Operational Functionality of Renewable Energy Projects

Goals

To identify the operational functionality of renewable energy projects such as wind farms, solar farms, and biofuel refineries. The focus is on-site operations for the developers of these projects. Solar panel, battery, turbine manufacturing needs to be excluded. The research will help with identifying the operational deficiencies for solution-based opportunities.

Early Findings

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Project, USA

  • The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) is located in San Bernardino, California. It has an installed capacity of 377MW and this makes it the biggest solar thermal project worldwide. At its inception, it was the first large-scale solar thermal project in California.
  • BrightSource Energy, a start-up company developed the project and it was approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in 2010. Commercial operations began in December 2013.
  • In 2006, BrightSource applied for pre-qualification to the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program. In 2007, the startup applied for certification from the California Energy Commission.
  • The agreement to build Ivanpah was reached by California Labor Unions and Bechtel, and engineering company, in 2009.
  • Additional guarantees for a loan to support the project were provided by the DOE in 2010. In this same year, CEC licensed the project and the Bureau of Land Management approved it, allowing the use of federal land. Groundbreaking was done in October 2010.
  • The financing for Ivanpah was closed in April 2011, with the final DOE loan guarantee being $1.6 billion. The equity partners were NRG Energy and Google and they invested $300 million and $160 million respectively.
  • The project was officially opened in February 2014.
  • A labor agreement was signed between the "State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC), the Building & Construction Trades Council of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and Bechtel to ensure that the local workforce benefits from the project."
  • Currently, it is spread over 3,471 acres of federal land that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It is located near roads and transmission lines, next to a natural gas power plant.
  • The project delivers power to PG&E and Southern California Edison, with the operation being done by NRG Energy which is one of the equity investors for the project.
  • The three 450 feet high towers in the plant produce 392MW of solar power when at full capacity. There are three separate solar units, one being of 126MW and the other two units being of 133MW each.
  • The project also receives a tax credit, equal to 30% of the project cost based on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

Proposed next steps:

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