By and large, if a Liberal is trying to sell you something, they're lying about it. Even to other Liberals.
Remember when they pushed "wind power"? How clean and efficient it would be? Did they mention the hundreds of birds that would be swatted out of the sky by the spinning blades? Did they mention the energy consumed in their contstruction and transportation would be more than they could produce in their entire service life? Did you notice how they fight to keep those wind turbines from where they can't actually see them, which would lower their home values?
Here's another example: Ivanpah Solar Power Plant. Consuming 5 1/2 square miles of desert wilderness, thousands of mirrors focus sunlight on the tops of three towers, the concentrated light boiling water to make steam and run electrical generators. That was the theory, anyway.
You probably don't know too much about the production side of electricity. In order to provide the steady, reliable 115 volts of electricity at your outlets, power plants have to constantly vary their output as far as amperage goes by the second, because the load (consumption) varies second-to-second as people turn things on and off. If the load jumps upward drastically and the production does not follow suit, you have a brownout and your voltage drips from a nominal 115 to say 100 volts. This can prove catastrophic to some equipment. Likewise, if the consumption drops suddenly and the production does not follow, the voltage will then jump upward and again, ruined equipment.
There are three basic types of plants, each to cover specific parts of the cycle as power demand increases and decreases. The coal and nuclear plants are the backbone of our production. These plants run 24/7/365, and they are taken off-line only for maintenance. As the demand rises, oil burning plants are brought on line. While these plants run for extended periods, they don't run all the time because oil is more expensive than coal or nuclear. Peak demand is met by natural gas plants. This fuel is the most expensive and is thus run only at periods of highest demand.
Whenever a plant is brought on-line, it has to be started, brought up to speed and then the phase of the plant must be matched to the phase of the power that is already out there on the grid. If the phase is mismatched, it can destroy end-user (your) equipment. This is not like your automobile, where it takes less than ten seconds from turning the key to on the road. Depending on the production capability of the plant and the type of fuel, this can be from an hour to several hours to complete this process.
Back to Ivanpah. Because there is a huge variability in the amount of sunlight, there is a natural gas plant there, to "pre-heat" the water and also take over entirely if the solar production drops suddenly, as when a cloud rolls across the mirrors.
Let's talk price tag. To build this plant, about $2 Billion has been spent, in loan guarantees and tax breaks by the government.
In its first eight months of operation, it produced 254,263 Megawatt-hours of electricity. The wholesale price of electricity in that region of the country averages about $50 per Megawatt-hour. According to my trusty calculator, if the Ivanpah plant operated with no maintenance costs, no payroll for workers, no natural gas costs and no interest on the loans, at that rate it would take 105 years to pay off the investment. Of course, there are costs of maintenance, payroll, natural gas and so on. Even figuring 25% of the gross income (which is a staggering amount) to payback on interest free loans, that $2 Billion will be paid off in... 419 years. Let me say that again: It will take over four hundred and nineteen years of continuous operation by that plant before a profit can start to be made.
Here's where they lie to other Liberals:
It was these same California Liberals who caused their own fresh water shortage because they dumped a trillion gallons of drinking water down a river and into the ocean to stabilize the river temperature and preserve an endangered fish species, spent $56 Million to relocate an endangered desert turtle species off the Ivanpah site. Also, 3,500 birds were cooked mid-air in the first year just because they flew over the site.
Here's the kicker. To sell the site, those Liberals said that only "about 5 percent" of the heat generated to boil the water would come from burning that evil natural gas. Once reality kicked in, they had to go to the California Energy Commission (the body that regulates the power companies) and quietly ask for that 5 percent be changed to 38 percent, a seven-fold increase.
The bottom line is a relatively small power plant that uses no new experimental technology, that actually uses more fossil fuel and emits more CO2 than a conventional plant of the same size burning the same fuel, at a grossly enormous construction cost, not to mention the massive ecological damage to the local wildlife.
Am I missing something? Other than making the Liberals involved feel better, what was the supposed benefit of this boondoggle and is there any hope that Ivanpah can ever meet any of it's stated goals?
I didn't think so.