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Tue Feb 14, 2017, 07:42 AM

Ivanpah solar plant, built to limit greenhouse gases, is burning more natural gas

Ivanpah solar plant, built to limit greenhouse gases, is burning more natural gas

The most recent numbers from the California Air Resources Board show that in 2015, the plant’s second year of operation, carbon emissions from Ivanpah’s gas use jumped by 48.4 percent to 68,676 metric tons.

That’s more than twice the pollution threshold for power plants or factories in California to be required to participate in the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions data for 2016 won’t be available until the end of this year, but data made public by the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that natural gas consumption at the plant increased by about 7 percent during the first three quarters of 2016 when compared to the same period in 2015.


Elsewhere, another report, from "Breaking Energy" reports that the plant, which cost $2.2 billion to build, most of it supported by Federal Loan Guarantees, "Increased its production by "170%" in 2015 over 2014. This percent talk is typical of excusing the failure of solar energy to meaningfully address climate change.

Here's the breaking energy link:

Ivanpah Solar Production Up 170% in 2015

Here's some text from the article:

According to the EIA, Ivanpah 1 and 3 together produced about 290 GWh by the end of 2014, just a few weeks shy of a full year of operation, equivalent to 45 percent of the annual PG&E contract quantity. To hit 70 percent (895 GWh) for the first two-year measuring period, it appears the units combined will need to generate about 605 GWh this year, or nearly 95 percent of the single-year contract quantity. Ivanpah 2 fared poorer in its first full year, producing 134 GWh (40 percent of the annual contract quantity). That means the unit would have to produce 336 GWh – 100 percent of the single-year target – to meet the contract minimums noted to in the SEC filings.


290 GWh means that the average continuous power of the plant in 2015 was 33 MW, trivial on the scale of power plants.

The 2.2 billion plant required a huge stretch of pristine desert to be trashed.

Have a nice day today.

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Reply Ivanpah solar plant, built to limit greenhouse gases, is burning more natural gas (Original post)
NNadir Feb 2017 OP
1965Comet Feb 2017 #1
NNadir Feb 2017 #3
1965Comet Feb 2017 #4
NNadir Feb 2017 #5
1965Comet Feb 2017 #6
NNadir Feb 2017 #9
caraher Feb 2017 #2
hunter Feb 2017 #7
NNadir Feb 2017 #8

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2017, 07:52 AM

1. Welcome to science

 

where experiments happen! Oh yeah, some don't always work out, or at least not initially.

Anyway, according to Wiki, Ivanpah did 653MW in 2015 and is going to beat that in 2016.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanpah_Solar_Power_Facility

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Response to 1965Comet (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 14, 2017, 09:16 AM

3. Welcome to science indeed.

A MW is not a unit of energy. It's a unit of power. Thus "653MW" you report is meaningless.

The Wikipedia reference you give - it's funny how people supporting this failed technology live and breath by Wikipedia and not scientific publications - does give the energy produced by the plant in 2016 in energy units, if not SI units, in MWh.

In 2016, see the table in your Wikipedia reference, shows that the $2.2 billion dollar plant produced, in 2016, 60671 MWh.

Converting this figure to Joules, as anyone familiar with high school science should be able to do, and then dividing the number by the seconds in a year, we can see that the average continuous power of the plant in 2016 was 69.21 MW.

The plant, if it were an experiment, is a costly failure that trashed huge sections of the desert.

I wonder how many engineers could have had their full educations paid for $2.2 billion, how many children could have been vaccinated, how many homeless could have been housed.

The worst part of the deal is that we bet the planetary atmosphere on this sort of thing. The result of a two trillion dollar investment in so called "renewable energy" in the last ten years has resulted in the fastest accumulation of dangerous fossil fuel waste in the planetary atmosphere ever observed.

I really don't need a "welcome to science." I'm in my fourth decade as a working scientist, and I believe that experiments should be well designed.

This one wasn't.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2017, 09:34 AM

4. Ok

 

If you thought the experiment was not well designed, why didn't you just say so?

Instead, we get crap like the following:
"This percent talk is typical of excusing the failure of solar energy to meaningfully address climate change. "

This is one instance of a new technology (and yes, an experimental one at that) that is not living up to its designs. As a scientist I am sure you are familiar with this kind of thing, it happens all the time.

This one instance isn't enough to impugn all of "solar energy", methinks.

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Response to 1965Comet (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 14, 2017, 10:11 AM

5. OK indeed.

The statement to which you object is, um, true.

Solar energy has not, despite 50 years of wild eyed and, frankly delusional cheering, and the expenditure of roughly a trillion dollars on it in the last ten years, addressed climate change.

The data from Mauna Loa shows this unambiguously:



The solar industry has not worked, is not working, and will not work to prevent climate change, nor to eliminate the dependence on natural gas or any other dangerous fossil fuel.

Climate change is an extremely important issue before us, unbelievable in scale and engineering challenges. While we know that people on the right have no clue about this, as a scientist, and as a human being who has spent much of my private time considering this issue in the primary scientific literature, I think we're pretty clueless on the left as well.

