— The Erimtan Angle —

On the online magazine DailyTech Tiffany Kaiser notes that “[s]olar just got a major boost as the world’s largest solar thermal power project officially opened [on 13 February 2014] . . . Ivanpah is located near the California-Nevada border, about 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas . . . According to NRG Energy, which co-owns the new complex along with Google and BrightSource Energy, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will begin commercial operation [on 13 February 2014], although it started generating electricity last year. Ivanpah is . . . a $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, which together are capable of producing nearly 400 megawatts — enough to power 140,000 homes. Sporting the tagline “world’s largest solar thermal power project,” Ivanpah is five square miles of nearly 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors, which are about the size of a garage door each. They reflect sunlight to boilers at the top of 459-foot towers, where the sun heats water in the boilers’ tubes and make steam. This steam then drives turbines to generate electricity”.[1]

Tom Doyle, the president of NRG Solar, optimistically declared that “[c]leantech innovations such as Ivanpah are critical to establishing America’s leadership in large-scale, clean-energy technology that will keep our economy globally competitive over the next several decades . . . We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy. Whether it’s partnering, developing or investing, NRG will continue to provide a diverse set of solutions and technologies to get the U.S. to the ultimate goal of providing affordable, reliable clean energy for everyone”.[2]  Doyle is clearly beating the nationalist drum in an effort to silence critics of renewable energy. Kaiser adds that the “U.S. Energy Information Administration data said the cost of generating a megawatt-hour of power in a traditional coal plant is around $100, while it’s around $261 for solar thermal power. Environmentalists also worry that the amount of land needed to accommodate solar farms may negatively affect animals and plants that reside there. In the case of Ivanpah, coyotes, tortoises and plants like milkweed are indigenous to the area. Ivanpah had to go through years of regulatory and legal battles concerning environmental concerns before its opening”.[3]  On the website pertaining to the company NRG, we can read that the ‘solar energy harnessed from Ivanpah’s Units 1 and 3 are being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under two long-term power purchase agreements, while the electricity from Unit 2 is being sold to Southern California Edison under a similar contract . . . The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is the largest of 11 operational utility-scale solar facilities in three states in which NRG has ownership interest. Ivanpah is also one of several NRG assets that are subject to a Right of First Offer Agreement between NRG and its publicly owned subsidiary, NRG Yield, Inc. . . NRG is leading a customer-driven change in the U.S. energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices, while building on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive power portfolio. A Fortune 500 company, we create value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. Our retail electricity providers – Reliant, Green Mountain Energy, Energy Plus and NRG Residential Solutions – serve millions of residential and commercial customers throughout the country’.[4]

‘View a collection of clips from Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System featuring segments from President Obama, President Clinton, Governor Schwarzenegger, construction footage, mitigation practices and Family Day’.

21 September 2013


[1] Tiffany Kaiser, “Largest Solar Thermal Plant “Ivanpah” Goes Live Commercially” DailyTech (13 Feb 2014). http://www.dailytech.com/Largest+Solar+Thermal+Plant+Ivanpah+Goes+Live+Commercially/article34333.htm.

[2] Tiffany Kaiser, “Largest Solar Thermal Plant “Ivanpah” Goes Live Commercially”.

[3] Tiffany Kaiser, “Largest Solar Thermal Plant “Ivanpah” Goes Live Commercially”.

[4] “World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Project at Ivanpah Achieves Commercial Operation” NRG (13 Feb 2014). http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=121544&p=irol-newsArticleNRG&ID=1899656.

Comments on: "Solar Power Plant Online: Ivanpah Goes Live!!!" (1)

  1. In line with their ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, the Indian government has recently announced plans for what could become the world’s most powerful solar plant.

    India has boosted its installed solar capacity from just under 18MW in 2010, to more than 2,000MW, and the falling prices of photovoltaic cells, coupled with their improved efficiency have played a significant part in that progress.

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