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The future of green energy production in California is happening RIGHT NOW, and this is what it looks like:

The Brightsource balance of plant tower

That's a thermal tower, one of three being built by BrightSource Energy in California's Mojave Desert – thermal towers which will be surrounded by 347,000 heliostat mirrors capable of producing 392 megawatts of power.

I'll say that again: 392 megawatts of power, enough power to provide energy for 140,000 homes.

And that's just the beginning, as California moves to create solar power plants capable of producing the energy of two nuclear reactors by 2016!

You've got to see this:

The plant, which already has contracts to provide energy to both PG&E and Southern California Edison, utilizes remote controlled mirrors that focus the sun's concentrated rays upon the solar towers, which boil water at ridiculously high temperatures and produce steam-generated energy.

Here's what it looks like (from a presentation given in Jerusalem by BrightSource Industries executive Arnold J. Goldman):

Arnold J. Goldman of BrightSource Energy gives a presentation

This is how the official project site describes the Ivanpah Solar Generating Electric System, being built near the California-Nevada border:

The 392 megawatt (gross) solar complex uses mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers atop power towers and will consist of three separate plants and provide electricity to PG&E and Southern California Edison...Now under construction, Ivanpah utilizes proven solar thermal technology and a low environmental impact design to power California's clean energy economy with cost-competitive and reliable solar power.

The plant, which will go live in 2013 and was made possible by a $1.6 billion loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Energy, will be the largest thermal generation station in the world, and will be just one of several plants California plans to build as it moves toward serious green energy production.

Here are some of the impressive elements from BrightSource:

1) More than 13.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided over the 30-year life cycle of the plant, equivalent to taking 2.1 million cars off the road. This solar complex also cuts major air pollutants by 85% compared to new natural gas-fired power plants.

2) The Ivanpah project will employ 170,000 low-impact heliostats. The entire Ivanpah project features an industry-leading low-impact design, resulting in maximum land-use efficiency. Our heliostat technology places individual mirrors onto metal poles that are driven into the ground, which allows vegetation to coexist underneath and around our mirrors; reduces the need for extensive land grading; and uses far fewer concrete pads than other technologies. The project is also thoughtfully sited near existing roads and transmission lines and in an area where human activity has already left its mark.

3) BrightSource's LPT solar thermal systems being deployed at Ivanpah use an air-cooling system. This dry-cooling system allows us to reduce water usage by more than 90% over competing solar thermal technologies using conventional wet cooling systems.

In 2008, a test thermal station was built in Israel's Negev Desert to validate the performance of the technology, a station that exceeded all expectations for this new solar energy technology, and which led to securing the California contracts. Below is a great video that explains how it works in detail:

Happy Independence [from Oil] Day everyone!!!

UPDATE: It appears BrightSource is hiring. This from commenter tmo: As the latest diary update mentions, BrightSource is headquartered in Oakland. For folks looking for work, their website has some job openings in Oakland, as well as in Jerusalem, Las Vegas, Nipton CA and Melbourne, Australia: http://www.brightsourceenergy.com/... Looks like they have an office in Paris too but no job openings there right now.

Author's Note: BrightSource Energy is a company based in Oakland, CA, and its subsidiary, BrightSource Industries, is based in Israel.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Hardly independence from oil day (0+ / 0-)

      While it's important for our government to support new energy initiatives, this new technology will do very little to replace the oil used throughout all transportation needs.

      If this was such a sure bet, why are taxpayers being asked to be responsible to the tune of $1.6 billion. It seems to me that smart investors would be falling over each other to fund this operation if it was as good as the spin.

      We should quit dreaming about ever being energy independent.  All the new energy technologies together are much more costly to consumers than is the oil that we now import. Being energy independent is good political spin at this stage, but it is not a good idea-- it's something that we cannot afford.

      I realize that this is not the standard way of thinking on this site. The best way to reduce our energy needs at this moment is through conservation--and being nice to all the countries who have an abundance of oil would also make sense.

      War is costly. Peace is priceless!

      by frostbite on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 01:23:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A very fair point about transportation, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko

        though it should be noted that there are many investors tied to this project, one of the largest being Google.

