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Fire Breaks Out At World's Largest Solar Plant


John's latest update on corruption, fraud and waste in the clean energy sector.


Fire Breaks Out At Worlds Largest Solar Plant

Mirrors Blamed For Fire

A generating tower at the world’s largest solar energy plant was shut down Thursday after a mirror misalignment caused sunlight to burn through electrical wiring and start a fire, according to officials.

The blaze at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert broke out around 9:30 a.m., according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department. In a Facebook post, officials said that flames could be seen near the ninth floor of the Unit 3 tower, but that they had apparently died out by the time firefighters arrived.

Some misaligned mirrors instead focused sunlight on a different spot, which caused the electrical cables to catch fire, San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Mike McClintock told the Associated Press.

The plant had been plagued by production problems, and state utility regulators had threatened to shut it down if it didn’t get back on track. They gave it a temporary reprieve.


h/t: Wattsupwiththat

This is the same plant that ignites birds in flight

Image result for ivanpah


Wind Turbine Terror: Spanish Home Hit By Flying Blade

Blade failure is the most common ‘accident’ on the wind industry’s list of death and destruction. For a taste of the chaos, let’s head to Spain.

The number of cases involving collapsing turbines and flying blades (aka “component liberation”) has become so common that, if we were a tad cynical, we would go so far to suggest the possibility of some kind of pattern, along the lines proffered by Mr Bond’s nemesis, Goldfinger: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times it’s enemy action”.

Fire (spontaneous combustion), wind and gravity have taken their toll on these things all over the Globe – with fatal results, snuffing out over 160 lives, so far; a fair bit sooner than the victims expected. For a breakdown on wind power fatalities: 290 Tonne Vestas Wind Turbines Dropping Like Giant Wounded Flies


Here are some of the latest solar fire incidents:

Solar Panel Fire Burns Town Hall

Customers Complain BP Solar Panels Catching Fire

Solar Panels Ignite Fire At Dentists Office

Solar Malfunction Sparks Blaze in Home

Solar Panels Catch Fire On Boston Rooftop

Solar Plant Fire in Gila Bend

SunEdison Solar Plant Fire Injures 4

Second Fire at Abengoa Plant in 3 Months

Fire at Adani Solar Plant 

Fire Breaks Out At Topaz Solar Plant

Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire


It's not just birds being affected: 

Ivanpah Blinds Commercial Pilots

Thanks to a $1.6 billion green energy loan from the feds, pilots are being blinded by glare as they fly over the Mojave Desert. It’s a safety hazard that affects over 40 million airplane passengers a year.

The culprit is the Ivanpah solar energy project, with more than 300,000 giant mirrors spread over 5 square miles of public land provided to BrightSource/NRG Energy. The $1.6 billion loan is only part of $5.2 billion extended to the company by the Obama administration — 10 times what taxpayers lost from loans to the failed Solyndra fiasco.

Since Ivanpah went online in December, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued warnings to pilots of commercial and private aircraft who fly in and out of Las Vegas and destinations in Southern California. They’re told to be aware of this danger in one of America’s busiest aviation corridors.

As one commercial pilot complained to the FAA, “Neither the pilot nor co-pilot could look in that direction due to the intense brightness. The brightness was like looking into the sun, and it filled about one-third of the co-pilot’s front windshield. In my opinion, the reflection from these mirrors was a hazard to flight.”


Wind Energy News:

Sun Edison To Sell Assets To DE Shaw

SunEdison had previously acquired First Wind, including its four wind energy farms in Hawaii: the 30-megawatt Kaheawa Wind I and 21-megawatt Kaheawa Wind II on Maui, and the 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind and 30-megawatt Kahuku Wind on Oahu.

SunEdison also is in the process of selling its three major Oahu solar farms toD.E. Shaw Group that are worth $350 million.

Hawaiian Electric Co. canceled the contracts for these three solar farms, although in a report that looked into the issue, state regulators said “that the actions taken by HECO cannot be viewed as serving the best interests of the state or the people of Hawaii.”


Goldwind Signals 5 Year Plan With RATTLESNAKE Deal

Chinese turbine champion Goldwind is buying the 160MW Rattlesnake Wind Project in Texas – a deal it said marks the start of a five-year plan to capitalise on the extension of the production tax credit (PTC).