I am an advocate of nuclear energy, and make no secret of it. The solar industry will never be as sustainable, as clean, or as safe as nuclear energy. The sooner we recognize this, the better chance we will have to save the world, but the window is closing.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 14, 2017, 10:39 AM

6. If we are using the Mauna Loa chart,

 

why can't I just turn your argument right around and say:

"Nuclear energy has not, despite 62 years of wild eyed and, frankly delusional cheering, ..., addressed climate change. "

Nuclear power has been around for a long time, and yet we are still seeing higher amounts of CO2 in the air. Basically, what I am saying is that your argument based on the chart says less about the prospects of solar energy and more about the changes in population and living standards we have seen throughout the world.

I'm not opposed to nuclear energy, but I would also like to see advances in solar. Indeed, we have seen advances in solar photovoltaic, with the price coming down substantially over the past decade.

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Response to 1965Comet (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 15, 2017, 10:27 AM

9. Actually the prominent climate scientist Jim Hansen has discussed this issue in the primary...

...scientific literature in irrefutable terms.

The reference, which is opened sourced is here:Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power (Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 4889–4895)

He finds that nuclear energy prevented more than 60 billion tons of carbon dioxide being dumped, about two years worth for those who are paying attention on a deeper level than Wikipedia.

The reason you can't turn my argument is obvious. There has not been wild eyed cheering for nuclear energy except, possibly among scientists, including the many Nobel Laureates involved in its development. The assholes in the "renewables will save us" industry, which has received a lot of popular press, often show complete disregard for the 7 million people who die each year from air pollution, and often - and I've been at this a long time, ever since Chernobyl exploded - and instead focusing on attacking nuclear energy.

Any remotely cognizant person who is aware of issues in climate change can easily see this.

In the scientific literature, the most often raised objection to nuclear energy seldom has to do with technical issues, all of which have general solutions identified. Most often "public perception" or something similar is raised. Sometimes it has to do with putative "waste" although, in fact, the only thing remarkable about so called "nuclear waste" - which actually need not be "waste" at all - is that it hasn't killed anyone in more than half a century of accumulation.

The solar and wind industries have not prevented very much dangerous fossil fuel waste from accumulating. We spent two trillion dollars on solar and wind in the last ten years alone, and they don't produce even 5 of the 570 exajoules of energy that humanity uses each year. (Nuclear has routinely provided 25 - 28 exajoules each year of primary energy - despite ignorant opposition from the peanut gallery of uneducated fear mongers.)

The enthusiasm for nuclear energy still exists today primarily among scientists. Your claim that there is "wild eyed cheering" for nuclear energy going on is frankly, delusional. I note that the first new construction of a nuclear plant in the United States was the work of Stephen Chu, a Nobel Laureate in Physics who was Obama's first secretary of energy.

Steven Chu Criticizes Clean Power Plan For Neglecting Nuclear (There's a lot on the internet about Steven Chu and nuclear energy.)

It's very clear from the policies in place around the world that scientists have very limited power to change things, even if appointed to the government, as Chu was. I feel the contempt for science all the time, not only on the right, but also on the left.

The last scientist to have real influence on nuclear policy was the Nobel Laureate Glenn Seaborg; he headed the (now defunct) Atomic Energy Commission, and served in many diplomatic and administrative roles in a broad array of Government functions.

Glenn Seaborg

He was responsible for the building of about 70 or 80 of the 100 or so nuclear plants built in the United States, thus saving hundreds of thousands of lives which would have been lost to air pollution.

Have a great day.





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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2017, 08:35 AM

2. interesting

I didn't realize Ivanpah did not have a molten salt storage system. I'm not sure why I'd assumed it did, apart from the fact that it's the way to make the facility "zero carbon," which I would have taken to be a major goal of the project.

I saw the facility from the air once in June 2015 immediately after sunrise when flying to LA. It really gave me pause, just from the visual impact... because of course many folks talk about filling desert regions with concentrating solar, given their potential to be more efficient in direct sunlight than PV systems. From 6 miles up and maybe 10-20 miles southeast, the dazzling light made an unforgettable and largely (to me) negative impression. Imagining dozens or hundreds of such facilities dotting the landscape... to my mind, the language of "sacrifice zones" seems apt, because yes, we can imagine doing that, but to do so would scar the landscape in ways that really would not even have occurred to me without seeing just one for myself.

I think this mainly underscores for me the need to move away from rapacious consumption.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2017, 01:11 PM

7. Oh gee, no one could have expected this!



This monstrosity would never have been built but for the innumerate self-proclaimed "environmentalists" and the gas industry that plays them for fools.

All these solar and wind projects merely extend the length of time we will be dependent on gas. In the end the same amount of fossil fuels are burnt, and we end up in the same hell.

The only way to quit fossil fuels is to quit fossil fuels.

It's like smoking. Going from a five pack a day habit to a four pack a day habit with an e-cig isn't likely to extend your life in any significant way.

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Response to hunter (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 15, 2017, 09:54 AM

8. I often compare this line of thinking, essentially coal to gas, as an alcoholic announcing he's...

..."cured" because he's switched from scotch to wine and beer.

Switching to natural gas is not a cure for climate change. California's dependency on natural gas is nearly at an all time record.

I have a fun "solar thermal" paper from the primary scientific literature on making, um, natural gas and other hydrocarbons from carbon dioxide using "solar thermal." I'll post the reference and some comments here in the near future.

I'm actually a big fan of thermochemical cycles and have read a great deal about them, but given the record at Ivanpah, it reads like a perpetual motion machine if it's really a "solar thermal" paper, and if the reason for publishing as such has more to do with research funding than the underlying chemistry itself.

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