“Fast Moving Clouds”: The Latest Excuse for a Government Funded Solar Bankruptcy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova – What do you say when the government demands to know what happened to all the public money they lent to your failed solar business?

‘Fast-moving clouds’: How CS Energy’s Kogan Creek Solar Boost project failed

MAY 21 2017
Mark Solomons

It was supposed to supply cheaper, greener energy to up to 5000 homes but after six years and tens of millions of dollars, a cutting-edge solar energy project has produced nothing other than a large taxpayer-funded pile of scrap.

Three thousand solar panels sit unused on a concrete pad after the pioneering Kogan Creek Solar Boost project was shelved due to rusting pipes and “rapidly moving clouds”.

Now the site’s manager alleges the Commonwealth and Queensland governments breached their contractual requirements by never inspecting the doomed $105 million project.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/fastmoving-clouds-how-cs-energys-kogan-creek-solar-boost-project-failed-20170516-gw5p2u.html

Who could have predicted that clouds might scud rapidly across a subtropical sky, or that non-stainless steam pipes might be at risk of going rusty?

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136 thoughts on ““Fast Moving Clouds”: The Latest Excuse for a Government Funded Solar Bankruptcy

      • Sounds more like Fast Moving Excuses
        And as a Sage once tole me
        “An Excuse is nothing more than the Skin of a Lie stuffed with Reason”

      • Well I dunno about Australian energy usage, but in the USA, a typical home main breaker box has 2 x 115 V x 200 A , which comes to 46 KW or at least 46 ,000 volt amps. I think in NZ then it would likely be 240 V x 200 amps. Don’t remember if they have multiple phases or 440 volts for example.

        But 46 kW x 5,000 homes is 230 megawatt peak load if you ask me (don’t ask me).

        Well that seems like a fair to middling size local project; should be the cat’s meow to provide from renewables.

        In the average sized African rural village, that would come in right handy; you know clean water, and lights at night, the basic needs of a modern high tech rural community.

        Have finger toys caught on yet in Rural Africa.

        I know some clever folks in the rural solar project business doing great things here and there, not just in Africa, but other lesser. developed places.

        They don’t need a whole lot to make life a whole lot better and safer for kids to grow up in and be healthy. It’s not like say a lighting project on a big Ferris wheel on the Thames; those things that National Security depends on.

        There’s a lot of good work going on in ways that help improve the quality of life for people that aren’t in the Lennie da Capria jet set.

        But these solar panels that are rusting in the fields. Howcum they haven’t been stolen or something, so they can be put to good use ?? We had a local K-12 school that proudly installed a mess of roof top solar panels one weekend. Then an enterprising bunch of self starters took them all down the next weekend; probably to light up their recreational pot farm. They don’t call that stuff dope for no good reason !

        My house is well set up for lighting at least. We have 200 Watts worth of off the shelf LEDs, enough to light down town San Jose.. My wife uses more juice than that to make a pot of coffee.

        Can’t say about Australia though. Just how do they light Melbourne Cricket Grounds for night games ??

        G Just asking.

    • Anyone who has purchased cheap pig based stainless from China has DEEEEEEEP regrets. Yes its was cheap and yes it corrodes, especially when left near the sea.

      China is the world’s dominant producer of nickel pig iron, a low-grade ferro-nickel used in stainless steel output. It is produced from laterite nickel ores that China must import from Indonesia and the Philippines.

      Lots of French desalination made plants are corroding in Australia.

      • Well it’s called “stainless” for a reason. It probably won’t go putting rusty stains all over you clothing in the wash.

        But who was it that told you that “stainless” steel doesn’t corrode ?? There’s more of them that do, than there is that don’t

        G

    • This is a process known as farming the government – AKA – the taxpayer.

      It is the electorates fault for consistently choosing a government that promises to make life better by buying things for the population such as unnecessary roads, minimum wages, “free” education, “free” health care, cheaper electricity etc. including in my country, funding of America Cup challenges.

      Time the electorate has learnt that there is no such thing as a free lunch and how do they feel about being bribed with their own money?

      Beware of the politician who promises to eliminate unemployment unless he starts talking about a program of reducing government spending and taxation.

      • There are no free lunches, but you can simulate a free lunch by using government to force someone else to pay for the things you want.
        I believe it was Tocqueville who wrote something along the lines that no government can survive once the citizens learn that they can use government to steal from others.

  1. Who could have predicted that clouds might scud rapidly across a subtropical sky, or that non-stainless steam pipes might be at risk of going rusty?

    Who could have predicted that Trump would sink in the swamp

    • Hold on bedwetter. He is fine. No one has the fortitude he does. He will win and you will hate the next 8 years or you should kill yourself.

      • Bingo – He knew what the left-wing and its nearly wholly owned “mainstream” news media was going to do. He ran anyway. Why would a multi-billionaire set himself up for that? Money? Fame? Power? He’s got all that anyway. He wants to do what he knows needs to be done. Unlike Teddy Kennedy when asked why he wanted to be president pretty much acted like he never thought about it very much: You Tube

      • bedwetter.

        Does Myron Ebell wet the bed?

        Clowns like your good self would make excellent climate modellers. So full of erroneous assumptions.

        Trump is 24 carat letdown.

      • Why did he take the job? That’s easy. Immortality.

        Who here knows who the richest man in America before Rockefeller? Heck, what fraction of children know who Rockefeller is and what business he started? However, they are forced to learn the list of presidents.