Turbine fire at former goldwind facility in Illinois 


California Offshore Wind Gold Rush

When turbines start spinning at the first U.S. offshore wind farm near Rhode Island later this year, some energy developers will already be eyeing a bigger prize.

There’s a steadier, harder wind blowing off the California coast. Those reliable Pacific gusts could yield nearly a terawatt of electricity, 13 times the capacity of all the wind turbines now installed on land in the U.S. — without consuming real estate or blocking anyone’s views.

But Mother Nature isn’t going to make it easy. The continental shelf plunges fast and deep off the west coast, making it impossible to install conventional turbines into a seabed hundreds of feet under water.


Electric Utility Restructuring News 

New York Approves Restructuring Of Utility Revenue Model

The New York State Public Service Commission approved significant structural reforms to electric utility regulations on Thursday aimed at better aligning utility shareholder financial interests with consumer interests.

The new financial mechanisms will serve to transition the New York power system away from large, centralized power plants, to a network that is increasingly clean, transitive and able to integrate and optimize resources in front of and behind the meter. 

The order lays out the steps that have been taken as part of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, which calls for the use of markets and new regulations to achieve increased system efficiency, carbon reductions and customer empowerment (14-00581). The REV process supports New York’s mandate to generate 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. This most recent order codifies the proposals that were laid out in Track 2 of the REV proceeding.



Goodbye To The 2015-16 El-Nino (free e-book at end of article)

The sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific are bordered by the coordinates of 5S-5N, 170W-120W.  They are used by NOAA and other meteorological agencies to define when an El Niño event is taking place.  According to the most-recent weekly satellite-enhanced data, the temperature anomalies for that region have dropped below the +0.5 deg C threshold between El Niño and ENSO-neutral phases, the latter of which is the “normal” phase of the tropical Pacific when neither El Niño or La Niña are taking place.


All This for .01 Degrees Celcius?

As the president reveals his plan to reduce greenhouse gases to save us from an apocalyptic atmosphere, I wish to remind people of three things:

1.) The true hockey stick of the fossil fuel era: Global progress in total population, personal wealth and life expectancy.


Joe Bastardi's (Weatherbell Analytics) Weather/Climate Summary 5/21/16

2016 Hurricane Forecast


At The Movies

Mr. DiCaprio Shows His True Colors

DiCaprio Takes On Enron

Leonardo DiCaprio predicts China will become a 'climate change hero' as he praises Beijing's environmental record while promoting The Revenant

10 Years Later Gore Says His Film Underestimated Global Warming



Related stories:

Renewable Energy Is A Clean Green Criminal Machine


Kid's Climate Crusade Keeps Rolllin' Through The Courts




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Reader Comments (24)

May 23, 2016 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
May 23, 2016 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Al Gore: Donald Trump's position on climate change 'should concern everyone'


-You're absolutely right Al. That's why we are all concerned enough to vote for him!

AL Gore has not endorsed any democrat.


-BTW, Donald would like to thank you for the endorsement!!!
May 23, 2016 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Chesapeake swaps debt for equity for second time in May


Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N), the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, said on Monday it had issued or agreed to issue about 5 percent of its outstanding shares in exchange for debt over the past week, the second such transaction this month.

Chesapeake and other oil and gas producers have been undertaking debt-for-equity swaps or bond swaps to reduce interest payments and debt, taken on during a frenzy of shale development.

TERP: (Terraform power yieldco)


May 23, 2016 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Secret deal: Australia already has an ETS – carbon tax – starts in 5 weeks


Get ready. The legislation was done on the last day Parliament sat in December. The Coalition government knew it would be popular with the voters who all want “carbon action” so they… buried the news. No cheering. No speeches.

It apparently starts on July 1, and applies to 150 companies — about half our emissions. It’s a Cap N Trade system with “Caps” that can be screwed gently down as the climate warms to fill government coffers and raise electricity prices. The Direct Action plan auctions can be phased out and the SneakTax phased in. It could end up being the main game. A blank cheque.

It’s called “Safeguard” — it was safe for politicians and guards them against their failure to meet pointless, symbolic international agreements to slow storms. A Safeguard for politicians but a SneakTax for the people.

