Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A warning to Australia, you are about to be BrightSourced!

And that is a fate I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy!

I realize that I am a small time blogger and not many of you Aussie's will read this but if
you do, please forward this site to as many people as you can, especially if you and they
care about the environment there.

The situation facing your country came to my attention from reading an article at a renewable
energy site on the web. The article talked about a plan drafted at your University at Melbourne,
a plan crafted by academics and industry, where supposedly the country could be made 100%
energy self sufficient in a certain time frame with every Australian only being required to pay
about $8/week. The article also mentioned that the project might not go through due to the
massive increase in transmission that would be required.(an expense not covered in the $8/week)

This got my interest and I surfed over to the site( I will link to it at the bottom of my post) where
I found these maps. I don't know your country so I don't know these locations.
Here is the solar plant location map.

Above is the windfarm location map

So big change is coming to your country. You may be wondering why I said in my title that you
are about to be BrightSourced. What's that all about, you might wonder.

BrightSource Energy is a renewable energy firm that is about to begin construction of a gigantic
concentrated solar power plant located way out in the Mojave Desert of California, in a very
scenic and environmentally sensitive area for plant and animal species. They have been involved along with agencies of government, in trying to get this approved, against
opposition from some in the environmental community along with others interested in saving
the desert, and at last it looks like they may have won and the blading away of the desert may
begin. I have blogged extensively against this project along with others and I feel that if they
did it here in their home country, they will follow the same model everywhere else.

So as a service to fellow environmentalists and protectors of the last wild places there in
your country, I am here to give you a heads up. Here are the links to the original article I read
and the link to the national plan mentioned.

the plan.

Here is the text from the plan that set off my alarm bells clanging! From p.3 of the report.

The management of BrightSource Energy have had a long and extensive
involvement in the solar thermal industry.  At BrightSource's predecessor, Luz, they
designed, developed, built and operated the nine SEGS parabolic trough plants in
California that still operate today.  Built in the 1980's, these plants were the best that
could be built with the available technology at the time and certainly proved beyond
any doubt that one could capture the sun's energy and convert it into steam for large
scale electricity generation on a scale never before contemplated.
But, there were limits to this technology which resulted in low efficiencies and
capacity factors, and high capital costs.  Our team at BrightSource has now
completely re-engineered the whole approach to solar thermal, utilising a centralised
tower to effect a direct solar to steam design.  By using flat glass mirrors that track
the sun all day and through the seasons, our tower plants generate steam at 550˚C
and higher, allowing us to use standard Rankine cycle generation power blocks that
are dry cooled.  With far greater efficiencies, higher capacity factors, lower capital
costs and the ability to operate the plant in hybrid mode and/or with storage, the
BrightSource Luz Power Tower is the proven technology of today and well into the
future for delivering firm, renewable power.
I certainly encourage and endorse the need for a holistic plan being developed for
our generation portfolio in Australia going forward – one that properly takes into
consideration our targets and desire to substantially increase the proportion of renewable
generation capacity.  The plan requires careful consideration of our "as is" situation, the
desired "to be" at future dates such as 2020 and beyond, and a migration plan that will
transform our generation portfolio over time to meet our renewable targets and achieve
security of supply.  Solar thermal power, as a firm, dispatchable power generation
source, will be an integral and significant component of this plan and its deployment.
— andrEw dyEr, dirECtor, brightSourCE EnErgy auStralia

Sorry about the type above, it appears the pdf file didn't take kindly to me cutting and pasting!

Here are links from my site and others who have written about BrightSource Energy
and the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generator Station.
The above link is my site, I recommend scrolling down about a third of the way and reading the
trip reports which have photos and videos. Above is a photo of mine from the area, one day this whole
area will be covered with tens of thousands of heliostat mirrors!

Here are some selected links from Chris Clarke who has written extensively on this project.
Chris also wrote an open letter opposing this project, I can't find the link, my battery is going fast
on my laptop but it is well worth looking for in his recent archives there.

Here is a great article which is entitled last spring at Ivanpah, well worth a look.
Last spring at Ivanpah?

In addition, you can go over to the Mojave Desert Blog for updates on BrightSource and others.

Well there you have it folks. I don't know you and you don't know me, but we do have one
thing in common. We over here in the states have been BrightSourced, you guys are about
to be!

A word of advice to those active in grassroots environmental issues in Australia. Be advised
that these solar companies are experts in dividing you out in the field from those sequestered
away at the environmental group offices, especially from those at the top.

My strong advise to you is to watch them like hawks, both the B.S.Er's and your bosses
at headquarters. If you don't, before you know it, just like here, they will cut a deal to allow
the projects at headquarters and out where you are at, it will truly all be over but the crying.

Good luck from one who sadly knows.


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