        I am a cynic. While I might hope Trump succeeds in some of his ides, I harbor no illusions about why he does what he does.

    • I divide my time between Oz and the US. If you think the Australian media gives a fair and accurate presentation of all issues Trump, you’re (how should I put this politely?) F***ed in the head.
      Of course the swamp will fight back but the mans just getting started and isn’t accustomed to losing.
      MAGA

      • usexpat

        I don’t read the Australian press even though it’s probably available in England.

        Trump is sinking. You’ve all been had.

      • Keeping Hillary and the democrats out…..getting Gorsuch on the bench
        …is no one’s definition of had

      • Now don’t fret-slider
        Keep a firm grip on your lower lip (so it doesn’t start to quiver in the coming months)
        Some changes require more time than a couple months but in the mean time
        he can certainly stem the flow of Klimate Ka$h

      • Correct, MarkW. The press reports chaos in the White House. People in the White House look at each and ask incredulously, “What?”

        Trump’s demise is all in the minds of the Left. They hope for a self fulfilling prophesy. Ain’t gonna happen.

      • “usexpat May 24, 2017 at 7:16 am

        I divide my time between Oz and the US. If you think the Australian media gives a fair and accurate presentation of all issues Trump, you’re (how should I put this politely?) F***ed in the head.”

        As an Australian resident, I could not have said it better. The Australian media suffers no shame reporting on Trump, several articles every day. And yet, almost nothing about this;

        http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/lindt-cafe-siege-why-it-all-went-wrong/news-story/24fda726b31754f5625bed2b94f85dda

        This man should have been arrested ages before he attacked. But no, we can’t arrest a sex offender who was Muslim.

    • Before he was inaugurated, I feared that the swamp just had too many critters for him to take on without a lot of help from other swamp critters. What I think I see to this point is that many of those who he needs as allies are too intent on defending their own situation in the swamp. It is certainly too early in the game to decide to forfeit but reinforcements must come to the fore.

    • So after decades of mismanagement by corrupt career politicians, you expect one man to reform the entire federal government in a few months time? Really?

      “The boy has no patience.” – Master Yoda.

      • Fretslider is convinced that 97% of liberal newspapers can’t possibly be wrong about Trump. On the other hand, they very well could be wrong about climate change. How does one not notice such a huge disconnect?

    • Well when you have a decrepid Congress full of RINO dead beats; even Godzilla can’t get anything going.

      Trump on the other hand, seems to be moving things along just fine. It’s the dems, and CNN talking heads, that are stuck in reverse. They are still looking for the one out of 435 Electoral College Electors, who claims that S(he) was told by the Russians to vote for old commie Bernie.

      G

    • Mod? Is there any way of eliminating all of these off topic troll threads? There was already a Trump article today that this discussion could have better be had in. We would all prefer to see discussion kept generally on the topic of the article.

    • Does anyone else notice the Trump hating trolls never have an argument? They just bash our President as if they are so righteous and have all the answers. All the President is trying to do is fix our broken country and all they trolls do is want more of the same.

    • Well there is NO swamp that is as shallow as that CNN piece of fake news talking trash, So if the Donald Prez (that’s gutteral for President Trump) is sinking in THAT swamp, he is probably up to his toe-nalis.

      So all’s well; nothing to see here, so move along !

      g

  2. I have been to the Kogan plant multiple times.
    The whole solar boost thing was considered a running joke from at least early 2013.
    (The plant uses air cooling, so no cooling towers to belch “smoke” for photographers to highlight against a darkening sky.)

    The panels used to be sitting in a field just to the left as you entered Chinchilla.
    Directly opposite an electrical substation.

  3. Unforunately the linked article Is unreadable, at least for me, due to ‘redirecting’ my mobile device to the’app store’.

  4. There are many older steam heating systems not running stainless steel either in the boilers, radiators, or piping. Some have been in constant operation for nearly a century. What is required is a knowledge of the water chemistry beyond the H2O and treat accordingly. Lack of proper care and maintenance would not have saved stainless steel piping, either. Another possible problem was that there were dissimilar metals in contact with the piping causing electrolysis.

    • Oh… the pipes were destroyed waiting on the dock for transport. No doubt they would have lost some SS also.
      Steel from China of such poor quality it had to be buried? That’s got to be a first.
      What a cluster-flop.

      • Remember when engines were falling off aircraft? China steel, China bolts, etc. When large industrial refinery, chemical, and other plants come down for turnarounds (refurbish, replace, install new), they usually go low-bid. When Q/A, Q/C became critical with Chinese steel, this policy went away when low bidders were caught quoting with China steel.

      • Well the Chinese even made fake mortar for the great wall, using sticky rice.

        Turns out it’s much stronger than Portland cement.

        G

    • From the article: “Mr Canham said pipes had rusted when they were left uncollected at the Port of Brisbane during the 2011 floods because of a dispute between Areva and shipping company DHL. As a result only 20 per cent of them were useable.

      “Meanwhile, a shipment of steel Areva imported from China was of such poor quality it had to be buried as scrap…”

      I think the pipe thing was more a result of management incompetence than it was lack of technical know-how.

    • Alkalinity is key in boiler water, usually a pH of 11 with a small range either side.

      Boilers usually have a magnetite layer in them which also means that oxygen has to be scavenged.

    • Correct. I have replaced a boat load of pipe and repaired all the valves in a system in 15 year old nuke plants because the system was not properly laid up after initial testing.

