Obama cronies’ big solar project isn’t delivering promised energy, may have to fold

Obama cronies’ big solar project isn’t delivering promised energy, may have to fold

[Ed. – Y’all remember BrightSource, don’t you?]

A federally backed, $2.2 billion solar project in the California desert isn’t producing the electricity it is contractually required to deliver to PG&E Corp., which says the solar plant may be forced to shut down if it doesn’t receive a break Thursday from state regulators.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, owned by BrightSource Energy Inc., NRG Energy Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, uses more than 170,000 mirrors mounted to the ground to reflect sunlight to 450-foot-high towers topped by boilers that heat up to create steam, which in turn is used to generate electricity. …

Power from the two Ivanpah units that serve PG&E last year fetched about $200 a megawatt-hour on average during summer months, and about $135 a megawatt-hour on average the rest of the year, according to sales data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

That compares to an average price of $57 a megawatt-hour for solar power sold under contracts signed in 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Power from natural-gas plants went for $35 a megawatt-hour on average in California’s wholesale market last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data compiled by the Energy Department. …

The portion of the Ivanpah plant that supplies PG&E in 2014 generated 45% of the electricity the state commission expected under the power contracts, and 68% in 2015, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data and state documents.

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