May 23, 2016 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Alberta's carbon tax: What we still don't know


Just eight months before Alberta's new carbon tax takes effect, the provincial government still has to iron out how some key pieces of the new program will work.

The Climate Leadership Plan, which launches January 1, 2017, will create widespread change in the province far beyond having to pay a little extra at the pumps. The recent Alberta budget provided some new details, including who is exempt from the tax and what the financial impact will be for the average Albertan. Still, some significant details are unknown with billions of dollars in the balance.

Here are some important parts of the policy and what information we're missing.

The Alberta government still has to announce a performance standard, by which these large emitters will measure themselves. Above the benchmark, companies will pay a carbon tax. Below the benchmark, they can receive a subsidy.

Even those who follow the province's electricity market closely can't quite figure out what will happen with electricity prices.

It's one reason why the opposition Wildrose's estimate about the carbon tax was discredited by economists. The party said families would be hit with at least $1,000 in extra costs when the climate plan was fully implemented. The numbers were based on a 2014 study by Nic Rivers, a University of Ottawa professor.

Alberta's carbon tax will begin at a rate of $20 per tonne beginning January 1, 2017. One year later, the levy will increase to $30 per tonne.
May 24, 2016 at 6:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Republican AGs Slam EPA For Ignoring Supreme Court Ruling


The Republican attorney generals of Texas and West Virginia are demanding the Obama administration stop working on its signature global warming regulation, which they argue violates a Supreme Court order.

“Their efforts and those of your agency to try to make the Power Plan a fait accompli fail to accord proper respect for the Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision to halt the Power Plan—a decision that divests this agency of authority to enforce the rule and calls into serious question the rule’s legality,” AGs Ken Paxton of Texas and Patrick Morrisey of W. Virginia sent in a letter Monday to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Morrisey and Paxton are leading a 27 state coalition suing EPA to derail the CPP. There’s also a group of 17 states backing the EPA, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman — the same AG who’s leading an investigation into global warming skeptics.


May 24, 2016 at 6:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
News Analysis: Still "too early" for U.S. to implement carbon tax


Without taking new environmental actions, it will be hard for the United States to keep its promise to cut greenhouse emissions it has made within the framework of the Paris Climate Agreement, analysts said.

The United States has been committed to cutting its greenhouse emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 in Paris Climate Agreement signed by 175 countries, including the United States, in April.

Imposing a national tax on carbon emission can help Uncle Sam fulfill the goal, but when the U.S. government will take the measure is still "too early" to predict.

Jim Prentice, global fellow in Wilson Center, a think-tank based in Washington.D.C, told Xinhua that "it's extremely important that the three countries (United States, Canada and Mexico) work together," if the United States and North America want to introduce carbon tax in the future.

From 2006 to 2010, Prentice served as a cabinet member of Canadian government.


States looking at a carbon tax

May 24, 2016 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
6 States considering carbon tax

May 24, 2016 at 7:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Great article John, on a different line of thinking (plus I am curious), have you or any of the others ever heard of abiotic oil theories? And what is your take on them?
May 24, 2016 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
I suppose it's prudent to consider the source uttering "clean", "green" in reference to renewable energy, solar and wind. Perhaps the opposite of what the financially conflicted state is true.

There was a 9 MW solar facility proposed next to my residence. I contacted the town's fire chief to inquire about fires I knew were associated with ground faults in solar projects. I wanted to be provided assurance that if a fire was caused by the solar facility, my home would not be consumed by it. I learned that the fire department did not have the equipment to fight a solar field fire. Solar projects are always considered "live" thus can''t be shut down by a switch. Water cannot be used to fight these fires, "Use Class “C” Extinguishing Agents- CO2 Or Dry Chemical."

I also learned that inhalation exposure carries risks...and that clean and green are terms that do not apply to solar, (or wind).



“During a fire or explosion the PV frame can quickly degrade, exposing hazardous chemicals to direct flame and causing them to become dissipated in the smoke plume.”

“Cadmium Telluride- A known carcinogen. The primary route of exposure is inhalation.”

“Callium Arsenide-The health effects have not been studied. Considered highly toxic and carcinogenic.”

“Phosphorus-Fumes from compounds are considered highly toxic. NIOSH (National Health Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) recommended exposure limit to phosphorous is 5 mg/m3. A lethal dose of phosphorus is 50 milligrams.”