    • There are many older steam heating systems not running stainless steel …

      I’ve been in the bowels of many buildings and I don’t think I’ve ever seen stainless used in a heating system.

      A couple of years ago, we had a burst heating pipe in the building where I taught. It was gross. The plumber told me that it was the original water plus additional chemicals from the 1960s. The pipe that burst was a 1/2 in. tee off the main 3 in. pipe. Apparently the main, non-stainless, pipes were just fine.

      Given that our plumber knew exactly what was going on, I think the rusty pipe excuse is just a sign of something quite bad.

      Thing Two: Since when do you bury steel to get rid of it? We have lots of scrap yards who will pay for it.

      Joe Crawford May 24, 2017 at 7:26 am

      I think the pipe thing was more a result of management incompetence than it was lack of technical know-how.

      It sure looks that way.

      • incompetence is my bet.

        most steel comes with mill scale that needs to be blasted off before painting. it look rusty even new, because it is. typically it needs to be blasted and painted before use.

        stainless is only stainless in air. it needs special care because it can fail catastrophically without warning due to crevice corrosion when it is not exposed to air, such as when it is exposed to water. I can’t see using it in boilers, unless you are using a high priced exotic.

        plain old steel gives lots and lots of warning (rust) before it fails, and when it does it tends to pin-hole rather than fail catastrophically. underwater steel can easily be prevented from rusting because it is not exposed to air.

      • “Thing Two: Since when do you bury steel to get rid of it? We have lots of scrap yards who will pay for it.”

        You “bury the steel” when you want to walk off with the money paid for the scrap.

      • You also bury it if you end up with a batch that has some radioactive contamination, which isn’t that hard if you’ve got extremely sloppy to nonexistent quality controls in the original factory.

  5. It’s quite funny that my iPhone carries an advert for Solar Panels between the post and commentary.

    • “The solar thermal addition would comprise a field of 14 solar steam generators covering a land area of 30 hectares adjacent to the power station” That much land to supply energy for 5,000 homes? I guess if one covers the world with solar installations, there would be no worries of overdevelopment in the area. (sheesh)

      • fxk – “That much land to supply energy for 5,000 homes?”

        Precisely why I say that solar energy is not scalable. It’s a function of Earth’s surface area. If they were able to complete this project and supply 5,000 homes, the only way to double capacity would be a project requiring the same amount of land.

      • Enquiring Minds Want to Know – Supply energy for 5,000 homes? How was this calculated?

        The plan had been to use thousands of mirrors to focus solar energy to pre-heat steam used to drive power-generating turbines.

        So using this system vs a standard Feedwater / Desuperheater pre-heat system is going to make the Coal Fired Power Plant that much more efficient?

      • “The plan had been to use thousands of mirrors to focus solar energy to pre-heat steam used to drive power-generating turbines. ”

        This bankruptcy is good news for the birds and bird lovers.

    • A great find, Peter. From the document: “The version of CLFR technology to be deployed on the project was at an early stage of the solar thermal technology life cycle. Subsequent design improvements have the potential to reduce transportation costs, site assembly costs, operation and maintenance costs, and provide a safer, more controllable and more robust plant.”

      As always, eager governments push immature technologies down the taxpayer’s throat.

  6. Were real solar panels involved or only mirrors for a concentrated solar heating system? The article and discussion are not all clear on this. Regardless, this does seem to be a complete failure of project management, whether or not the technology had rational and economic justification
    (probably not).

    • Andrew there is a live discussion on this failed project at the moment on Jonova site:
      http://joannenova.com.au/2017/05/another-glorious-solar-scheme-fails-ignominiously-fast-clouds-rusty-pipes-dumb-decisions/
      and TonyfromOz gives a clear description of how the booster system was supposed to work in comment #8 whilst ROM later on details 121 solar businesses bankrupt, closed or sold off between 2009 and 2014 (#15.4.1) .
      One feature constantly cropping up is the enormous hype given to these schemes by media and politicians on inauguration and the total silence when they fail.
      A feature depressingly similar to that seen elsewhere is the large salaries given to managers who cannot manage and the large losses suffered by the taxpayer , who has to suffer in ignorance and silence.

      • And if you try to find information – it’s not available. Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia has been touted from the beginning as such a great green project. But you’ll never find what it actually cost, how much power it is actually generating and exactly whether the taxpayers or the utility customers got stuck with part of the bill. When first announced, much was made of the stupid wind generators used – now they admit that those really don’t generate enough to power a hair dryer and are simply “visual representations” of their commitment to green energy. http://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/blog/2016/06/29/philadelphia-eagles-go-green-renewable-energy They also use misleading language to make it sound like they are creating more than enough power for the stadium when in fact what they are saying is it’s enough to power the home games – but they say nothing about the stadiums total power demand over a year.

      • @ mikewaite:

        — “A feature depressingly similar to that seen elsewhere is the large salaries given to managers who cannot manage”
        How can you say this – many, if not all, of these “managers” would have taken a management course/degree at college or university – the fault is obviously with the workers who, it would seem, fail to be managed ;)

      • I had a manager who was telling lies about me in order to get me fired.
        I got signed statements from most of my co-workers stating that what my manager was writing up wasn’t accurate.
        Upper management didn’t want to hear it. I was told that I was to blame since I had failed to manage my manager correctly.

      • ” AREVA Solar’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology”
        =================
        any bets this is the magic ingredient that sold the project?

    • Peter Saul:

      Yes, but the problem with solar is that some people want to switch their lights on – not off – when the sun goes down.

