite a few mirrors pointed in strange directions.
It seems that these are more than one (at least I) would expect fail to function due to problems with the alignment electronics or are down for some other kind of maintenance.

Is this a regulatory measure to limit the amount of energy concentrated? Or is there another reason for this?
SiBorg
5 / 5 (4) Feb 13, 2014
I'd guess that on a clear summers day the mirror array is cable of transmitting more power than the focal point can take. That way there is some spare capacity for the less sunny days and/or mirrors being down for operations and maintenance.
Modernmystic
2.6 / 5 (7) Feb 13, 2014
About 5.5 million per megawatt, and wind is incredibly expensive already at about 1.5 million per megawatt...

Not to mention the 5 square miles the facility sprawls over. If you wanted to run half the US grid off this kind of technology you'd need 7,000 square miles...for comparison Yellowstone national park is only about 3,500 square miles :)

If you're going to do this stuff wait until it makes sense.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 13, 2014
About 5.5 million per megawatt, and wind is incredibly expensive already at about 1.5 million per megawatt...

You mean as opposed to 5.1 to 8.1 million dollars per MW for nuclear?
http://www.synaps...0022.pdf

And that's just the construction. Add fuel costs, decomission costs and waste management costs that are FAR in excess. (and all other sources have big unknowns with regards to future fuel costs and the costs of the climate change they bring about)

There's plenty of desert space available that can't be put to any other use in any case. You're not going to construct houses or farms there. 7000 square miles isn't as much as one would think. (take the two largest cities in the US and you already have more than that)
Maggnus
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 13, 2014
There's plenty of desert space available that can't be put to any other use in any case.
But wait AA, didn't you know that Uba says you can grow food in a desert! Maybe we should be planting wheat or corn there! A few taters maybe, or some beans?
philstacy9
2 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2014
I wonder if these could be focused at a higher altitude as a weapon.
Modernmystic
2.8 / 5 (4) Feb 13, 2014
About 5.5 million per megawatt, and wind is incredibly expensive already at about 1.5 million per megawatt...

You mean as opposed to 5.1 to 8.1 million dollars per MW for nuclear?
http://www.synaps...0022.pdf


Did you read that whole document or just the parts you wanted to? Those estimates vary by almost an order of magnitude in the same paper depending on which source you ask. Also your price/mw in that paper is from the SEVENTIES. Not to mention the site is a hack for renewables. How about a more self consistent and neutral source?

7000 square miles isn't as much as one would think.


It's a HUGE chunk of land, also my estimates were off because I ALWAYS forget to take figures for solar X2 because it's not producing about half the time on average (it's actually less because of this little thing called night). so that's actually over 14,000 square miles (1/10 of Germany).
Modernmystic
3.2 / 5 (5) Feb 13, 2014
Not to get too far into the debate, but fuel costs for nuclear are actually negligible...that's the whole point really. As to maintenance some of the newer designs significantly reduce this while increasing efficiency and safety (which is already stellar compared to other conventional power sources). As far as waste...well thank Jimmy Carter for the fact that we stick tons of FUEL into mountains and call it waste. The French and the Japanese aren't so dense and reprocess it.
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (8) Feb 13, 2014
Also your price/mw in that paper is from the SEVENTIES.


You want current prices:
How bout this:
Hinkley C has been approved in 2013 in Britain. Its LOW estimate cost is 26.6bn dollars (16 bn pounds). 3.2GW powerplant. This is 8.3 million dollars per MW. And that is WITHOUT the cost overruns these projects always have (which have been on the order of 150 to 250% throughout the history of nuclear reactors. )
http://www.ucsusa...r-costs/

So we're talking - realistic estimate - about 16million dollars per MW.
(Going for 1.5mn per MW for wind is a steal by comparison.)

The thing is already so costly before the first stone is laid down that the government has already agreed that the eleictricity coming out of it will be sold at twice the market price now (the difference being paid in subsidies by the government)
You think that's a good deal? Really?
Newbeak
4 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2014
I wonder if Solar Roadways is a better way to go: http://www.solarr...ro.shtml
Of course,it would take decades to put into place.
antialias_physorg
4.8 / 5 (4) Feb 14, 2014
I'm not enamored with the solar roadways project. Look at roads: scratches, rubber, damage: This means degradation (in mechanical terms but also in terms of energy produced from the underlying solar cells). Repairs will be much more costly and time consuming than for regular roads. Any part of the road with a car on it isn't producing power.

If you want to have solar and roads put the solar NEXT to the roads. Much cheaper and less of a fuzz for automobilists.
The_Countess
5 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2014
About 5.5 million per megawatt, and wind is incredibly expensive already at about 1.5 million per megawatt...


you mean at the lower end of what a nuclear power plant costs per megawatt?

