Maybe it’s time to rethink solar plants. An Associated Press story --- not getting far-reaching media attention --- finds the largest solar power-producing plant of its type in the world at the California-Nevada border "once promoted as a turning point in green energy, isn’t producing as much energy as planned,” notes Grumpy Editor.
The second paragraph of the AP story raises eyebrows. It mentions one of the reasons is that “the sun isn’t shining as much as expected.”
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System facility, spanning five square miles of federal land in California, 50 miles south of Las Vegas, couldn’t be located at a better spot to capture the sun’s rays. There is ample sunshine for the operation’s 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors that reflect rays to boilers atop 459-foot towers.
Among major cities, nearby Las Vegas ties with Phoenix as top U.S. locations in average annual sunshine with a high 85 percent. That’s 3,825 hours of unblocked sun’s rays a year.
Yet, the $2.2 billion solar facility is producing only about half its expected output for this year.
What’s the hangup? The California Energy Commission blames the sluggish output on “factors such as clouds, jet contrails and weather” having “a greater impact on the plant…”
Clouds (which are few) jet contrails (which are everywhere over the country) and weather (which is mostly dry and sunny at the California-Nevada border desert location)? Hmmm.
A research firm analyst says the facility’s early production facilities “do not paint a strong picture for solar-thermal technology development.”
FYI, IN CASE YOU MISSED THESE…
With the Thursday high temperature predicted to be 40 degrees under cloudy sky, look for shivering PETA activists at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade to protest SeaWorld’s use of orcas (killer whales) by cramming several naked, black-and-white painted people into a bathtub set outside Macy’s flagship store in New York’s Herald Square…Oops! Near the end of President Barack Obama’s Friday executive action speech in Las Vegas on immigration changes, KSNV-TV, Las Vegas, interrupted his remarks, dropping in a Cox Communications commercial…By the way, a pre-Vegas speech NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, not widely circulated, finds 48 percent oppose the president taking executive action on immigration, while 38 percent support it and 14 percent have no opinion or are unsure…And while the president spent the weekend in sunny Las Vegas, that included playing 27 holes of golf with former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter in his foursome, Vice President Joe Biden was in the Ukraine, where he announced an increase in U.S. nonlethal aid --- including Humvees and radar equipment…As another cold spell hits a chunk of the nation, a Reuters story out of Oslo, Norway, mentions, “This year is on track to be among the warmest on record,” then reports the coldest U.S. November morning since 1976 “with subfreezing temperatures in all 50 states”…Forget the influence of usual U.S. developments such as corporate earnings and federal actions. Friday’s surprise rate cut from China's central bank coupled with dovish comments from European Central Bank’s president sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring 91 points to 17810...Lowest price of the season? A mailer from Motor Trend magazine pitches a subscription deal to non-subscribers, pointing out the annual cover price is $215.64, but with a “rate adjustment” one can grab “your revised rate” of --- $9. And the magazine will toss in a free emergency flashlight…Radio station KNEB, Scottsbluff, Neb., --- 962 miles from Los Angeles --- beat by several hours the Los Angeles Times with word that 170 passengers and six crew members on board a Princess Cruises ship that docked in San Pedro (in Los Angeles Harbor) fell ill following an outbreak of norovirus…Join a state National Guard --- and see Africa? Members of National Guard battalions from California, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Iowa and Kansas have been ordered to mobilize for deployments to West Africa next spring to support U.S. and international efforts to stem the spread of the Ebola virus.
Netflix now accounts for more than a third of all Internet traffic during peak evening hours in North America.