        Given the project costs $2.2 billion, not all seed money could be procured upfront, which is why the U.S. government provided a loan.

        •  Except it is mistaken. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Troubadour

          The US cannot be weaned from dependance on oil in a day by this comment is factually wrong about the return on investment in clean energy and mass transit.

          Electric rail mass-transit is by far the most economical if properly sited and has the lowest carbon footprint. EVs are currently more expensive to buy but far cheaper to operate with a cost of pennies per mile.

          Wind energy in markets where it can fairly compete against fossil fuels (ie, where taxation, tarrifs or subsidies are on equal footing) is cheaper than coal generated power.

          If we factor in carbon taxation (get ready, it is comming) wind thermal solar and pv solar are all cheaper - even EXXON agrees (see page 29).

          An increasing number of nations are investing in boith clean energy and mass-transit and it is not because they are run by insane idiots that cannot do math, but because it is economically efficient and sustainable.

          Leaving aside issues of global warming and the related costs of fossil fuels to society, there is a solid economic case and this is ultimately the reason many nations have taken this direction. The US has a choice to get with the program or get left behind.

          Presently, the US subsidizes oil below world prices and has some of the lowest oil taxation in the world. Globally, fosil fuels receive 12x the subsidies of clean energy and in both total amount and percentage/GDP the US now lags in clean energy investment and subsidies. So there might appear to be no advantage to the average taxpayer, but who ultimately covers the cost? Taxpayers.

          While other nations are investing in renewables and mass transit to create sustainable and competative economies the US continues to ship dollars for petrol and as the price goes up the coat gets higher and the lost opportunities further in the rearview mirror (if that is how you want to drive).

          I have to disagree with this:

          We should quit dreaming about ever being energy independent.  All the new energy technologies together are much more costly to consumers than is the oil that we now import. Being energy independent is good political spin at this stage, but it is not a good idea-- it's something that we cannot afford.

          Unsubstantiated nonsese. No citations because no facts.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 09:41:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  YOu make a strawman argument (0+ / 0-)

            You say that "An increasing number of nations are investing in boith clean energy and mass-transit and it is not because they are run by insane idiots that cannot do math, but because it is economically efficient and sustainable."

            Yet in my first sentence I stated "While it's important for our government to support new energy initiatives, this new technology will do very little to replace the oil used throughout all transportation needs."

            The following text is included in one of your links "One of the reasons the clean energy sector is starved of funding is because mainstream investors worry that renewable energy only works with direct government support,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of New Energy Finance.

            Perhaps you should read my comments with a bit less bias before you insult me for making "unsubstantiated nonsense."

            The billions of tax dollars used to fund ethanol has made millionaires out of the corporate farming operations and has had no real savings in the use of fosil fuels. On the other hand this has led to much higher food costs throughout the world.

            War is costly. Peace is priceless!

            by frostbite on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 02:29:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I present information from numerous sources (0+ / 0-)

              That discuss the issue in detail providing options, data and cases of what various countries are doing.

              I'm glad you took the time to read and now suggest you reconsider your basic opinion dependance on oil is the only option as this is clearly not the case and not the long-term option. You also need to reconsider the economics of thermal solar verses fossil fuels looing at the entire cost structure over the long term. The economics of clean energy are different than fossil fuels with higher up-front capital investment and much lower operating cost with zero fuel cost. If you want to complain about government subsidies you need to look at the subsidies that support so-called cheap oil and also look at the social costs to the environment and health.

              There is no one size fits all solution and change is a evolutionary process. Saying it can't be done is not only mistaken but really not an option

              And the US will get with the program or get left behind economically.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:19:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  correction (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Troubadour

          US gov't didn't provide a loan, they provided a loan guarantee. The project will be financed by (meaning the money will come from) a private bank. DOE has just promised to cover the amount of $$ leftover if Brightsource defaults.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:00:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Both are importiant. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Troubadour

        350ppm is an impossible goal without a lot of each.

        And ... BINGO ...

        clean energy = jobs + economic sustainabiity. This is not just hot air.

        If the US fails to addopt clean enery and mass transit, it will eventually be eonomically uncompetative against nations that do.

        Who is leading now? China.