Not to mention the 5 square miles the facility sprawls over. If you wanted to run half the US grid off this kind of technology you'd need 7,000 square miles...for comparison Yellowstone national park is only about 3,500 square miles :)

If you're going to do this stuff wait until it makes sense.


with 1.4% of the US covered with these kinds of power plants you could power the ENTIRE US (theoretically)

that's a area of 223 bij 223 miles. surely there is that much desert to spare.
Newbeak
4 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2014
I'm not enamored with the solar roadways project. Look at roads: scratches, rubber, damage: This means degradation (in mechanical terms but also in terms of energy produced from the underlying solar cells). Repairs will be much more costly and time consuming than for regular roads. Any part of the road with a car on it isn't producing power.

If you want to have solar and roads put the solar NEXT to the roads. Much cheaper and less of a fuzz for automobilists.

Your objections are addressed in the FAQs.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2014
The FAQs are a bit light on detail. A 'high traction' surface that also stays highly transparent would be pretty neat. But I'd have to see that to believe it (as 'high traction' also means 'rubber on the road')
Integrated electronics, solar, and heating: The kind of maintenance you'd have to do to exchange a faulty section would be hugely more complicated than patching a bit of highway and cause massive traffic jams. Any faulty panel would kill the entire energy flow in the highway (unless you just have each panel collect for its own needs - which makes the system even less useful).
Put this stuff away from the road and you have none of these problems.

I see no real reason why they'd even consider this.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2014

you mean at the lower end of what a nuclear power plant costs per megawatt?


It all depends on who you ask ;)

with 1.4% of the US covered with these kinds of power plants you could power the ENTIRE US (theoretically) that's a area of 223 bij 223 miles. surely there is that much desert to spare.


First of all that's at CURRENT consumption levels. This stuff doesn't scale well at all compared to nuclear. At some point you are simply going to run out of land. 1.4 percent doesn't sound like a lot until you actually try to do it. Did you read the article? Did you hear how much opposition they got from the environmentalist groups usually pushing for this kind of technology?

Anyway good luck with thousands of square miles of mirrors...let me know how it all works out.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2014
First of all that's at CURRENT consumption levels.

Since energy consumption in the US (and in other industrialized nations) is already dropping...what are you babbeling about?
Osteta
Feb 14, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Modernmystic
not rated yet Feb 14, 2014
First of all that's at CURRENT consumption levels.

Since energy consumption in the US (and in other industrialized nations) is already dropping...what are you babbeling about?


Nope, in 1999 the US consumed 3,723.8 Twh, in 2012 it was 4,095. Now it 2011 it was 4,138.7 so yeah it's called VARIANCE but the trend continues upward. What you're doing is the equivalent of someone who looks at the cooling temperatures for the last few years as proof that there is no warming TREND in the climate....
Osteta
Feb 14, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Feb 14, 2014
trend continues upward

Everything you have is becoming more efficient. You can't do more than one thing at once, so you'll not use more energy inthe future.

Same goes for industrial endeavours (which will pay carbon taxes and whatnot that will force them to become more efficient). There's not really any new/additional industry that requires more power than we have now. The only thing that might lead to an increase in power used is population increase. And in the industrialized nations even that starts to stagnate.

I see no reason to suspect that energy usage will rise (much less that it would rise to a multiple of current levels). Even such rapid growth markets as China are staring to level out. Look at any of the stats and you'll see it's going into a plateau phase for the developed countries already.
http://www.eia.go...orld.cfm
Modernmystic
not rated yet Feb 14, 2014
Same goes for industrial endeavours (which will pay carbon taxes and whatnot that will force them to become more efficient). There's not really any new/additional industry that requires more power than we have now. The only thing that might lead to an increase in power used is population increase. And in the industrialized nations even that starts to stagnate.


I couldn't disagree more. The one thing you're forgetting is that luxuries tend to become necessities in human societies. What if we had the power to run electricity through the streets and keep them snow free in the winter time? What if we had the capacity to launch people into space via a magnetic rail launch system routinely that used huge amounts of energy per launch?

You're like Charles H. Duell who ran the US patent office in 1899 who said "everything that can be invented has"....

