User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 5545
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:11 am

wwhitney wrote:OK, so your bet is looking better, but the situation still isn't clear. We are back to my second post today, except the margin is 20% instead of 6%.
Except for the fact that both you and Pete Danko quote CO2 production from a "typical" natural gas unit. I proposed a "new" natural gas power plant which should be able to operate AT LEAST as efficiently as the ten-year-old unit I quoted. I'll stick with the 36% number I calculated from that data.
Whitney wrote:If Ivanpah makes enough of its electricity in the evening, it may still be a CO2 win over PV + gas peaker.
It sounds like Ivanpah's consumption of natural gas may have gotten worse in 2015, not better. We'll have to wait and see.

And all this ignores the ongoing environmental damage done by Ivanpah, including approximately 2000 bird deaths each year.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

wwhitney
Posts: 663
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:10 am
Delivery Date: 01 Apr 2011
Location: Berkeley, CA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:29 am

OK eia.gov has 2015 information. It breaks out the data by the 3 different towers. E.g. http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/bro ... UN-US-99.A

In 2015 Ivanpah 1 produced 209,975 MWh with 168,950 mcf of natural gas. Ivanpah 2 produced 219,044 MWh with 186,151 mcf of natural gas. Ivanpah 3 produced 223,356 MWh with 209,713 mcf of natural gas.

In contrast, the Pastoria Energy Facility mentioned earlier produced 4,784,662 MWh in 2015 using 32,156,364 mcf of natural gas.

Totaling over the three towers, Ivanpah produced 652 GWh using 565 gcf of natural gas, or 1.155 Wh/cf of natural gas. In contrast, Pastoria Energy Facility produced 0.149 Wh/cf of natural gas.

In other words, had the natural gas that Ivanpah used in 2015 instead been burnt at Pastoria, it would have produce 13% of the energy that Ivanpah produced.

So the bet is not looking so good for 2015 data. Since Ivanpah is a fairly new technology, it stands to reason there would be a learning curve and the performance would improve over the first few years.

Cheers, Wayne

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 5545
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:03 pm

Thanks for the data. Based on the data you provided from the EIA, it appears that the natural gas consumption does not include the nighttime usage. I say this because the 2014 value does not match the value given by previously:
RegGuheert wrote:
Pete Danko wrote:In 2014, Ivanpah used 867 million cubic feet (mmcf) of natural gas.
I calculate 778 mmcf for all three plants for 2014 based on the EIA data.

In any case, it does appear that the natural gas used for production is came down in 2015 versus 2014. That's an improvement.
wwhitney wrote:In other words, had the natural gas that Ivanpah used in 2015 instead been burnt at Pastoria, it would have produce 13% of the energy that Ivanpah produced.

So the bet is not looking so good for 2015 data.
Huh? Ivanpah has no storage. Here's a link to current renewable production in CA (18 Mar 2016):

Image

Note the yellow curve at the very top is all of solar thermal in CA. Ivanpah likely represents 1/3 to 1/2 of that production. As you can see, since Ivanpah has NO storage capability, the timing of the production curve is quite indistinguishable from PV.

In other words, building the equivalent production of Ivanpah with PV on rooftops with NO burning of natural gas would, in fact, outshine Ivanpah in the following important ways:

- Cost would be cut in half.
- Land use impact would be ZERO.
- Reduced load on the CA power grid rather than increased load.
- Benefit would be to the ratepayers (who got the solar) rather than being an increase to all the ratepayers.
- No fried birds or encroachment on desert tortoises.
- Lower risk.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

wwhitney
Posts: 663
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:10 am
Delivery Date: 01 Apr 2011
Location: Berkeley, CA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:46 pm

RegGuheert wrote:Huh? Ivanpah has no storage.

No, but it does have some time shifting. Ivanpah reportedly produces energy later into the evening than PV, which would mean that it could be helping with the second spike of the duck curve. For example, that DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf you linked to says that Solar Thermal produced peak power at 3:36 p.m., while Solar (PV presumably) produced peak power at 11:17 a.m.

So the question is how much gas would you have to burn to achieve similar time shifting, would it be more or less than 13% of total energy produced?

RegGuheert wrote:As you can see, since Ivanpah has NO storage capability, the timing of the production curve is quite indistinguishable from PV.

That style of graph makes it very difficult to see any such thing. The large hump in the solar PV dominates the shape of the solar thermal curve. For example, I would not have guessed looking at the graph that solar thermal peak production was at 3:36 p.m.

Of course, what we really need is more finely grained production numbers over the course of a day, averaged over many days. You may well be right that PV plus gas could duplicate Ivanpah's production with less natural gas burned.

As to comparing Ivanpah to PV plus gas using today's numbers, that doesn't really address the question of whether Ivanpah should have been built. Instead it addresses the question of "should we build another Ivanpah?" To address the question of whether Ivanpah should have been built, you would need to use numbers from the time it was being planned.

Also, to the extent that Ivanpah is an experiment, I think it is too soon to make a final judgement on it. Production seems to have improved from 2014 to 2015, so it may well continue to improve over the next couple years. Who knows, maybe they will figure out how to increase the time shifting into the evening.

