If startups are bears, thermal solar startups are large bears.
The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar plant is about 40% of design after 15 months.From Market Watch, High-tech solar projects fail to deliver
The plant is struggling to overcome some design/engineering glitches:
- More cloud cover than anticipated
- More water (steam) required than anticipated
- 4 times the natural gas than anticipated for morning startups
- steam leaks from flex tubes due to turbine vibrations
- Has only achieved 40% of design output
- ~3,500 birds per year incinerated
All startups need a shake down period to find design and construction problems. Most of these are caught in the commissioning phase. New technologies have more problems than existing technologies. Is this a poor design abetted by a rush for the “free” green money? It certainly is beginning to look like the poster child for not doing thermal solar. How many more of these green boondoggles are out there?