Here's a link you might appreciate.

http://en.wikiped...ev_scale
Maggnus
4 / 5 (4) Feb 14, 2014
The polar beers floating on the icebergs will be happy.
THERE'S POLAR BEERS?!?!! I want a ticket for a polar cruise like NOW!
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2014
The polar beers floating on the icebergs will be happy.
THERE'S POLAR BEERS?!?!! I want a ticket for a polar cruise like NOW!


http://thirstybear.com/brewery
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2014
Price per MW is misleading because of capacity factors, what is more relevant is price of actual energy produced, or price of TWh. For this plant, thats $2.2 billion for 1 TWh per year. Average nuclear plant costs more but it also produces several times as much energy. So when you take that into account, it is not at all clear which is more costly.

However concentrating solar thermal is one of the more practical and economically sound kinds of renewables so I think this is a really good project.

There's not really any new/additional industry that requires more power than we have now.


Electric cars and hopefully other electrified industries currently powered by fossil fuels. We will absolutely require a lot more power than now, more non-fossil power that is.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2014
"Big desert solar installations have a problem: They seem to be imperiling water birds. A ReWire investigation has revealed that since mid-March, two large industrial solar power plants in California's remote, arid desert may have killed or injured more than 20 birds commonly associated with lakes or wetlands rather than the open desert surrounding the projects."
"Other water birds found dead or injured by biologists at the two projects include eared, western, and pied-billed grebes, the duck species surf scoter, red breasted merganser and bufflehead, the dramatic-looking black-crowned night heron, double-crested cormorants, American coots, and the federally Endangered Yuma clapper rail"
http://www.kcet.o...ert.html
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2014
20 birds? My god. Call the national guard!
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2014
People are fined for killing just one endangered bird or a desert tortoise in CA.
Possession of a bald eagle feather is against federal law unless you are aboriginal.

But if the cause is politically correct, like wind or solar, killing birds and bats is approved.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Feb 15, 2014
""No project can be considered clean or green when it involves destruction of habitat for a species listed under Endangered Species Act on this scale," said Michael Connor, California director for Western Watersheds Project.

"The Department of Interior is tasked with siting energy projects in an environmentally sound manner," said Connor. "Instead it is allowing thousands of acres of important desert tortoise habitat to be bulldozed when there are alternative ways of generating power.""
http://www.basina...es2.html
Marina_
not rated yet Feb 16, 2014
How many costs lift up water at 140 m?
Cocoa
5 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2014
There are costs to all of our technologies. How many birds were killed by Deep Horizon? Cell towers kill millions of birds every year http://www.scient...3-01-29/

I am not being callous - but I think we have to be honest about the fact that our desire for a high tech world - will inevitably have costs.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2014
What projects like this show is that regulations for protecting endangered species are really intended to be used as clubs to attack anything the 'progressives' don't approve of.
Environmental laws are waived for a high speed rail the people don't want in central CA.
And when the environmental laws are followed, as with the Keystone pipeline, and they fail to produce the desired result, politicians then ignore the results.
ScooterG
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2014
What projects like this show is that regulations for protecting endangered species are really intended to be used as clubs to attack anything the 'progressives' don't approve of.
Environmental laws are waived for a high speed rail the people don't want in central CA.
And when the environmental laws are followed, as with the Keystone pipeline, and they fail to produce the desired result, politicians then ignore the results.


Exactly. If 20 birds died in an uncovered oilwell pit, it would make national news and the fines would likely be in the million$.
Cocoa
5 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2014
Exactly. If 20 birds died in an uncovered oilwell pit, it would make national news and the fines would likely be in the million$.


You are so accurate in you unbiased analysis Scooter (sarcasm).

Of course - if a greenie renewable energy company killed a few birds with their wind turbines - THEY would not have to pay a million dollar fine. See -

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/11/25/eagle-killing-wind-turbine-company-fined-1-million-152435

Do you have to be so blatant with your childish bias?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2014
"Duke Energy Renewables Inc. failed to make all reasonable efforts to build the projects in a way that would avoid the risk of avian deaths by collision with turbine blades, despite prior warnings about this issue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. …"
http://grist.org/...-deaths/

This is great,
Duke energy is a crony of the 'progressives', but they will likely earn more from other rent seeking activities.

"The 2009 stimulus package, for instance, was a boon for the company: Duke received federal grants totaling $230.4 million for a number of "green" energy projects including "smart grid" development and wind energy storage."
http://freebeacon...ronyism/
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2014
Avian deaths - wind vs coal

"This risk assessment only considers the affects power plant have while producing energy. It does not consider the bird deaths that occur due to coal mining or due to climate change caused by harmful chemicals leached into the atmosphere that coal power plants produce. If this was considered, avian mortality would be higher in the coal power plant scenario than in the centralized wind farm scenario (Sovacool 2009)."
http://www.indian...yler.pdf
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2014
@ryggie What projects like this show is that regulations for protecting endangered species are really intended to be used as clubs to attack anything the 'progressives' don't approve of.
What is wrong with opposing regressives?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2014
@ryggie What projects like this show is that regulations for protecting endangered species are really intended to be used as clubs to attack anything the 'progressives' don't approve of.
What is wrong with opposing regressives?