      Richard

      • A point that the UK govt. has not fully appreciated. My comment was on that exact wording in the article referred to. Some executive, presumably well paid, had figured it out.
        Here in the UK it has been claimed that solar provided 25% of demand, during the afternoon and on the hottest, sunniest day of the year so far. I didn’t check the newspaper article for more caveats. The know that many people (including many politicians) will just take away the idea that solar will provide 25% of demand, sunny or not, day and night, winter or summer.

  7. Way back more than 35 years ago, at the beginning of the solar energy research stuff, it was discovered that the best metal to line pipes heated by solar reflexion systems was…gold. Gold was fairly cheap back in the early 1970s and the dollar was a dollar. Then boom. Too expensive.

    Corrosion happens when dense salt concoctions are moving in pipes, of course.

    • Would you like to cite a reliable reference for that little piece of information. I happen to know quite well the main guru of heating pipes with solar. And he’s been doing that for at least 45 years, that I know of, and who knows how much longer. And he wouldn’t dream of using gold . Even the cheapest aluminum mirror coating is way better for solar mirrors, than gold ever would be. It’s the green photons that carry the most solar energy, not the near infra-red, where gold would be a good mirror.

      G

      • I think he was talking about gold plating the interior of lines made of some other material. Not gold coating on the solar panel glass. Neither would make any sense, gold is very corrosion resistant but otherwise it has poor structural properties and I doubt it would last long inside a pipe system. Erosion would strip it right off if it was in a thin coat. And it has never been cheap enough since Red Fred took us off the gold system for a thick coat.

      • Well James, I think you have your financials on backwards.

        Gold has never been cheap enough to use as a thick lining for a pipe. It is paper money that isn’t worth anything any more.

        Gold created the first period of sustained inflation in history. In about 75 years in Elizabethan times, the consumer price index in Europe rose by a factor of six, and then leveled off. It stayed at that level till the US went off the gold standard, and it has been on the same inflationary up slope that it was in the 1500s ever since.

        The cause of the original, was the inflation of the European currency by the stolen wealth of the Americas.

        There was nothing more to buy in Europe, when that happened so the price just rose to eat up all the excess money.

        Well but not in Elizabethan England. Lizzie I met the pirates like Frank Drake etc at the dock and grabbed the loot for the royal coffers, so England missed out on that inflation. They used the loot to acquire the British Empire.

        G

  8. An interesting comparison can be made between the failed Kogan Creek solar thermal project, and the FPL Martin Next Generation solar thermal project in central Florida, USA.

    The FPL plant cost $398M USD for 75 MW of power. The KC plant was going to cost $105M AUS for 44 MW of power.

    The FPL plant was an add-on to an existing NG fired plant. The KC plant was an add-on to an existing coal fired plant. Neither solar add-on increases the plant output capacity. Rather, they may reduce the amount of fuel needed to deliver a given amount of electrical energy.

    The FPL plant started operations in late 2010 and continues to run. The KC plant was supposed to break ground in June 2011 and is now scrapped.

    The FPL plant is nominally 75 MW on 202 hectares. The KC plant was going to be 44 MW on 30 hectares. This is a huge discrepancy in required land area.

    Both plants are at around 27 degrees N latitude and have similar annual-averaged solar insolation. Both locations have “fast-moving clouds”.

    The FPL plant is supposed to avoid 2.75 Million tons of CO2 over a 30 year life. The KC plant was supposed to avoid 1.07 Million tons of CO2 over a 30 year life.

    The FPL plant is supposed to supply 155,000 MWh/year.
    Actual performance over last 5 years is 100,000 MWh/year.

    The KC plant was supposed to supply 44,000 MWh/yr.
    Actual performance over last 5 years is 000,000 MWh/year.

    The FPL plant is projected to save $178M USD in fuel costs over a 30 year life
    Interestingly, the time needed to recover the initial investment is the same for the two projects.

    • Chris: Your first point says: “The FPL plant cost $398M USD for 75 MW of power” and your last point says: “The FPL plant is projected to save $178M USD in fuel costs over a 30 year life” I don’t see how it ever pays for itself. Or was the project supposed to be a $/ton CO2 not emitted project?

      • I think that comment was supposed to be sarcastic. They will recover their initial investment at the same time, “Never”.

    • The FPL plant cost $398M USD for 75 MW of power.
      The FPL plant is projected to save $178M USD in fuel costs over a 30 year life
      =============
      I went into solar and ended up with 1 million dollars.
      I started with 2 million.

      • You made the mistake of investing in a company with your return based on selling electricity above project cost. As the managers of this project (and Elon Musk) have shown, the way to make money in solar is to invest in politicians, with returns based on the government making direct payments from tax dollars.

    • dan no longer in CA-

      I agree.
      I also don’t see how the FPL plant ever pays for itself. And it is important to realize that the $178M in avoided NG costs was based on high NG prices back in 2008, before NG prices collapsed in a flood of supply.

      My observation was that the $100M already spent on the cancelled KC solar plant has the same payback time, i.e. never.

  9. Those fast moving destroyer clouds were caused by AGW. We must defeat this enemy. /sarc GK

  10. Sounds like too many fingers in the pie, as they are with many Green Schemes.

    Best line in article:
    “I’d be wanting someone’s balls on a plate if I was to end up in such a predicament.”