Benign? Clean? Green? Safe? Solar? Wind? LOL!

CONCENTRATED SOLAR POWER PLANT (HTF) FIRE HAZARDS: Turbine Area: exiter, underfloor, lube oil piping, turbine bearings; Generator: oil; Heat Transfer Pump: heat transfer fluid; Cooling Tower: combustible materials, bearings, electrical failures, maintenance


Fires resulting from inadequate ground-fault protection pose a danger to people and property. Because investigation results from the Bakersfield and Mount Holly fires have been made public, these fires present an opportunity to explore the safety implications of inadequate ground-fault protection in a public forum. As investigators developed an understanding of the root causes of these fires, they also developed a better understanding of the complex nature of faults and fault currents in PV arrays.
The PV industry must clearly understand the current level of risk so that it can properly respond to safety hazards. Based on this research, improving ground-fault detection should be a high priority for ensuring the safety of PV systems in the United States.
- See more at: http://www.solarabcs.org/about/publications/reports/blindspot/#sthash.Mf80qkI6.dpuf

These faults may produce small fault currents that can go undetected by GFPDs. The
danger of undetected ground faults in the EGC is twofold: an energized EGC can be a shock hazard, resulting in severe injury; and if there is a second ground fault, the array can be shorted though The EGC, bypassing the GFPD and allowing fault current to flow through
the system undetected and with no means of interruption.

Bill Brooks’ SolarPro article, “The Bakersfield Fire,” and his Solar ABCs report, The Ground-Fault Protection BLIND SPOT illustrates Safety Concern for Larger Photovoltaic Systems in the United States, and highlights incomplete protection provided by ground fault fuses in solar arrays in the United States.


“Moskowitz , P.D. and Fthenakis, V.M., Toxic Materials Released from Photovoltaic Modules During Fires Health Risks, Solar Cells, 29, 63-71, 1990. 21.”
Solar America Board for Codes and Standards

“Fire Fighter Safety and Emergency Response for Solar Power Systems: Final Report” May 2010.
Prepared by The Fire Protection Research Foundation

National Electric Code Article 250: Grounding and Bonding, Article 300: Wiring Methods, Article 690 Solar PV Systems, Article 705 Interconnected Electric Power Production Sources

Photovoltaic Emergencies Systems Safety Brochure by Duke Energy provides additional information:

Fire Department Emergency Response PV array fire
Firefighting Operations
Use Class “C” Extinguishing Agents- CO2 Or Dry Chemical


Photovoltaic Power Systems
and the National Electrical Code: Suggested Practices
May 24, 2016 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Durkin
Thanks, Gomp! I have heard about Abiotic Oil and consider the idea very scientifically valid. One of my very first attempts at writing here at the DB included some eye opening papers regarding microbially enhanced oil field recovery (MEOR). A lot of oil and gas concerns are doing this including all of the majors. They had found microbes in very deep wells and found that they play a role.


This is when I first mentioned the concept. I will be happy to write an in depth article on the subject in the near future.


May 24, 2016 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Thanks John, I first heard of this in some Russian grumblings, and then I saw Eugene Island. There seems to be something outside the box happening in some places, of course new(er) theories at first get balked at, but then when square pegs start falling into round holes people start taking notice. I remember this with Alan Eckert and his HAB theory. Now it is pretty much accepted that the poles have changed multiple times, but the theory was met with stiff resistance originally...
May 25, 2016 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
Gomp, I think you are really going to enjoy my next piece as you are very familiar with the industry.
May 25, 2016 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Can't wait...
May 25, 2016 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
Here is some outstanding research being done (and the latest) re: deep geology and carbon. I have no doubt that some oil and hydrocarbons are of abiotic origin.

May 25, 2016 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
French Nuclear workers to go on strike at 19 nuclear plants in France tomorrow.


They may have to import power from other regions. (all those wind turbines).

Here are the wind forecasts:

Wind forecast Germany


Wind Forecast France

May 25, 2016 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
France is the largest net electricity exporter in the world...

May 25, 2016 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
May 31, 2016 at 6:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
May 31, 2016 at 6:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Solar panels catch fire on roof of Apple offices in northwest Austin

Sep 2, 2016 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn

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