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Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, CA

#SignOfClimateProgress Climate change requires some creative thinking about how to generate reliable power to the electricity grid. The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, located along the California/Nevada border along Interstate 15 near border-town Primm, NV, is a hybrid natural gas and solar collector steam-generating station. Natural gas is used to pre-heat the station in the mornings. The mirrors concentrate sunlight focused onto a tower holding boilers that heat water into steam, which turns turbines that generate electricity. The basic concept of the power generation itself is very similar to any other turbine-based power generating system, as used in coal, natural gas, biofuel, nuclear, or hydroelectric generating stations. The novelty of the Ivanpah system is that it uses sunlight as its fuel that it has to concentrate on-site.

This technology is different than similar solar collecting designs that use molten salts in addition to steam to generate power. Molten salts used as a heat-storing medium can be used for power generation after the sun has set, or in a short-term situation of a darkened sky. Ivanpah operates in real-time with full sunlight as long as that sunlight can heat the water directly.

Hazards from this facility are to birds and local terrestrial wildlife, though remediation efforts have shown success.

Just three days after these photos were shot, on May 19, 2016, some of the mirrors malfunctioned, causing a fire in a section of the tower not designed to receive concentrated solar rays. Tower 2 was already shut down for unrelated repairs, shown herein. All three were operational again by June 20, 2016.

As noted in this recent Wired article, the Ivanpah station has a litany of problems: http://www.wired.com/2016/05/huge-solar-plant-caught-fire-thats-least-problems/.

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Climate Photography, Joshua Ruschhaupt
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7360x4912 / 5.3MB
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Ivanpah
#SignOfClimateProgress Climate change requires some creative thinking about how to generate reliable power to the electricity grid.  The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, located along the California/Nevada border along Interstate 15 near border-town Primm, NV, is a hybrid natural gas and solar collector steam-generating station.  Natural gas is used to pre-heat the station in the mornings.  The mirrors concentrate sunlight focused onto a tower holding boilers that heat water into steam, which turns turbines that generate electricity.  The basic concept of the power generation itself is very similar to any other turbine-based power generating system, as used in coal, natural gas, biofuel, nuclear, or hydroelectric generating stations.  The novelty of the Ivanpah system is that it uses sunlight as its fuel that it has to concentrate on-site.  <br />
<br />
This technology is different than similar solar collecting designs that use molten salts in addition to steam to generate power.  Molten salts used as a heat-storing medium can be used for power generation after the sun has set, or in a short-term situation of a darkened sky.  Ivanpah operates in real-time with full sunlight as long as that sunlight can heat the water directly.<br />
<br />
Hazards from this facility are to birds and local terrestrial wildlife, though remediation efforts have shown success.<br />
<br />
Just three days after these photos were shot, on May 19, 2016, some of the mirrors malfunctioned, causing a fire in a section of the tower not designed to receive concentrated solar rays.  Tower 2 was already shut down for unrelated repairs, shown herein.  All three were operational again by June 20, 2016.<br />
<br />
As noted in this recent Wired article, the Ivanpah station has a litany of problems: http://www.wired.com/2016/05/huge-solar-plant-caught-fire-thats-least-problems/.