The Solar Power Plant That Runs on Natural Gas

So, get this, environmentalists worked everyone up into a lather about global warming- now on pause for over 18 years- and the need to use renewables- which are green, safe and just dandy (don’t mind that the “free” energy costs three times as much as the “dirty” stuff”).

So in California they built a you-beaut solar thermal plant which fries birds by the thousand and which actually needs natural gas to keep it running smoothly- for up to 4 hours a day they burn those awful fossil fuels to keep the turbine spinning.

That my friends, is why no rational person should ever vote Greens or pay any attention to an “expert” with the word sustainable in his/her job description.

From WUWT:

Solar Fossil Fueled Fantasies


Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach.

Sometimes when I’m reading about renewable technologies, I just break out laughing at the madness that the war on carbon has wrought. Consider the Ivanpah solar tower electric power plant. It covers five square miles in Southern California with mirrors which are all focusing the sun on a central tower. The concentrated sunlight boils water that is used to run a steam turbine to generate electricity.


ivanpah solar power plant


Sounds like at a minimum it would be ecologically neutral … but unfortunately, the Law of Unintended Consequences never sleeps, and the Ivanpah tower has turned out to be a death trap for birds, killing hundreds and hundreds every year:

“After several studies, the conclusion for why birds are drawn to the searing beams of the solar field goes like this: Insects are attracted to the bright light of the reflecting mirrors, much as moths are lured to a porch light. Small birds — insect eaters such as finches, swallows and warblers — go after the bugs. In turn, predators such as hawks and falcons pursue the smaller birds.

But once the birds enter the focal field of the mirrors, called the “solar flux,” injury or death can occur in a few seconds. The reflected light from the mirrors is 800 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Either the birds are incinerated in flight; their feathers are singed, causing them to fall to their deaths; or they are too injured to fly and are killed on the ground by predators, according to a report by the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory.”

– David Danelski, Solar: Ivanpah Solar Described as Deadly Trap for Wildlife,” Riverside-Press Enterprise, April 8, 2014.

But of course, that’s not what made me laugh. That’s a tragedy which unfortunately will be mostly ignored by those good-hearted environmentally conscious folks suffering from chronic carbophobia.

The next oddity about Ivanpah is that despite being powered by light, it is light-years away from being economically viable. Like the old sailors say, “The wind is free … but everything else costs money”.

But being totally uneconomical doesn’t matter, because despite costing $2.2 billion to build, Google is a major shareholder, so at least they could afford to foot the bills for their high-priced bird-burner …

Read the rest here




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