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Susan Kraemer's Comments

October 24, 2014

California’s Conservation Proposal Kneecaps Utility-scale Solar

Yes Brian, actually DRECP does expect that rooftop solar distributed generation will provide most of the renewables California will need. But it's not their job to permit if someone can put solar on their roof, so these 4 agencies don't deal with DG.

However, DRECP's very careful and well researched assessment (8,000 pages) during the past five years is that we do need to ALSO have some big scale solar.

--and of course wind, which cannot be DG at all: little home wind is totally inefficient. Big solar is more efficient than rooftop as well, but a rooftop is enough to power a home so it doesn't really matter.

So the wind industry simply wouldn't exist in California if it gets chased off wide open spaces.

The question was, should renewables be allowed on public lands like oil and gas have been since the 1920s. Obama put the first ever big solar and wind projects on BLM land, but desert NIMBYs and others just opposed to green energy are fighting back and making it impossible.

So this was a more careful approach to see a way to avoid the opposition by bending to everyone else's needs first, not just conservation, but military space, recreation areas, off road vehicle people, etc, etc.

But from everyone I talked to, it bends too far.

October 24, 2014

California’s Conservation Proposal Kneecaps Utility-scale Solar

Well, you will like part of DRECP then, Brian.The land available for solar and wind was cut by two thirds.

September 05, 2014

For the Birds: How Speculation Trumped Fact at Ivanpah

Steve Frazer - 'I cringe at the loss of hawks, falcons and eagles '

No, the dead birds (or the feather clusters left behind by scavengers) tallied on the site by H.T. Harvey & Associates - who used several teams of dogs and their handlers to search - did not include predators like hawks, falcons or eagles, as I recall from the pdf list.You could check it in the link.

Most were individual members of small species. The largest number of any one group were various kinds of hummingbirds and various kinds of sparrows, with about ten each. Both are small and at least hummingbirds tend to hover. These were close to the tower.

BrightSource engineers have been working with Sandia National Laboratory since April on designing a new algorithm to alter the direction of the mirrors when in standby, so that they no longer create focused reflected sunlight near the tower when they are not needed.

They have been testing this beginning in summer. By scattering the light, it now is reducing the visual nuisance of glare but also reducing the danger of focused solar flux hitting a bird rather than the tower (where it is needed to make steam).

September 05, 2014

For the Birds: How Speculation Trumped Fact at Ivanpah

Mirrors are cheap, though, and it is not like they are polluting anything just sitting waiting their moment in the sun!

September 06, 2014

For the Birds: How Speculation Trumped Fact at Ivanpah

'other hours, it burns gas' makes it sound like a hybrid CSP/gas plant, ie using sunlight by day, gas by night.

But Ivanpah does not use any gas to generate electricity. It is not a CSP-hybrid.

CSP plants can be hybrids - solar thermal can be attached onto a coal plant even, since the back end - turbines turned by steam - is the same. Using partly solar energy, hybrids reduce the emissions of gas or coal plants.

By contrast, a pure CSP plant like Ivanpah can use a little power to idle the machinery overnight - to prevent damage of stops and starts - and to start up again in the morning.

At Ivanpah, as part of the morning machinery start up, it uses gas for this purpose, since this project included no thermal storage.

But CSP with storage can use its own stored thermal energy instead of grid electricity or gas for this morning startup. Solana, that began shipping CSP power last year in Arizona does this.

The off taker, APS, told me that they use a small part of their storage for that so they don't need grid electricity or gas for that morning startup. It's not a lot of energy though.

The second tower unit of the Palen project proposes to use its own thermal storage for the start up. SolarReserve's Rice project, which was permitted earlier, and Crescent Dunes which will be on line in Nevada next spring, also use their own thermal storage for that overnight machine idling and morning start up.

February 13, 2014

Go-Time for Solar CSP: Ivanpah, Crescent Dunes Switch On

What very nice reporting. It was frustrating to read reports that were clearly inconsistent; that Ivanpah WAS on, but that it WASN'T powering the grid as you'd expect.

Now the mystery is solved.

November 02, 2013

US Solar Surge: Flipping Switches on a Hoover Dam of Utility-scale Concentrated Solar Power

Stan, Kevin Smith told me that SolarReserve can deliver dispatchable power at 100% of capacity, as can any other CSP with storage. You misread if you thought he was referring to CSP without storage.

An interview I had with a California utility buyer of solar from SEGS last year uncovered the fact that old CSP from the old SEGS plant in California IS selling now at around 6 cents, so various comment estimates for costs are way off, as are their estimates of how much parasitic load takes. It's only a percent or two of a 300 MW project to run trackers and lights, and sometimes they buy that directly from the grid, as a cost of business. I spoke to the buyer for SCE for the article:

July 01, 2013

California’s Invisible Solar Problem

Yes, William, you are right that the SREC states like New Jersey are not adopting this software as fast as California, Arizona, etc, and nor are their PUCs getting involved in getting it developed like the CPUC, which suggests to me that it is not as big an issue for their grid operators. And that the reason is that the SREC auctions must need that accurate info on distributed generation.

July 02, 2013

California’s Invisible Solar Problem

My impression from these interviews was that this as an insoluble problem at all. Germany's example is instructive. They simply require smart inverters and have done since January 2012 on all new DG installations, and since they have also retrofitted all the earlier DG installations; they are getting all of the generation data on everything generating, large and small.

These smart inverters provide the same data as the utility-scale inverters do for the grid, and as Gerber pointed out, they could well lead to an income source for us rooftop solar owners: we could be selling actual kilovars of voltage regulation, as well as our kilowatts of raw power.

June 02, 2013

US Now Most Attractive Market for Renewable Energy, Finds Ernst & Young

I'd love this to be true, but Earnst & Young is making a basic error in assuming that because President Obama supports a permanent PTC, that it will happen. Congress is controlled by a party bitterly opposed to renewables, with a legitimate elected majority in the House, and de facto majority in the Senate, and congress has control over legislation, not presidents. Gerrymandering makes it almost impossible for Democrats to win back the House majority in the near future, and it only takes 40 Republicans to control the 100 seat Senate, and and so the PTC is precariously in danger of expiring at the end of this year, just as it was last year. What Obama can do he has done, raise fuel standards, use executive orders to mandate high percents of renewables by the DOD, use EPA wisely, etc. But simply expressing a desire to extend the PTC has no effect.

February 11, 2010

Cleantech To Benefit from Jobs Bill, Not Climate Bill

You could not be more mistaken. The Energy only bill will provide only $3 billion a year for clean energy, (and $5 billion a year for nuke energy, $5 billion a year for oil). Its CBO score has been hidden from the American people by a compliant media since September.

I uncovered it and wrote it up at cleantechnica:

Its Renewable Energy Standard is weaker than the RES in CEJAPA the comprehensive energy and climate bill, and includes feeble penalties for non compliance.
CEJAPA has a strong well written RES and it includes cap+trade to fund a serious jump -start for renewable energy in this country of over $800 billion by 2020.

Susan Kraemer

Susan Kraemer

Susan Kraemer reports on renewable energy for CSP Today, Wind Energy Update, PV Insider and Renewable Energy World, and has written about renewables for Cleantechnica, Green Prophet and other sites.

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