  11. I spent almost 40 years in fossil and nuke powered generating stations, up to 2100 psi, and I’ve never seen stainless steel steam lines. Stainless is not as strong as alloy steel and it does have severe corrosion problems with chlorides in the water. I imagine these solar plants are low pressure and that may allow you to get away with SS piping. But the water used would have to be highly purified.

    As for rusty steam lines, I’ve never seen one. But all the units I worked at took maintenance very seriously. Piping was constantly inspected and painted as needed. But normal utilities know where their money is coming from and want to protect their cash cow.

    • I worked on a 3 year old ship many years ago replacing the corroded-through stainless steel piping with brass. The ship was outfitted for diver support of oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The stainless tubing was used for a helium supply for the divers. It lasted only 3 years because of seawater spray leaving salt crystals that started corrosion pits. The stainless looked good but it wouldn’t hold pressure. The alpha-brass alloy turned green but worked just fine.

      • If I read this right you are saying copper in direct contact with stainless. Not good. When you have 2 dissimilar metal in contact with a conductive fluid. When that happens you basically have made a battery. And in batteries one metal will corrodes while the other will not. A piping system made of just stainless steel (welded not soldered) will last for a very long time. Four our process cooling water we have been using stainless steel for quite some time. We don’t have any corrosion issues. mainly because the system is 100% stainless. In other places we used only brass and we have had a lot of problems recently with crevice corrosion. We went through that entire lab and replaced all the brass with stainless and we have had no issues since.

        On large ships plates of zinc are bolted not the steel hull of the ship. The zinc corrodes wile the steel son nor. Water heaters are build the same way. A inc rod in the tank prevents the steel from corroding. Long life water heaters cost more than short life water heaters mainly because they have a larger sink rod inside.

    • The executive summary in https://arena.gov.au/assets/2016/09/Kogan-Creek-Solar-Boost-Final-Report.pdf includes:

      The concept was for the solar thermal addition to ‘boost’ the generation output of a modern coal-fired power station by up to 44 megawatts in peak solar conditions. Solar thermal energy would be used to evaporate and superheat boiler feedwater to produce high quality steam. This steam would be fed into the power station’s turbines to increase the power station’s electricity generation output while burning the same amount of coal.

      So the boilers can’t provide enough steam to run the turbines at full output? Either the report is confused or it seems the plant wasn’t designed very well!

      • Agreed it doesn’t make any sense, maybe they planned to back off on the furnace burners while they were getting the ‘free solar heating’. As for superheating, modern fossil plants suck every possible joule of heat energy out of waste heat by a system of heat exchangers, superheaters, economizers and more. Hard to believe some weak extra low temp heating from a solar system would make much different. Modern boilers would be operating at over 2000 psi and more than 1000 deg F. Both much higher than I would expect from a solar system.

        We did refit one old plant with a gas turbine and waste heat from that was fed to the steam plant to make a very efficient unit.

    • “I spent almost 40 years in fossil and nuke powered generating stations…”

      Yet James seems to know very little about the steam plant and water chemistry. There is a huge difference between steam piping and tubing for heat transfer.

      The issue for steam piping is erosion. Water chemistry in a nuclear reactor controls chlorides and other impurities to protect the tubing housing fuel pellets and tubing for steam generators. There there are secondary heat exchangers. On one side, very clean water, on the other lake or seawater full of muck and microorganism.

      The point here is that materials are selected carefully for the environment. What I get from the articles is that the environment was not carefully controlled as was the manufacturing quality control.

      Poor management? Sure it is solar, who cares!

      • SS corrosion, once started in a wet environment, manufactures acid inside the cracks and self-accelerates. It is good for some applications and not for others. For one, SS doesn’t take heat very well. The oxidation sites are abandoned by the Cr/Ni and corrosion starts.

        The invention of 3CR12 by Columbus Steel provided a new method of stabilising the oxidation occupiers using 1/2% titanium to provide an SS very good heat resistance, but it is not all that corrosion resistant. In the circumstances they might have been better off with 3CR12 piping than SS (300 series).

      • You want something corrosion resistant use Carpenter-20 or Inconel. Not cheap tho and not for every application. We did have Carpenter-20 lines and valves on a H2SO4 system, in the Navy we used Inconel on some heat exchangers.

  12. If they would have taken the 105 million dollars and divided it among the 5000 houses it would have given them $250 a month for over 41 years to pay for electricity.

    • I have a neighbor on bordering acreage who lives in a hunting cabin and proudly stays disconnected from all utilities. He lives with a 250 watt solar panel and car batteries. All DC 24V, no inverter. When he needs AC he has a small camping generator. He pipes spring water to the cabin and has a composting toilet (I’ve never asked to see it so don’t ask me about it). Heat and cooking is from wood and his refrigerator is a camper LP model.

      If you want to live as a survivalist, solar panels might be just the thing.

    • I have about 700 watts of panels on my RV trailer and am currently out in the mountainous boondocks completely off grid on sat tv/internet. They are just flat on the roof, so don’t do anything in the winter, but from about early April to end of Sept, work well enough to be 90% of my domestic supply when at that location. I have 3 pure sine wave inverters (100 W, 300 W and a 2500 W) and 12 large capacity 12V deep cycle batteries. If it rains for 4-5 days, I can get through it since there is always some amps being generated in daylight and can run the batteries down to 11.8V. If reasonably sunny, then it is a free lunch and a very nice feeling to be so independent. I don’t bother using it for heating, hot water, cooking or A/C, since these electrons are more valuable to run digital, small appliances and lights etc, so propane or generator if want that occasionally. But stuff like electric blankets, microwave, toaster, coffee maker etc are great. Have a built in propane generator, and a diesel genset work truck for welding/work, so if need be, can charge batteries on the cusp of the seasons or go a few months before spring and after fall while having minimal solar generation.

