California regulators may force a massive solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert to shut down after years of under-producing electricity — not to mention the plant was blinding pilots flying over the area and incinerating birds.The plant has had problems for years, and never has lived up to expectations. At the same time, it apparently has flash-fried thousands upon thousands of birds while not producing all that much electricity -- at a cost of $1.6 billion in federal aid in addition to whatever the ninnies who built it invested:
The Ivanpah solar plant could be shut down if state regulators don’t give it more time to meet electricity production promises it made as part of its power purchase agreements with utilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Mojave Desert plant, built with the aid of a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, kicked off commercial operation at the tail end of December 2013, and for the eight-month period from January through August, its three units generated 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity, according to U.S. Energy Information Administrationdata. That’s roughly one-quarter of the annual 1 million-plus megawatt-hours that had been anticipated.While the high-end numbers of birds fried by the plant -- estimated at 28,000 per year -- are provided by environmentalist groups and thus are suspect, there is little question that the plant's design ensures that many birds will get torched. The plant utilizes high towers with water boilers on top, with highly focused mirrors reflecting sunlight onto the boilers to heat water, generating steam which is used to drive turbines and create electricity. Birds that fly between the mirrors and the boilers get cooked in mid-air. It apparently is quite a sight.
Output did pick up in the typically sunny months of May, June, July and August, as one might expect, with 189,156 MWh generated in that four-month period. But even that higher production rate would translate to annual electricity output of less than 600,000 MWh, at least 40 percent below target.
BrightSource, which owns the plant along with NRG and Google, has conceded that some of the problems with electricity generation stem from weather:
The company said that “weather at Ivanpah since February has generally been worse than expected, resulting in reduced output.” July, when generation dipped to 35,967 MWh from 64,275 MWh in June -- the plant’s best month so far -- was particularly lacking in sunshine, BrightSource said, at least relative to the expectations the company developed over several years of meteorological study of the area.Please note that the plant is located in the Mojave Desert. If you cannot rely upon regular sunshine in the Mojave, where exactly can you rely upon it? This is the problem with solar power. First, the sun only shines for about half the day. Only a few hours of that sunshine are useful for the production of electricity. And apparently even in the Mojave, which I might remind you is a FUCKING DESERT WHERE THE SUN WILL KILL YOU, sunshine cannot be relied upon. This is one of the main power sources Barry I wants us to count upon. What the fuck is wrong with nuclear power, I don't know.
So let's recount what we've learned from this. Supposedly mature technologies involving solar power 1) don't produce as much power as bureaucrats think they will; b) the sun apparently does not always shine in the desert; iii) most of the fucking country is not a desert anyway; IV) and nowhere in the world does the sun shine 24/7. These factors add up to a bunch of really good reasons solar power is not a good plan for future power sources given current technology, as well as a whole bunch of really good reasons why government funding of these projects when the private sector would not build them on their own is really, really, really fucking stupid. The federal government does not exist to pick winners and losers by giving some people money, but not others. All this project did was put taxpayers on the hook for somebody's stupid idea.