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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 11:22 am
 


Title: Medicine Hat pulls plug on money-losing, $13-million solar power project
Category: Environmental
Posted By: N_Fiddledog
Date: 2019-05-26 02:55:15
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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 11:22 am
 


Oops. Forgot to fix the link.

https://calgaryherald.com/business/ener ... er-project

Quote:
The southern Alberta city of Medicine Hat is pulling the plug on a $13-million concentrated solar power facility after operating it for about five years.

The project’s goal was to test whether the technology was a feasible way to employ the sun’s heat to replace some of the natural gas used to make steam at the city-owned power plant, said Coun. Phil Turnbull, chairman of the city’s utility committee.

The answer, unfortunately, was no, as the project’s small and unreliable contribution to the community’s power needs didn’t justify the cost of maintaining its rows of mirrors and pipes through snowy winters and dusty summer days, he said.

“I think people sometimes look at what we did and say, ’What a waste of money.’ But it wouldn’t have been a waste if it had been successful in taking it to the next step,” Turnbull said Thursday.

“Sometimes you win on trying to develop new initiatives and sometimes you don’t.”

The project was to add about one megawatt of power to the 250-MW capacity main power plant, but it often didn’t even supply that much, he said.

Meanwhile, the price of natural gas — which the city can source from its utility’s gas wells — has fallen dramatically from when the project was contemplated and is now much more cost-competitive than solar, Turnbull said.


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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 11:27 am
 


And yes climate hysterics who think any energy alternative is an unquestionable gift from God whether it works or not this was a specific thing for a specific area, the effects of which do not necessarily apply to anywhere else.

Nobody is implying anything different.


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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 10:23 pm
 


The irony is, Medicine Hat is located in the only region in Canada where commercial scale solar power would be even remotely feasible.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 7:48 am
 


PublicAnimalNo9 wrote:
The irony is, Medicine Hat is located in the only region in Canada where commercial scale solar power would be even remotely feasible.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this is a classic solar electric installation. It was designed to create heat and steam by directing the suns rays I think.
Solar panels are a very different animal than this.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 9:55 am
 


Aren't you both right?

The plant is supposed to produce solar power ultimately and the article does say this:

Quote:
The project’s goal was to test whether the technology was a feasible way to employ the sun’s heat to replace some of the natural gas used to make steam at the city-owned power plant, said Coun. Phil Turnbull, chairman of the city’s utility committee.


I'm assuming when they say "power plant" they mean a plant to create power.

According to the Herald this was something called a "concentrated solar power facility."

Wikipedia tell us this about that:

Quote:
Concentrated solar power (also called concentrating solar power, concentrated solar thermal, and CSP) systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Electricity is generated when the concentrated light is converted to heat (solar thermal energy), which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator[1][2][3] or powers a thermochemical reaction (experimental as of 2013).[4][5][6]

CSP had a world's total installed capacity of 4,815 MW in 2016, up from 354 MW in 2005. As of 2017, Spain accounted for almost half of the world's capacity, at 2,300 MW, making this country the world leader in CSP. The United States follows with 1,740 MW. Interest is also notable in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as India and China. The global market has been dominated by parabolic-trough plants, which accounted for 90% of CSP plants at one point.[7] The largest CSP projects in the world are the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility (392 MW) in the United States (which uses solar power tower technology) and the Mojave Solar Project (354 MW) in the United States (which uses parabolic troughs).

In most cases, CSP technologies currently cannot compete on price with photovoltaic solar panels, which have experienced huge growth in recent years due to falling prices and much smaller operating costs.[8][9] CSP generally needs large amount of direct solar radiation, and its energy generation falls dramatically with cloud cover. This is in contrast with photovoltaics, which can produce electricity also from diffuse radiation.[10]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentrated_solar_power

However are we to derive from all that: "Gee, if only they'd hooked up some solar panels. Medicine Hat would have lit up like a Christmas tree for pennies on the dollar"?


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 10:03 am
 


Prof_Chomsky wrote:
PublicAnimalNo9 wrote:
The irony is, Medicine Hat is located in the only region in Canada where commercial scale solar power would be even remotely feasible.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this is a classic solar electric installation. It was designed to create heat and steam by directing the suns rays I think.
Solar panels are a very different animal than this.


You are correct. It was meant as a solar heat plant, not solar electricity. And they knew it would not be cost efficient until the price of natural gas rose. They will maintain it, and restart it if that ever happens.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 10:05 am
 


According to the Article this is where Medicine Hat stands on power sources, right now?

Quote:
The project was to add about one megawatt of power to the 250-MW capacity main power plant, but it often didn’t even supply that much, he said.

