Obama-Backed CA Solar Plant Literally Incinerates Itself

Ivanpah solar energyThe world’s largest solar energy plant known for incinerating birds just got a taste of its own medicine. A fire at the plant Thursday morning, which may have been caused by “misaligned” mirrors used to reflect sunlight at boiler towers, broke out in the facilities interior — literally scorching parts of the plant.

NRG Energy, the company operating the Ivanpah solar plant in southern California, was forced to shut down one of its generating towers and is investigating if mirrors, or heliostats, failed and torched a boiling tower. Now, the plant which got $1.6 billion from the Obama administration, will only be able to generate electricity from one of its three towers.

An NRG spokesman said it’s too early to say exactly what caused the failure, but it’s likely due to misaligned heliostats, according to Gizmodo. Whatever the cause, workers and firefighters literally went through hell to douse the flames.

Gizmodo reports:

A small fire was reported yesterday morning at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in California, forcing a temporary shutdown of the facility. It’s now running at a third of its capacity (a second tower is down due to scheduled maintenance), and it’s not immediately clear when the damaged tower will restart. It’s also unclear how the incident will impact California’s electricity supply.

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.

The scorched tower is currently shut down, according to the Associated Press, and it’s not clear when it will come online again. It’s also unclear if this setback will affect California’s electricity supply.

This only adds to Ivanpah’s troubles. The plant was nearly shut down by California regulators for not producing nearly as much power as it was supposed to. Regulators have given the plant until the end of July to meet its power quotas, but this fire may make it hard for the plant to meet its goals.

Ivanpah only generated 45 percent of expected power in 2014 and only 68 percent in 2015, according to government data. And it does all this at a cost of $200 per megawatt hour — nearly six times the cost of electricity from natural gas-fired power plants. Interestingly enough, Ivanpah uses natural gas to supplement its solar production.

It wasn’t long after the plant opened, its operators asked the federal government for a $539 million federal grant to help pay off the $1.6 billion loan it got from the Energy Department.

Environmentalists quickly attacked the project for killing thousands of birds since it opened. Many birds were incinerated by the intense heat reflected off Ivanpah’s heliostats.

The Associated Press cited statistics presented by environmentalists in 2014 that “about a thousand… to 28,000” birds are incinerated by Ivanpah’s heliostats every year.

“Forensic Lab staff observed a falcon or falcon-like bird with a plume of smoke arising from the tail as it passed through the flux field,” according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report from 2014.

Ivanpah — which is owned by BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy and Google — uses more than 170,000 large mirrors, or heliostats, to reflect sunlight towards water boilers set atop 450-foot towers that create steam to turn giant turbines and generate electricity.

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This article was originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Comments

  1. THE CAPTIVE says

    Excellent! Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving con– for consumers!

  2. Where r all the animal activists???why arent they there protesting or at Google or the other owners buildings protesting the killing of 20,000 birds????!!! Hello (((((((((((

  3. Lani, that is only a small part of it. The Audubon Society says that wind farms kill a million birds a year and UNKNOWN quantities of bats. (Bats eat their weight each night in mosquitoes.) Spain and England are cutting way back on “clean energy” because they can’t compete with energy costs any more. But stupid Jerry Brown and the most inept ever president just keep lumbering away.

  4. Rottweiler says

    Stupid is as stupid does. Leave it to the leftists to create a huge ecological disaster creating a larger catastrophe than we origininally had. Hmmm brings to mind the mercury light bulb (now mandatory) that gets thrown into the “landfill” because they did not anticipate humans being lazy and non-conforming to their progressive state of mind. We never had mercury prior in our landfills now we have an abundance thanks to the “great progressive thinkers” like these nimrods. They cost the consumer more, waste more energy than produced and now are bird murderes by the thousands per year. Does PETA know about these animal slayers?

    • The Old Chip says

      Goes right along with the great obama’s main green “showcase” “save the planet” solar panel company, that he incidentally gave $535 MILLION of taxpayer funds, declared bankruptcy and LAID OFF 1,100 EMPLOYEES.

  5. Wasn’t this plant built with 1970’s blueprints? Too funny. I heard a speaker just this week and this particular plant was used as an example of FAILED IDEAS and A SINKHOLE of taxpayers money.
    RARE BIRDS/FLORA & FAUNA, are only important IF A TV CAMERA is present. THINK HOW DAMAGED the Arizona Desert is due to illegals trashing the place. I wrote a couple of so called “environmental groups” about that desert and they have yet to respond. It’s been at least 3 yrs now. They really don’t give a HOOT! (pun intended)

    • The Old Chip says

      You’re right JET; just where are the environnuts on all this? One of the DIRTY SECRETS the corrupt”0″rats and environuts “conveniently”, ignore and WANT TO HIDE. It is such a serious problem in Arizona that they have an entire agency dedicated solely to it. According to that Arizona department there is 96 to 160 million pounds (48,000 tons to 80,000 tons) of trash accumulating and decomposing (or not) in the environmentally sensitive areas along the border and beyond. Load-out areas in Arizona that look like a 747 crash site with thousands of backpacks, clothes, fouled diapers and such going on for a mile or more. Sadly there are dozens more like them. The consequences of ILLEGAL alien waste in Arizona are well documented, and shown to seriously affect human health, environmental quality and economic well-being. Impacts include trash accumulation, ILLEGAL trails and paths, erosion and watershed degradation, damaged infrastructure and property, loss of vegetation and wildlife, campfires and escaped fires, abandoned vehicles and bicycles, vandalism, graffiti and site damage (historical, archaeological), and occurrence of bio-hazardous waste.

  6. Now if only the “political” class could enslave itself it would be perfect.

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