      Solar has a place especially for off grid where can save running a ICE engine 24/7. I totally support Net Metering for small scale distributed generation, as long as it isn’t subsidized by other rate payers and can only be paid for surplus equal to current utility rates. Rooftop has it inefficiencies with shading, roof angles and siting and maintenance issues plus other future problems like roof replacement. Might make sense for a brand new house that was designed with solar in mind. Large scale Utility sized solar farms don’t make sense to me, because of a poor ROI and the energy density is so low for the the land area you take up. When energy storage is available economically, then maybe it will make sense if there are no state or consumer subsidies to give it any other unfair advantage.

      • “Have a built in propane generator ….”

        So do I! Tell me again why you have 700 watts of PV toys? There is a saying in the US, he who has the most toys wins.

        Ron is a dumb a** because he claims to be ‘independent’ after burning how much fuel to get to the to the boondocks?

        We live full time in our motor home. We also have a $88, 800 watt Harbor Freight generator as a backup. It has a pull cord and does not depend on battery start. When in the boondocks, we need to run the generator 1 hour during the summer and two hours during the winter because the blower on the propane furnace.

        Whenever I go ask about PV panels I have seen for an RV, before I get there I hear their generator running. One must assume the purpose of PV is to be seen so others know how good you feel about yourself with your delusional quest to protect the environment.

  13. AREVA lost a boat load of money on renewable technologies. Like most companies, we had employee meetings that discussed financials. Are we getting a bonus or a pink slip? A ‘package’ is code is we will provide incentives if you voluntarily quite before getting fired.

    For a nuclear company, the purpose of wind and solar is public relations. Making a profit would be nice but an indication of good management.

    Aside from the bonus calculation, what is important? Safety, no one gets hurt at work. No fuel assemblies leak in our customers reactors. Did our projects like steam generator or reactor vessel head replacement get done under budget and ahead of schedule?

    • Areva got its start making french nuclear reactors. With few sails of nuclear reactors they got into renewables. Part of that was the purchase of Ausra a US company setup t o commercialize the Australian developed fresnel reflector solar thermal system. Ausra first few solar thermal plants were small and appeared to work well . unfortunately the economic downturn in 2008 caused they to cancel several major projects they had planned. The company was forced to sell itself.

      Areva has a history of loosing money for some time as the story linked to n this article states Areva sent untrained workers from the US to work on the plant. They arrived without safety gear. Steal pipes sat on the dock due to a disagreement with DHL. Purchased steel they couldn’t use, another vendor they used went out of business. Overall just like the 2 nuclear projects they are currently working on in europe, they are way behind schedule and over budget. Areva has been loosing so much money in it reactor business that the French EDF (a government company) purchase a major stake in Areva to prevent bankruptcy.

      Apparently the only thing Areva has been good at for the last decade is loosing money.

  14. I read this from time to time to remind me of the reality of renewables . . .

    Stop the solar scam now!

    Australians have wasted untold billions of dollars on solar power and it is a major reason why our electricity prices are close to the highest in the world, and on track to go much higher [YES INDEED THIS WAS WRITTEN IN 2014]. The sun-worshipping cult of solar power has been enforced ever since the Howard government introduced the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) on April Fools’ Day of 2001.

    As of 1 January 2014 the Clean Energy Regulator identified Australia has 1,161,245 solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems with a rated output of 3,096 MW. The catch is that for most of the day they produce far less than this maximum rating, in winter they dribble out the power and at night they produce zip, absolutely nothing.

    Worse still, like a wrecking ball, these solar panels are destroying the entire electricity grid, forcing coal-fired power stations to run at slower speeds—sometimes at 60 per cent capacity as they are too big to just switch on and off. Running in such a way has been likened to a jumbo jet constantly ascending and descending, rather than cruising at a high altitude. It’s very inefficient and forces the coal-fired power stations to burn more fuel per unit power output. (This discounts any perceived zero-emissions benefit of solar power.) Then, early in the evening, peak demand occurs when the sun is setting and solar power is useless.

    The grid requires reliable baseload power—intermittent solar power is killing the system. Aside from the daily and yearly solar variation, constantly shifting cloud cover can dramatically drop and spike solar PV output and wreak havoc over the electricity grid.

    Over the course of the year, the entire array of Australian PV rooftop solar panels will produce 4,180 gigawatt hours of electricity, less than what just one typical coal-fired power station would produce. For example, in 2012/13 the 750 MW coal-fired Kogan Creek Power Station recorded an availability of 87.8 per cent and sent out 5,189 gigawatt hours of electricity. Commissioned in 2007, it cost just $1.2 billion to build.

    By contrast, Australians have spent $8 billion of their own money on highly subsidised solar panels, costing taxpayers, businesses and all electricity consumers and having a flow-on effect estimated to have cost the Australian economy tens of billions of dollars.

    Sun worshippers were crowing in January, that the enormous volume of solar panels on roofs in Victoria and South Australia saved those states from blackouts and brownouts during the five-day heat wave from 13-17 January. Solar from 350,000 homes and businesses in those states was estimated to reduce peak demand by 4.6 per cent. In fact, even this figure—small though it is—is bogus. Conventional power stations had surplus capacity and at their peak output on 16 January after 4:30 pm, the PV solar collectors were contributing just 3.1 per cent. On average they only contribute a measly 1.7 per cent to Australia’s total electricity generation.

