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Not a technically great shot, but hopefully an informative one, if the goal of TE is to learn about the world around us. People can watch out for it, when they're driving out in the Mojave Desert! This is the Ivanpah Solar Power Facily, a concentrated solar thermal plant located at the base of Clark Mountain, on public land, just across the state line from Primm, Nevada. It has three large, 500-foot-tall towers, deploying 173,000 heliostats (solar panels) which focus the solar energy on the owers. It was first connected to the electrical grid in September, 2013. This is a $2.2 billion facility, also backed by Google, which contributed ome $168 million. It uses water tube boilers to generate steam, which is then used to generate electrical power. It was estimated that this solar station would redue carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 tons annually.

There's been come controversy, however, due to the impact that project has had on the fragile desert ecosystem. It was scaled back from its original size due to concerns over habitat loss for the endangered desert tortoise. There have also been issues with bird collisions and burning from the mirror field. Thirty-four dead birds were found during the initial trial, in 2013, half with heavily burned feathers. In just a four month period in 2014, biologists monitoring the station reported the number of bird deaths at 290. To generate steam, startup requires the burning of natural gas also, emitting some 47,000 metric TONS of carbon dioxide in 2014, which is twice the pollution threshold at which power plants and factories in California are required to participate in the cap and trade program. Nor has the plant lived up to expectations for solar energy. As of November, 2014, it was producing only about half of its expected output, but things are improving somewhat. Probably didn't help that the state blamed the poor performance on "clouds, jet contrails (!) and weather." By 2017, however, it was producing the contract output requirements; not sure if they were revised based on past performance. It's also operated with a federal loan, so it ain't cheap, and taxpayers are footing some of the bill, a situation to which many people have objected.

That said, I guess we have to start somewhere with renewable energy. The needs of the population of CA certainly aren't decreasing, and hopefully the technology improves and becomes more cost-effective and efficient in time.

pajaran, jemaflor has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1146] (2026)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2019-05-00
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2020-09-22 11:53
Viewed: 0
Points: 4
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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1146] (2026)
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