        #1 total capacity clean energy
        #1 investment rate in clean energy
        #1 total high speed rail
        #1 urban metros

        There is no good reason the US cannot do better except political gridlock and the world needs more competition in this area. Innovation Requires Ambition. This is productive investment that returns to society.

        BTW, I would like to amplify your point: the fastest way to reduce GHG emissions is power conservation and it has the fastest and best return on investment.

        Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Regenerate

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 08:56:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Clarification (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Troubadour

      This will be the world's largest Thermal Solar Plant and I know of no other Thermal Solar plant as large now planned and at 392Mw it is likely to be the largest of it's type for awhile.

      The largest currently operating pv Solar Plant is the 97Mw Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant in Ontario Canada. I believe the second is now the 85Mw Montalto di Castro power plant near Rome Italy.

      The largest pv Solar Plant under construction is the mamoth 2Gw (2,000Mw) Ordos City plant in Inner Mongolia China building in 4 stages for last phase comptetion in 2019. It will surpass Sarnia at 1,000Mx in 2015 and notably, is a project won by US based First Solar.

      Great Diary, T+R.

      I will fix your tags to add ekos

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 08:08:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Note: BrightSource Industries (7+ / 0-)

    is not independent. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 09:35:25 AM PDT

  •  Yes, but I think you are understating it (11+ / 0-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    When completed, the Blythe solar plant would nearly triple the current 585 megawatts of installed commercial-scale solar generation in the United States

    my talking points on this project have been it will power 500,000 homes which is the equivalent of 4% of the homes in Calif.

    Maybe you saw more cautious figures, but I think you may be reading from the early phase projections.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 09:47:43 AM PDT

  •  Baby steps. but steps nonetheless. n/t (6+ / 0-)
  •  This is great! (10+ / 0-)

    This seems to me like a much more reasonable way to boil water than with radioactive nuclear reactors.

    Thanks so much for pointing out this great example of alternate energy that is happening now.  There is so much negative energy (no pun intended) on this progressive site about the feasibility of conservation and alternative energy sources, so this one example is very important.

    There are other equally impressive alternative energy projects starting up or on the drawing board that need to be pointed out to get the well meaning but overly pessimistic folks here to look for opportunities to move forward in a positive way rather than give up and say we are screwed or push dangerous alternatives.

    Thanks Troubador!!!

  •  Does the project (8+ / 0-)

    include thermal storage?

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 10:19:42 AM PDT

    •  I am looking into this, but so far it seems (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mayfly, elwior, Wino, David PA

      that the plant does not include thermal storage.

    •  The next generation (5+ / 0-)

      will in all likelihood use molten salt as a heat transfer medium and it will be stored / circulated through an underground storage. The promise would be for baseload applications that could roll a turbine all night.

      "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel

      by Inventor on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:01:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent question. (0+ / 0-)

      You score 100.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 09:49:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the only reason to include storage (0+ / 0-)

      at least for the next 10-20 years would be to do a slight peak shift to match peak load, to smooth out production, or to guarantee output for the day ahead market. Why would anyone consider adding enough storage for 24x7 operation when the most lucrative generation is during peak time of use?

      Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

      by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:05:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  because if you don't, in a massively penetrated (0+ / 0-)

        grid profile by CSP, you need massively installed on demand back up, usually, and especially in California, this means dangerous natural gas. This is why CSP has been so slow in taking off. Grid operators have to think "OK, so, after hours what do I use to support the grid?".

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:17:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reading is FUNdamental (0+ / 0-)

          um, reading comprehension, my friend. You said in a "massively penetrated grid profile by CSP". I said don't worry about storage for the "next 10-20 years" which would be the time required to get to even a marginal penetration of CSP.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:24:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  and it has NOTHING to do (0+ / 0-)

          with why CSP has been slow taking off. Zero, zip, nada.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:25:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But people like yourself ARE proposing further (0+ / 0-)

            penetration. If it's "20 or 30" years it's not a relevant energy source to cut down on carbon emissions.

            It's expensive and essentially boutique energy we are wasting our money on.

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:43:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  again with the math problems... (0+ / 0-)

              jam: 10-20
              davidwalters: 20-30

              What's 150-200% among friends?