The lies used by 'progressives'.

"It may be true that the delta smelt is a species on which the whole regional ecosystem depends, and that its disappearance could have a negative effect on fishing, among other impacts. But that calls for wise management involving all stakeholders--not the blunt instrument of the federal courts, which utopian environmental activists have used precisely because they do not want to have to face the real challenges of water conservation."
http://www.breitb...is-Worse
Newbeak
not rated yet Feb 16, 2014

I see no real reason why they'd even consider this.

I personally thought it would be better to install these things between the rails on railroads.There are approximately 233,000 miles of track in the U.S. alone.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2014
If you want to have solar and roads put the solar NEXT to the roads. Much cheaper and less of a fuzz for automobilists.
A low cost, low yield thermoelectric material could be mixed in with asphalt or concrete, or rolled out as a layer underneath, and could feed off the heat. It could also be incorporated into roofing material and wall cladding.

Soon to be invented.
Nestle
not rated yet Feb 16, 2014
could be mixed in with asphalt or concrete
I'd prefer to have economical calculation of it first. The installation and maintenance cost already represents the highest portion of expenses for solar plants. The cost of silicon is negligible in this extent.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Feb 16, 2014
There's plenty of desert space available that can't be put to any other use in any case.
But wait AA, didn't you know that Uba says you can grow food in a desert! Maybe we should be planting wheat or corn there! A few taters maybe, or some beans?
LOL!

Mad/nuts is still smarting over his false assertion that food cannot grow in the desert!

Did you not know, Mad/nuts, they actually have agriculture in Nevada (the driest state in the nation)?

"Agriculture is one of Nevada's most important industries,"

http://www.divers...iculture

vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2014
How many costs lift up water at 140 m?


kept us dry for the last 900 years, and it's close to free: http://en.wikiped...olen.jpg

have a try, it's state of the art stuff.
vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2014
But if the cause is politically correct, like wind or solar, killing birds and bats is approved.


I know, fak them, right?
http://en.wikiped...il_spill
http://en.wikiped...il_spill
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2014
You could always go for hydraulic fracking as an animal friendly alternative...Oh wait...you can't
http://www.news.c...fracking

..or nuclear? Ah, nope:
http://www.nirs.o...mary.htm

But the fun thing is: There's no regulation on these technologies (and, of course, no reprecussions) in that regard. Silly old world, ain't it?

When the oil industry does it the case gets thrown right out
http://www.forbes...g-sites/
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2014
You could always go for hydraulic fracking as an animal friendly alternative...Oh wait...you can't
Antialias' knee is jerking again, possibly due to neurological damage from exposure to fracking fluids. From your articles:

FRACKING
"...interviewed animal owners in six states -- Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas -- and cited 24 cases where animals were potentially affected by gas drilling."

-Given the massive efforts throughout the country I would consider this a stellar record. Fracking leaks occur from surface spills and well casing leaks, never from depth. Should we compare this record to deaths from spilled gasoline and antifreeze?

NUKE PLANTS
"Marine life in all forms, from endangered manatees and sea turtles to essential microscopic organisms, is being harmed and killed by once-through cooling systems"

-Let's compare this to bridge and harbor construction deaths. With nuke plants marine life knows how to avoid these new inhospitable conditions.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2014
could be mixed in with asphalt or concrete
I'd prefer to have economical calculation of it first. The installation and maintenance cost already represents the highest portion of expenses for solar plants. The cost of silicon is negligible in this extent.
Some efforts in this direction:

"The thermoelectric properties of carbon nanotube (CNT)-filled polymer composites can be enhanced by modifying junctions between CNTs using poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS), yielding high electrical conductivities (up to 40000 S/m) without significantly altering thermopower"

-A very low yield could still produce massive amounts of power because of the potential for utilizing over 43,000 sq mi of existing paving in the US, which gets overtopped or replaced every 10 years or so. Nano fibers may increase service life while producing power. This could be used to charge EV batteries at the source by induction, saving transmission and storage costs.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2014
Convergent technologies:

"Pavement friction courses made with polymer modified asphalt (PMA) containing Elvaloy® last longer and stay smoother than unmodified asphalts. DuPont™ Elvaloy® asphalt modifiers include reactive elastomeric terpolymer (RET) that locks in performance by chemically strengthening ... not just mixing into ... the hot mix binder."

-Add nanotubes and perhaps a metallic conductive layer and poof! -instant gigawatts