THIS TIME THE FIRE WAS SELF-CONTAINED
John's latest update on corruption, fraud and waste in the clean energy sector.
A generating tower at the world’s largest solar energy plant was shut down Thursday after a mirror misalignment caused sunlight to burn through electrical wiring and start a fire, according to officials.
The blaze at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert broke out around 9:30 a.m., according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department. In a Facebook post, officials said that flames could be seen near the ninth floor of the Unit 3 tower, but that they had apparently died out by the time firefighters arrived.
Some misaligned mirrors instead focused sunlight on a different spot, which caused the electrical cables to catch fire, San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Mike McClintock told the Associated Press.
The plant had been plagued by production problems, and state utility regulators had threatened to shut it down if it didn’t get back on track. They gave it a temporary reprieve.
Blade failure is the most common ‘accident’ on the wind industry’s list of death and destruction. For a taste of the chaos, let’s head to Spain.
The number of cases involving collapsing turbines and flying blades (aka “component liberation”) has become so common that, if we were a tad cynical, we would go so far to suggest the possibility of some kind of pattern, along the lines proffered by Mr Bond’s nemesis, Goldfinger: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times it’s enemy action”.
Fire (spontaneous combustion), wind and gravity have taken their toll on these things all over the Globe – with fatal results, snuffing out over 160 lives, so far; a fair bit sooner than the victims expected. For a breakdown on wind power fatalities: 290 Tonne Vestas Wind Turbines Dropping Like Giant Wounded Flies
Here are some of the latest solar fire incidents:
It's not just birds being affected:
Thanks to a $1.6 billion green energy loan from the feds, pilots are being blinded by glare as they fly over the Mojave Desert. It’s a safety hazard that affects over 40 million airplane passengers a year.
The culprit is the Ivanpah solar energy project, with more than 300,000 giant mirrors spread over 5 square miles of public land provided to BrightSource/NRG Energy. The $1.6 billion loan is only part of $5.2 billion extended to the company by the Obama administration — 10 times what taxpayers lost from loans to the failed Solyndra fiasco.
Since Ivanpah went online in December, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued warnings to pilots of commercial and private aircraft who fly in and out of Las Vegas and destinations in Southern California. They’re told to be aware of this danger in one of America’s busiest aviation corridors.
As one commercial pilot complained to the FAA, “Neither the pilot nor co-pilot could look in that direction due to the intense brightness. The brightness was like looking into the sun, and it filled about one-third of the co-pilot’s front windshield. In my opinion, the reflection from these mirrors was a hazard to flight.”
Wind Energy News:
SunEdison had previously acquired First Wind, including its four wind energy farms in Hawaii: the 30-megawatt Kaheawa Wind I and 21-megawatt Kaheawa Wind II on Maui, and the 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind and 30-megawatt Kahuku Wind on Oahu.
SunEdison also is in the process of selling its three major Oahu solar farms toD.E. Shaw Group that are worth $350 million.
Hawaiian Electric Co. canceled the contracts for these three solar farms, although in a report that looked into the issue, state regulators said “that the actions taken by HECO cannot be viewed as serving the best interests of the state or the people of Hawaii.”
Chinese turbine champion Goldwind is buying the 160MW Rattlesnake Wind Project in Texas – a deal it said marks the start of a five-year plan to capitalise on the extension of the production tax credit (PTC).
Turbine fire at former goldwind facility in Illinois
When turbines start spinning at the first U.S. offshore wind farm near Rhode Island later this year, some energy developers will already be eyeing a bigger prize.
There’s a steadier, harder wind blowing off the California coast. Those reliable Pacific gusts could yield nearly a terawatt of electricity, 13 times the capacity of all the wind turbines now installed on land in the U.S. — without consuming real estate or blocking anyone’s views.
But Mother Nature isn’t going to make it easy. The continental shelf plunges fast and deep off the west coast, making it impossible to install conventional turbines into a seabed hundreds of feet under water.
Electric Utility Restructuring News
The New York State Public Service Commission approved significant structural reforms to electric utility regulations on Thursday aimed at better aligning utility shareholder financial interests with consumer interests.
The new financial mechanisms will serve to transition the New York power system away from large, centralized power plants, to a network that is increasingly clean, transitive and able to integrate and optimize resources in front of and behind the meter.
The order lays out the steps that have been taken as part of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, which calls for the use of markets and new regulations to achieve increased system efficiency, carbon reductions and customer empowerment (14-00581). The REV process supports New York’s mandate to generate 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. This most recent order codifies the proposals that were laid out in Track 2 of the REV proceeding.
Goodbye To The 2015-16 El-Nino (free e-book at end of article)
The sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific are bordered by the coordinates of 5S-5N, 170W-120W. They are used by NOAA and other meteorological agencies to define when an El Niño event is taking place. According to the most-recent weekly satellite-enhanced data, the temperature anomalies for that region have dropped below the +0.5 deg C threshold between El Niño and ENSO-neutral phases, the latter of which is the “normal” phase of the tropical Pacific when neither El Niño or La Niña are taking place.
As the president reveals his plan to reduce greenhouse gases to save us from an apocalyptic atmosphere, I wish to remind people of three things:
1.) The true hockey stick of the fossil fuel era: Global progress in total population, personal wealth and life expectancy.
At The Movies