              The plant will go live in 2013. Remind me again how many nuclear plants will go live in the U.S. between now and then?

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:52:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Lets see how many you can legally stop (0+ / 0-)

                from building as that is the only thing holding them up! It will not stop yet MORE GTs being built in California. Not be even one. And THIS, jam, is the point of all this. It's to provide abundant amounts of carbon free energy, something wind and solar will not do enough to close the GTs or prevent them from running.

                If the State of California whose political subsidy requires these plants to be built were to do so for nuclear, then you could have 9GWs of nuclear in a lo less than "10 to 20" years. But hey, keep fighting nukes and that's what you get.

                Life cycle costs for CSP vs Nuclear and the quality of that power, nuclear wins, IMO. This is all show piece R&D at best.

                I want to see all that natural gas California burns in double-digit MWt be done by wind and solar, then you'd be talking...right now, or even down the road 30 years..not happening.

                Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                by davidwalters on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 01:32:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How many _I_ can stop? (0+ / 0-)

                  Dude - I'm not against nuclear. I'm against you lying about renewables. Find a comment where I've said that nukes shouldn't be built. Go ahead, try. If you do, I will apologize profusely and retract it.

                  Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

                  by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 04:13:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  REally? You act like it if you push renewables (0+ / 0-)

                    over nuclear. I retract it now, formally, but it's the perceptions you put out.

                    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                    by davidwalters on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 08:17:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  perception (0+ / 0-)

                      is based on your reading. Just because I prefer renewables (safer, cleaner, faster, cheaper) doesn't mean that I'm totally against nuclear. It is you that has thrown down the either/or gauntlet.

                      Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

                      by jam on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:30:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  I knew about the (9+ / 0-)

    Abengoa project in the Mojave, slated to produce 250MW, because it had been featured in National Geographic a couple years ago.

    This is the first I heard of the BrightSource project.  From that first link above, it looks like California's Energy Commission has considered a total of nine thermal solar projects, with a projected capacity of some 4,500MW.

    Big deal, as the vice president might say...

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 10:53:00 AM PDT

  •  Troubador, thank you for posting this very (4+ / 0-)

    informative diary.
      It'simportant for us to keep up on these encouraging developments, and help them along in any way we can.
      We owe it to our Mother (Earth) and to our descendents.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:11:08 AM PDT

  •  how great! (4+ / 0-)

    a post that mentions Israel without bashing it! What a great day. It feels like a holiday!

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:11:37 AM PDT

  •  Israel is way ahead of the US (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour, wu ming, mole333, koNko

    Props to Shai Agassi and the poliies of the government supporting the build out of a truly electric car network

    http://www.betterplace.com/...

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:29:42 AM PDT

    •  They're doing it the right way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko
      Drivers buy the car without the battery and sign up for a Better Place membership package based on kilometers/miles driven. By separating the ownership of the car and the battery, Better Place is able to remove the driver burdens of cost, acquisition, maintenance, warranty, and residual value concerns. As part of the package, customers have access to the entire Better Place solution which includes:

      Installation of private Charge Spot

      Unlimited access to Better Place’s network of public Charge Spots

      Unlimited access to Better Place’s network of automated Battery Switch Stations

      •  Other countries besides Israel where this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Troubadour, koNko

        technology would work very well are Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Spain, and the Arab countries.

        In the US, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona would be good places to start. Florida and Texas would also offer good markets.

        It might be a good idea to have two different battery sizes available. One for everyday, around-town use (35 miles) and one for long journeys (100 miles).

      •  Too soon to say (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Troubadour

        What is or isn't the right way. Electric vehicles still aren't very well developed at all, and make up such a tiny fraction of vehicles on the road today that it's impossible to tell what's going to work and what isn't.

        The one functional, tested electric vehicle that utilizes hot swap batteries has already abandoned the concept, as it just wasn't practical. As for using Better Place's own claims as some sort of evidence, that's like listening to McDonald's about the best burger.

        Nothing brings people together more than mutual hatred.

        by Hannibal on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 01:15:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What might be done is to offer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Troubadour

        buyers of electric cars a 50% tax credit, up to say $300 annually, on rental car use until the battery networks are built out across the US.

