Thursday, May 26, 2016

Taxpayer-funded solar plant lights birds on fire

Energy Department officials provided $1.5 billion in loan guarantees to finance a solar thermal field that "set itself on fire last week," according to a Republican senator. "[T]he Obama administration gave $1.5 billion of American taxpayers' money for a solar field of death that kills thousands of birds, doesn't produce much energy and sets itself on fire," Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said on the Senate floor on Thursday. Coats was talking about a solar field known as "Ivanpah." It works by using solar mirrors to direct sunlight at boiler towers "in order to boil water within the towers, which then creates energy through a conventional steam turbine," his office explained. Coats derided the plan as a "waste of the week," saying that the money would have been better-used on defense or infrastructure spending. The Obama administration has provided numerous subsidies to green energy companies, but Coats mocked the lack of testing when he noted that the plant has produced about one-third of the energy that experts predicted. "If they had tested it out before they put the millions of mirrors in, they would have learned some things," he said. "Nobody seemed to factor in that the sun doesn't always shine in the desert because sometimes there are clouds." Even so, the plant generates enough heat to cause birds that fly overhead to "ignite in midair," according to his office. "The heat has killed over 3,500 birds each year," Coats said."They fry to death because there is so much heat reflected from those mirrors ... by the time you get into this field, it's like going into a deep-fat fryer." And when some of the panels were placed at the wrong angle, they directed sunlight "at electric cables, which caused the cables to catch fire and ultimately scorched and melted metal pipes," Coats said. "You just can't make this stuff up." link

No comments: