The tower of power falls short -produces only 30% of capacity

Solar Tower with Thermal Energy Storage: A “Consolidated” Technology with a Single Plant of Decent Size Built on Earth Producing Less Than 30% of the Planned Electricity

Guest essay by Albert Parker

If we consider the latest (2017) National Renewable Energy Laboratory Annual Technology Baseline data, [1] and [2], they say current representative technology for concentrating solar power is molten-salt power towers with 10 hours two-tank thermal energy storage. They admit the first (and only) large molten-salt power tower plant with 10 hours of storage is Crescent Dunes, 110 MW, commissioned in 2015.

Their concentrated solar power workbook is based on purely hypothetical solar towers with direct two-tank 10 hours thermal energy storage supposed to deliver annual capacity factors (ratio of actual electricity delivered in a year vs. the product of the installed capacity by the number of hours in a year) largely exceeding the 50% mark, more precisely 56% in an insulation class 3 location (Las Vegas, NV) or 59% in an insulation class 5 (Dagget, CA).

These capacity factors of 56% and 59% correspond to an annual electricity production per unit capacity (power) of 4,906 and 5,168 kWh/kW that are nowhere to be seen even close in plants on Earth.

If we look at the operational Concentrated Solar Power stations of capacity above even only 50 MW in the entire world, this list includes 34 stations, 31 of them are parabolic trough, a much more consolidated and reliable concentrated solar power technology, 1 is Fresnel reflector, and only 2 of them are solar tower.

The 2 power stations are both in the United States, the 377 MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System and the 110 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.

As actual electricity production of these plants is available from the United States Energy Information Administration [3], we may certainly check if the numbers by NREL are right.

As a comparison, we also consider the data of a more reliable concentrated solar power parabolic trough plant similarly recently built, the 250 MW Genesis, that has no thermal energy storage.

For the 377 MW Ivanpah, the planned electricity production was 1,079,232 MWh per year, corresponding to a capacity factor of 32.68%, with minimal support by burning natural gas.

For the 110 MW Crescent Dunes, the planned electricity production was 500,000 MWh per year, corresponding to a capacity factor of 51.89%.

For Genesis, the planned electricity production was only 580,000 MWh per year, corresponding to a capacity factor of 26.48%.

Figure 1 presents the monthly capacity factors of Ivanpah, Crescent Dunes and Genesis.

Worth to mention, the monthly capacity factors vary according to the season.

To deliver an annual capacity factor of 56% or 59% solar only, the summer capacity factors should be much larger than that to compensate the lower spring/fall and more than that winter capacity factors.

Ivanpah has no thermal energy storage, but boost by combustion of natural gas. So far, it has been able to reach a 21.29% annual capacity factor only not accounting for the significant natural gas combustion. As the natural gas can be burned better in a combined cycle gas turbine plant, the actual annual capacity factor is reduced to 14.42% when corrected for the consumption of natural gas in a combined cycle gas turbine plant.

Crescent Dunes is the current representative technology for concentrating solar power by NREL.

The project has delivered so far much less than the projected electricity production, a 13.21% annual capacity factor in the best year.

The plant had a major issue in the thermal energy storage that prevented electricity production for a long time, and is not recovering yet.

The more reliable Genesis has been able to produce electricity reaching an annual capacity factor of almost 30% without any boost by natural gas combustion, a value even better than the expected.

It does not seem appropriate to propose as “current technology” a technology that does not seem mature yet, while downplaying what is already working much better.

The thermal energy storage is not such a well proven and mature technology. Similarly, but marginally better, the solar tower technology is much more troublesome than the parabolic trough technology.

While NREL does not update the numbers to match reality, the South Australian government and the Federal Government of Australia have recently decided to build (about) same of Crescent Dunes power plant by same developer in Port Augusta, South Australia [4], [5].