        A 50% tax credit for hauling use rental vehicle for up to three days a year might be included in that $300 limit.

        The "what if" and "just in case" worries need to be alleviated.

    •  there's a lot of israeli-CA cooperation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      on technologies like drip irrigation (agriculture generally) and solar power. australia too, our solar water heater growing up was from down under.

    •  Electric cars are a false hope (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      Even if they're not petrol based, they're still expensive & require large amounts of energy, energy which has to be generated somehow. I don't know about the US, but in Israel we're already at the limit of our electric production capacities. And new plants cost a bundle.
      Besides, for many trips it's just plain wasteful to drag a (roughly) 3500 pound car around.
      I believe the real revolution is in electric bicycles & other two-wheeled vehicles. They're cheap, don't use much juice, don't require special chargers, don't require huge corporations to make them, help with urban congestion, and are fun! If families could replace their second car with an electric bike, the world would definitely be a Better Place.

  •  very true (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, Eiron, koNko

    My cousin has been working on solar projects in Israel (and now, in the territories) ever since he got out of the army, which was years ago. My sister's very old Bauhaus building in Tel Aviv derives all of its energy needs from solar, which she says is the best thing you can do when it goes without rain for what seems like months on end.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:32:45 AM PDT

  •  BrightSource is hiring in Oakland (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour, mole333, koNko

    As the latest diary update mentions, BrightSource is headquartered in Oakland. For folks looking for work, their website has some job openings in Oakland, as well as in Jerusalem, Las Vegas, Nipton CA and Melbourne, Australia: http://www.brightsourceenergy.com/.... Looks like they have an office in Paris too but no job openings there right now.

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by tmo on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 12:02:33 PM PDT

  •  big debate locally on nearby solar projects in CA (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour, agrenadier, wu ming, koNko

    all having to do with subsidies, stimulus and taxes on those projects.  Riverside County supervisor wanted to issue a tax on solar projects.  ironic considering he's a Republican.  his way of killing alternative energy, i guess, to the advantage of oil.

    here are some links to recent articles and today's LTE's in our local paper, The Desert Sun.  Mr. Benoit submitted his own editorial to make his argument for a tax but I can not find a link for that.

    lawmakers-seek-end-solar-nbsp-grants?

    A-dark-day-solar-power

    First-Solar-official-Proposed-sun-tax-could-hinder-financing-projects

    County-supervisors-examine-fee-new-solar-projects-critics-burn

    Large Solar Projects Face Possible County Tax

    Letters to the Editor

    Reach-solar-agreement-s-fair

    Temporary-jobs-better-than-none

    Supervisor-John-Benoit-right-about-solar-fees

    Don-t-discourage-solar-energy

    you-want-slice-share-risk

    Killing-goose-lays-solar-eggs

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 12:17:00 PM PDT

  •  Heliostat mirrors could also be used (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour, koNko

    to warm houses in northern climes.

  •  troubadour, any idea why this is not an American (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour

    firm?  We already have Dutch, German, French, Japanese and Chinese firms taking advantage of American tax payer dollars to establish energy efficiency in the US.  

    Does this have anything to do with GE international operations?

  •  i just drove across the mojave (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko

    and there is a freaking insane amount of sun out there. solar thermal, rooftop solar, wind are all no-brainers in CA. we don't need it any hotter than it already is, people.

  •  So...we can assume the $1.6 BILLION loan (0+ / 0-)

    guarantee is the cost of the project? So this subsidy gets us 394 gross MWs. So that's 394 MWs at about $3,000 per KW installed? But that 394 MWs, less say it's net and not gross to make it easier, produces 394 MW hours for...4 hours? 5 hours?

    So to get that 394 MW hours around the clock (base load) you either lower the name place capacity by dividing by...6? giving us an average round the clock capacity factor of about 60 MW hours or, you multiply what you'd need by 6 to build 5 or 6 of these suckers to get you your real baseload...then the "$3,000" per KW installed looks more like $15,000 per KW or...more.

    How is this 'cheaper' than nuclear exactly?