Meanwhile, the price of natural gas — which the city can source from its utility’s gas wells — has fallen dramatically from when the project was contemplated and is now much more cost-competitive than solar, Turnbull said.


and to requote Wikipedia:

Quote:
Electricity is generated when the concentrated light is converted to heat (solar thermal energy), which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator[1][2][3] or powers a thermochemical reaction (experimental as of 2013).[4][5][6]


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 12:34 pm
 


Read this part again
Quote:
The project’s goal was to test whether the technology was a feasible way to employ the sun’s heat to replace some of the natural gas used to make steam at the city-owned power plant, said Coun. Phil Turnbull, chairman of the city’s utility committee.

The answer, unfortunately, was no, as the project’s small and unreliable contribution to the community’s power needs didn’t justify the cost of maintaining its rows of mirrors and pipes through snowy winters and dusty summer days, he said.

“I think people sometimes look at what we did and say, ’What a waste of money.’ But it wouldn’t have been a waste if it had been successful in taking it to the next step,” Turnbull said Thursday.

“Sometimes you win on trying to develop new initiatives and sometimes you don’t.”

Quote:
And yes climate hysterics who think any energy alternative is an unquestionable gift from God whether it works or not this was a specific thing for a specific area, the effects of which do not necessarily apply to anywhere else.

Nobody is implying anything different.


There are no "climate hysterics" saying that. The whole article points out you don't really know if a project is gonna work until you try.
And doesn't point out the price of natural gas has tumbled since it was built and 'competing on price' with gas was never a goal.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 12:50 pm
 


herbie wrote:
Read this part again


Done. Did you see this?

Quote:
The answer, unfortunately, was no, as the project’s small and unreliable contribution to the community’s power


What do you think they mean by "power?"

Now you read this part again:

Quote:
which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator


At the end of the process it's about creating electricity not heat and in Medicine Hat Solar is not giving the required results. Get it?


Quote:
And yes climate hysterics who think any energy alternative is an unquestionable gift from God whether it works or not this was a specific thing for a specific area, the effects of which do not necessarily apply to anywhere else.

Nobody is implying anything different.


herbie wrote:
There are no "climate hysterics" saying that.


You mean, so far and specifically on this thread, right? Of course not. Why would they when I made it clear nobody is saying this failure in Medicine Hat suggests all solar power initiatives anywhere must fail.

But if you think there aren't warministas who would jump to that conclusion you need to revisit that thread about the german study that discovered diesel is more cost effective than electric powered vehicles in Germany.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 1:00 pm
 


Stopping the project makes economic sense. And re-starting it, or devising another solar program later, will also make economic sense if one day natural gas prices rise to the point where adding solar as an auxiliary source of electricity will help reduce costs to the consumers.

See, it is actually possible to hold two distinct ideas in your head at the same time. And, even better, not subject either idea to the pointless corrosion of a personal ideology. Try doing it yourself, it's fun!


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 1:16 pm
 


Thanos wrote:
Stopping the project makes economic sense. And re-starting it, or devising another solar program later, will also make economic sense if one day natural gas prices rise to the point where adding solar as an auxiliary source of electricity will help reduce costs to the consumers.

See, it is actually possible to hold two distinct ideas in your head at the same time. And, even better, not subject either idea to the pointless corrosion of a personal ideology. Try doing it yourself, it's fun!


Are you talking to me? When did I say it didn't make sense to stop this project and replace it with natural gas but go back to solar or any other alternative if things change to the point that they make better economic sense?

If you somehow think you heard that, you're wrong. You didn't.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 1:26 pm
 


It was made to everyone.

The funny part is the freak out over $12 million. Even in these depressed times for resources most of the O&G companies won't hesitate to spend at least that on wells and facilities for new plays, and if they go bust it's chalked down as a legit loss that sometimes happens. Making shutting down the solar project into something that the pearls need to be clutched over, with the usual histrionics of "oh, the waste! oh, the mismanagement!" is just typical from those who keep thinking that a government does it's business, or needs to do it's business, in the same way that Grandpa Skinflint manages his chequebook. If Medicine Hat spent money on solar in an effort to generate more electricity and at the same time reduce long-term costs for consumers then what they did with the project was laudable.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 1:56 pm
 


Another rainbows & unicorns project fails again.

Now on to the next boondoggle that can eat up kajillions in taxpayer funds.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 8:49 pm
 


Jesus do you think we don't know how solar concentration works? We took Power Mechanics 9 and passed it to boot, and English too! You should give it another try.
You know how much money they spent before they figured out nuclear airplanes were a dumb idea? Lot more than $13 million.


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