Cheers, Wayne

GRA
Posts: 7361
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: East side of San Francisco Bay

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:23 pm

Reg, I was planning to write one or more replies to you, but since wwhitney has made most of the points I was going to make, unless I chime in you can assume that he's channeling my thoughts as well as his own! :lol:

The one point which he made but I'd emphasize, is that unless it would be cheaper and use less NG (as I think you've argued, although the numbers that have been provided in the back and forth don't seem to show that) to shutter Ivanpah and replace it with a new gas-fired plant (stranding $2.2 billion of capital assets plus whatever the new plant costs), there is no rational justification to shut it down, regardless of what would make more sense if we were starting from scratch now. As I mentioned a few posts back, Ivanpah was justified on the relative costs of CSP vs. PV at the time, not the costs that changed radically in favor of PV as it was nearing completion.

As to bird kills, IIRR that potential along with the effects on desert tortoises and various other flora and fauna was discussed at length during the plant's permit hearings. Links to the transcripts of same were provided upthread. I forced myself to read them in their entirety, mind-numbing though much of the testimony was, because of the issues that would likely be faced by any more plants in similar areas. That's why the hearings were so extensive, because everyone involved assumed that this was likely to be a template for future desert installations, PV as well as CSP, so they wanted to get as many issues/objections on the table as they could think of from the start. Here's a map dated 10/18/2011 showing desert projects either approved or under review as of that date: http://www.energy.ca.gov/siting/solar/c ... _solar.pdf
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 5545
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:02 pm

wwhitney wrote:For example, that DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf you linked to says that Solar Thermal produced peak power at 3:36 p.m., while Solar (PV presumably) produced peak power at 11:17 a.m.
O.K. I missed that. Still, both curves should be quite flat through the middle of the day given that the solar thermal plants track and the PV have a range of pointing angles. I suspect both may be very minor peaks.
wwhitney wrote:Of course, what we really need is more finely grained production numbers over the course of a day, averaged over many days.
Yes, that's what we really need. Certainly that data exists. Does anyone know where we might find it?
wwhitney wrote:As to comparing Ivanpah to PV plus gas using today's numbers, that doesn't really address the question of whether Ivanpah should have been built. Instead it addresses the question of "should we build another Ivanpah?"
It's true. But simply based on the cost of electricity projected for Ivanpah from the very beginning, I would say it should not have been built. US$0.18/kWh to the utility is simply too much money. PV projects today are selling electricity for less than a third of that. And it does appear that some of the other solar thermal plants built around the same time as Ivanpah actually do offer some real benefits over PV without the need to burn natural gas.
wwhitney wrote:Also, to the extent that Ivanpah is an experiment, I think it is too soon to make a final judgement on it. Production seems to have improved from 2014 to 2015, so it may well continue to improve over the next couple years. Who knows, maybe they will figure out how to increase the time shifting into the evening.
They claimed, even up front, that it would take four years to optimize the plant. Unfortunately for BrightSource, that claim was buried in filings and not really publicized. But more significantly, they are not meeting contractual obligations. That implies that their projections were not correct. In 2015 they produced about 2/3 of the contractual requirement. They still have a long way to go.

But none of this justifies supporting the corporations with taxpayer money in a manner which hurts both taxpayers and ratepayers. No one has addressed that part of the equation. I'm sorry, but that is pretty tough to justify in the case of Ivanpah which looks very poor all around when compared with the alternatives.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 5545
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:40 pm

Here's another image from CA-ISO from Sunday, March 20, similar to the one I posted previously:

Image

In this case, solar thermal peaked 47 minutes BEFORE solar PV (10:33 AM versus 11:20 AM). But, more importantly, it appears that solar PV shows significant production for a full TWO hours after solar thermal shows no production (from 5 PM until 7 PM). My conclusion is that CA solar thermal may quit early in lower-light conditions.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

pdxrenewablewriter
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:28 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Apr 2016

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:33 pm

For those who are interested in Ivanpah, this most recent post of mine provides new data on natural gas consumption at the plant, which has been a topic of conversation.

http://petedanko.net/ivanpah-co2-emissi ... -solar-pv/

Pete Danko

User avatar
JeremyW
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:53 am
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 19136
Location: San Gabriel, CA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:29 pm

RegGuheert wrote:
wwhitney wrote:Of course, what we really need is more finely grained production numbers over the course of a day, averaged over many days.
Yes, that's what we really need. Certainly that data exists. Does anyone know where we might find it?


Any finer data is proprietary to the CA ISO, Ivanpah, and to the IOUs they produce power for. Perhaps a research paper will be able to publish some data and analysis but I wouldn't hold my breath for it. Also, the renewables watch data is not always accurate and is not intended for detailed study.

You can argue till your face turns blue about how Ivanpah shouldn't have been built, but the reality is that it is built, and running. Killing it won't suddenly put solar on thousands of people's homes.
Former 2012 SL leasee 6/23/12 - 9/23/15
Now driving Honda Fit EV, License plate: CHADEMO
2000 Honda Insight for long trips

User avatar
RegGuheert
Posts: 5545
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

One of Ivanpah's three towers had a fire

Sat May 21, 2016 5:26 am

It seems that one of the Ivanpah's three towers caught on fire about 2/3 of the way up due to some mirrors being misaligned. Fortunately, the workers were able to get the fire under control before firefighters arrived.
Gizmodo wrote:Putting out the blaze was not easy task, either. Firefighters were forced to climb 300 feet up a boiler tower to get to the scene. Officials said the fire was located about two-thirds up the tower. Workers at the plant actually managed to subdue the flames by the time firefighters reached the spot, and it was officially extinguished about 20 minutes after it started.
Here's a photo:

Image
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
2011 miles at purchase. 10K miles on Apr 14, 2013. 20K miles (55.7Ah) on Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah) on Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah) on Feb 8, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

Return to “Environmental Issues”