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 11:30:21 AM PDT

    •  because (0+ / 0-)

      remarkably, as someone that claims to be an ex-power plant operator, you still have a blind spot when it comes to levelized cost of energy.

      It's cheaper than nuclear because it doesn't have to mine, transport, and process tons of uranium every year. It's cheaper than nuclear because it requires a fraction of the O&M costs.

      That would be exactly how it is cheaper than nuclear.

      Also, remarkably, as someone that claims to be an ex-power plant operator, it still AMAZES me how you apparently have zero understanding of the concept of a day-peaking network.

      PS: It's probably not cheaper than nuclear but since nobody made that claim here, I just thought I would point out the absurdity of your math rather than strawman-ish-ness of your claim...

      Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

      by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 12:20:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "day peaking"? Gawwddd...there is (0+ / 0-)

        a peak, or, in bigger cities, often two peaks. You are talking now about only providing peaking power or top of the intermediate load day along the 24 hour graph. Its a small, and unneeded amount of expense.

        Nuclear is still cheaper, even with the levelized costs because you have to include gas powered backup for when your system is offline because of zero or not enough sunlight. Which...you don't do but the Germans will be doing this, unfortunately.

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 01:24:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, if you must know (0+ / 0-)

          in larger cities each neighborhood peaks individually. NYC has day-peaking (most of Manhattan and the industrial parts of Queens) and evening peaking networks. ConEd has helped to develop zones in NYC where solar will be incentivized to help reduce the peaks and congestion.

          I'm saying that the peak is much, much larger than the current and foreseeable solar penetration. A small and unneeded expense? So all of the thousands of GW of gas peakers are unnecessary? They sure are making a piss pot full of money for being  unnecessary.

          And just stop with the gas backup. Just, please, stop. Do you include the gas powered backup with nuclear for when it is down? for the fact that it can't load follow? for the fact that it can't ramp up to cover peak demand? No, because that isn't how the system works. It just isn't. And no matter how many times you insist that it does, it still doesn't.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 04:22:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Jam...first, my reference point is US nationally (0+ / 0-)

            but specifically California where I had to deal with both the SF peak and the State peak. The mouse curve you see at the CAISO site.

            Right now in my state, they've built out dozens of GWs of new GTs. It's all they are building besides some wind and some solar. The reason, in fact, that even solar and wind stats (for capacity, anyway) are low, and nuclear's percentage hasn't increased even though they've added 4 GWs via uprates over 10 years or so, is that gas has exploded.

            I look at this and see that had they built nuclear the gas would not be so big. Right now they don't build tons of GTs for solar or wind backup but every KW of it has to be backed up.

            For people like our favorite mench here, Harvery Wasserman, it's all solar, all the time. So pro-solar/wind types overwhelming argue for "100%" renewables. This means massive amounts of back up as part of the grid, regardless. If you look at countries that have gone over 10% wind and solar (excluding on demand hydro for a moment) you see the back up coming into play. Germany is building vast quantities of new coal and GTs. As Jerome de Paris renewable advocate and investor has recently noted "We're building GTs like crazy". Why? He will tell you: to back up the wind and solar after phasing out nuclear.

            So the reality is that GT back up is required either new or as existing forms of generation for solar to 'sit on'.

            Nuclear if built out 100% means building out 110% of the grid with low following. But as nuclear (in the US) is over 90% capacity factor, any back up only has to make up that 10% at best. As SMRs come into commercial operation, with their rapid load following abilities and small generation scale, all fossil generation can go bye-bye.

            Of course all these plans, ideally, is to lower the atmospheric CO2 in the long term and, eliminate coal in the nearer term. I simply see nuclear as more able to accomplish this than solar or wind (and yes, I wish we could generator the US' 1TW of capacity with geothermal and hydro but it's not happening).

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 08:31:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you give "them" too much credit (0+ / 0-)

              "They" are building GT like crazy because it is cheap, fast, and easy. No more, no less. "They" could give a shit about wind/solar or even nuclear. Do you know a faster way to get a 12% return on an investment than cranking out a GT plant in about a year?

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:34:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  define "able" (0+ / 0-)
              I simply see nuclear as more able to accomplish this than solar or wind

              Technically able? Economically able? Politically able?

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:40:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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