    Anyone with solar panels getting paid a feed-in tariff to sell electricity back into the grid might think solar is great. They are actually being subsidised by everyone else, particularly the poor and most vulnerable in society who cannot afford to buy solar panels, but have to pay much higher bills so the power companies can pay extra for solar power. In Queensland, the government power companies pay 70 per cent more for surplus solar power than they charge for their own power.

    While Australia has only built two coal-fired power stations in the last decade, China is building around one every week and they have 29 nuclear reactors currently under construction. Isn’t it time to stop this solar scam and start building proper baseload power infrastructure, including nuclear to utilise our enormous uranium and thorium reserves, before China leaves us in the dust?

    http://cecaust.com.au/releases/2014_02_03_Solar_Scam.html

    • ‘including nuclear’

      Sorry warren, nuclear is for advanced countries.

      It is also too late, China has left you in the duct.

      • Yes China is increasingly stealing our ‘electricity intensive’ industries such as injection moulding, EPS foam moulding, specialized smelting etc.

        Yes Australian’s won’t go for nuclear (even though South Australia could be the major generator and waste disposer).

        Green investors in Australia are extreme fools.
        They don’t realise their investments are always fully exposed to a single stroke of the pen.
        Australia has massive coal reserves.
        It would take one politician to get up in the morning and declare:

        I will halve (or quarter) electricity prices within 2-years

        So easily done in Australia by building just 5 new clean (clean-ish) coal power stations.
        There’d be a landslide victory.
        We’re increasingly hurting here so this will happen within 10-years.
        Renewables will be a bad memory.

        Gas in Australia is equally disastrous due to many factors including corruption:
        https://www.michaelwest.com.au/the-great-gas-con-how-we-got-sucked-dry/
        Note I certainly don’t agree with West’s views on Climate.

    • “Warren Blair May 24, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Anyone with solar panels getting paid a feed-in tariff to sell electricity back into the grid might think solar is great. They are actually being subsidised by everyone else, particularly the poor and most vulnerable in society who cannot afford to buy solar panels, but have to pay much higher bills so the power companies can pay extra for solar power.”

      Or if you are a tenant or a unit/apartment, like more and more Australians are, you cannot install solar.

      • @Warren Blair says: May 24, 2017 at 5:22 pm

        Could you be more specific about costs?

        Whenever incessant wining the about electric bill gets too be too much, I ask to see the bill. For example, my son keeps his house too warm because concerns about high priced power. His rate is about 10 cents/kwh.

        When we lived in hot humid Virginia, I set the thermostat the way that POTUS did. Where my wife wanted it. I calculated based on reading the meter that it cost That it cost $1/day/person to run the A?C.

        A/C is about the cheapest thing I do to keep my wife happy.

        There are two reasons for power bill to be expensive, you use a lot or your commie government is using hidden taxes to redistribute income.

  15. “I also don’t see how the FPL plant ever pays for itself.”

    I can see that none of you have taken ECON 101. The PUC orders FPL to build solar and pass the cost on to rate payers plus 10%. [/sarc]

    While the absence of evidence is not evidence, I have found no operators of solar steam plants bragging about overcoming the problems and making the plants work as designed. FPL is one of the best. To make a solar steam plant work, burn a lot of natural gas. Plenty of evidence of that.

    FPL is a state regulated investor owned utility that operated power plants in of all place Florida. Go figure right. They a a nuke plant too. FPL has fought hard to keep independent power producers out of Florida.

    FPL also has a subsidiary that operated independent power plants that they have bought including nukes, solar thermal, and wind. FPL is good an making electricity and a profit.

    During the debate in Florida about solar, the FPL CEO told the PUC that it was a bad choice for Florida rate payers. If it was a bad choice for the PUC, there would no solar. A token amount of solar is good politics.

  16. I am surprised that they didn’t use climate change as their excuse for the failure. It sure is the favorite excuse for government and upper management incompetence these days.

  17. From the SMH article;

    “The plan had been to use thousands of mirrors to focus solar energy to pre-heat steam used to drive power-generating turbines.”

    Pre-heat steam?

  18. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) seems to me is overall too complicated to even bother with. Such complexities to boil and make steam, and then the inefficiency of the steam cycle without using the wasted thermal residue heat at the end of the day which requires gas to preheat the next morning. Probably better to just use simple PV panels if you are wanting to make electricity. Too many moving parts and plumbing for CSP, and I wonder why it is ever done?

    The one thing that does make sense is simple solar thermal heating. That is a huge growth industry in rural China and India for not only domestic hot water but space heating as well. I use it sometimes when out in the wilderness with just a few hundred feet of black rubber 3/4″ garden hose coiled up in an enclosure using gravity feed water from a small creek. If you had to heat water like that at 10 cents a Kw/hr, you would spend a fair bit on electricity bills. I think a lot more of this passive solar hot water should have been adopted instead of the solar PV rooftop. There would have been far more energy saved on domestic hot water and space heating in the applicable seasons than what solar PV creates year round. It just doesn’t make sense to use solar power to make electricity, and then use the electricity to heat water or air. Maybe the one thing that makes sense for roof top solar PV is an air conditioning load when the electrons are being used immediately to run the air conditioner during the day time when it is hot outside.

    • Spot on Ron.
      Oval black PVC (sorry polyolefin) tube coil on roof.
      Free (almost) warm/hot water.
      Ten times as ‘green’ as PV solar.
      $1 per metre.
      $5 electronics for sophisticated control.
      $35- DIY plumb-in kit.
      No scientists/researchers.
      No tax subsidies.
      No politicians.
      No green lobbyists.
      No funding corruption.
      So when do you think this will get off the ground?

      • It already has, but mainly only in the third world where they don’t have anything else, or this is so cheap and effective, they install this to save money. We could do it here too in the first world, but gets more complicated with building codes and high labor rates for installation. I suppose it is just a failure of imagination, not realizing that solar thermal is more productive and a lot less expensive than solar PV.

        There is far more profit doing this as compared to the same solar PV to make electricity to make the same hot water for domestic or space heating. If I were building a new house, I would design the roof for maximum solar exposure and install mainly solar thermal hot water, and some solar PV, but only for a battery back-up giant UPS to run a few key circuits like fridge/freezer and TV/internet etc, to save a little on grid hydro but mainly for back-up in case of grid failure. I would skip the solar/grid connection all together because on an annual basis for the measly Kw/hr produced, it doesn’t really justify the expense of the grid intertie. It is unfortunate that the subsidies distorted things so much, although in some ways that is what the brought the price down in general due to such global demand. They will get more efficient, and probably cheaper in the future, although they will always be subject to less than 22%-23% annual capacity factor just based upon having only 5-6 hours of peak sufficient sunlight per day for maximum output. For 13-14 hours a day on a yearly average, they produce nothing at all even if there was not a cloud in the sky.

      • loved your prior comments:-)
        and yeah i use a black poly 20litre drum to heat water when my hws fails
        the black pipe is also a great pool heater, ive seen people do well with it.

    • “I wonder why it is ever done? ”

      Complicated is not a criteria for making electricity. The design of a modern reactor is much more complicated today because computing power allows it. However, this resutlts is getting twice as much power per ton of uranium.

      If you look at PV it is very complicated per kwh produced.

      The reason solar is done at all is idiots who do not make electricity think it is a good idea. Griff of example. Solar is not a good environmental choice. Worse than coal.

      “The one thing that does make sense is simple solar thermal heating. That is a huge growth industry in rural China and India for not only domestic hot water but space heating as well. ”

      Again it is neither simple or make sense. Where you solar hot water collectors in China is 4 story apartment buildings with business on the first floor. I did not see any single family dwellings in China. What dirty rotten commies are trying to do is move the rural population into 10 story or greater bigger city apartment buildings.

      “I use it sometimes ….. If you had to heat water like that at 10 cents a Kw/hr, you would spend a fair bit on electricity bills. ”

      Idiot! What we called a Hollywood shower in the navy (long hot showers using lots of water) costs about 25 cents at 10 cents/kwh. My first ship was a WWII vintage oil fired destroyer. I shared two shower with 30 others who worked in the engine and boiler rooms, not that we could take shower when at sea. One of my responsibilities was running the evaps. Before coming into port when we had enough water for the boiler, I would let water quality slip and have to dump condensate to the bilge. If the hose to the bilge just happened to be raised to above the deck plating and have a shower nozzle and 30 guys lined up during the night, it was just a coincidence that we had clean hair and did not smell bad.

      Years later before I go out of the navy, I was an officer on a new nuke ship. I shared a shower with one person. With a nuke reactor, making water and making it hot is not a problem. I did not take navy showers.

      I installed a steam shower in out last house. You do not want to know what a 30 amp GFI breaker costs. My goal in life is great showers not saving the planet. We all ready did that.

    • Ron I have placed vinyl waterbed pillow tubes, 6′ long, 2 of them, on my Subaru roof, filled with cold hose water in am afternarriving at a remote building site..can’t drive with full tubes! left in car in sun to heat the tubes, at 2-3PM water was almost too hot to shower under.. a short hose connects from pillow screw cap, to shower head on other end. Short people can stand under the shower, tall can sit on a stool. Those solar, hanging bag, camp shower kits do the same thing. you need trees, or tripod tho.

      In the 60s didn’t all hippies curl garden hoses on van roof and have hot water? In PacNW in late 1800s a metal, gravity fed, water tank (laid on the side with all fittings for use horizontally, placed in attic (with glazed opening to sun) and hot water flowed to kitchen and or bath…I own one of these delightful old tanks!

      There are plans for building batch solar water heater systems using the inside core tank from an old regular water heater.
      http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/water_heating.htm

  19. Who could have predicted that clouds might scud rapidly across a subtropical sky, or that non-stainless steam pipes might be at risk of going rusty?

    Try: computermodels.

  20. Ron I was being a bit sarcastic above. I have some friends with evacuated-tube (Rinnai is popular) and some with flat panel types. But as you say black poly is very effective and could have been more popular if an optimised low cost tube had been developed. I take your point about building regs and I imagine that’s in relation to water quality. I’ve seen some good poly tube systems for heating swimming pools. I certainly agree overall heating water is cost effective compared to PV full-life cost/benefit.

  21. The use of the terms “cutting-edge” and “pioneering” in such a short description suggests that the density of usage of these terms may be useful in robotic translation of promoter BS as warning signs etc..

  22. Bryan A <“An Excuse is nothing more than the Skin of a Lie stuffed with Reason”

    I AM STEALING THIS NOW! love it. The longer I live and the more I observe adults of all ages and abilities, the more lame excuses they continue to give.

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