Fig. 1 – Monthly capacity factors for the Ivanpah, Crescent Dunes and Genesis concentrated solar power plants. Design annual capacity factors are 32.68% for Ivanpah (but with minimal support from the burning of natural gas), 51.89% for Crescent Dunes, and 26.48% for Genesis. Ivanpah has been able to reach a 21.29% annual capacity factor in 2016 only not accounting for the significant natural gas combustion. Crescent Dunes has delivered a 13.21% annual capacity factor in 2016. Genesis has been able to produce electricity reaching an annual capacity factor of almost 30% in 2006.



[1] National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 2017 Annual Technology Baseline. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

[2] National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Concentrating Solar Power.

[3] Energy Information Administration (EIA). Electricity data browser – Plant Level Data.

Available online:

[4] ABC News (2017), Solar thermal power plant announced for Port Augusta ‘biggest of its kind in the world’.

[5] Renewable Economy (2017). Aurora: What you should know about Port Augusta’s solar power-tower.

150 thoughts on “The tower of power falls short -produces only 30% of capacity

  1. Good article. I would suggest that none of the figures given deserve more than 3 significant figures.So, for instance instead of writing 21.29%, just say 21.3% or even 21% is close enough.

    • I would disagree. Metered electricity is quite accurate, and design values are absolute. This is one case where the precision actually is justified.

      • True, it’s stated only as one or two digits, but it’s an absolute number, not a calculation. The unit is specified to run at 60 MW or whatever it is. Since it’s an exact, stated number, it doesn’t reduce significant figures, just like an exact count doesn’t.

    • Good ?! It’s illegible. Maybe someone who speaks English could rewrite it or at least proof read it.
      Having had to read everything two or three times to work out the punctuation should be and untangle the mash of different ideas being mixed in the grammatical blender I gave up.
      It looks like there may be some interesting info here but for too much work trying to make sense of it.
      Tip: a paragraph running for five lines should have more than one full stop ( period ). Express one idea in a sentence , not five or six.

      • The article is about that Frank Zappa song “Bobby Brown”

      • I found this article interesting and informative. Thank you for doing this basic research, even if it is a bit technical.

      • I noticed none of the problems Greg states. It’s a technical write-up, not a novel.

      • I noticed, but I did not have to read it several times, just imagine what was trying to be said, instead of reading it as written.
        “Ivanpah has no thermal energy storage, but boost by combustion of natural gas. So far, it has been able to reach a 21.29% annual capacity factor only not accounting for the significant natural gas combustion. As the natural gas can be burned better in a combined cycle gas turbine plant, the actual annual capacity factor is reduced to 14.42% when corrected for the consumption of natural gas in a combined cycle gas turbine plant.”
        Would be much more clear and transfer the information into the readers brain more effectively if it was more like this:
        “Ivanpah has no thermal energy storage, but is boosted by combustion of natural gas.
        So far, it has only been able to reach a 21.29% annual capacity factor, not accounting for the significant natural gas combustion, which lowers the efficiency still further.
        Since the natural gas used at Ivanpah could have been burned more efficiently in a combined cycle gas turbine plant, the actual annual capacity factor ought to be reduced to 14.42%, if corrected for this loss of efficiency.”
        Or something like that.
        Just sayin’.
        I got the gist of it, would not have brought it up, but since it was brought up and Greg is being criticized for pointing out the tortured grammatical structure, this is my perhaps helpful suggestion.
        A comma between the words “only’ and “not” would have gone a long way.

  2. Including levelized cost of electricity or something similar would be informative.

    • I found a number for Crescent Dunes of $900 million. I get about $3.50 per KWHr with the capacity factor above.

      • I want to see that built in South Aust, they so deserve it, and the politics of their targetted renewables stupidness.

      • That sounds a bit off..
        Capital cost $900m
        Lifetime 40 years?
        O & M costs 15% of capital
        Cost of capital 7.5%
        so annual depreciation + O & M + interest charges = 900/40 + 900 * 0.15 + 900* 0.075 = $225m dollars per year needed to break even…and repay capital
        At the planned 500GWh per year that is $225m /500m= $0.45c /KWh ($450/Mwh)
        With lower capacity factors that could rise to over a dollar a unit – but I cant get to $3 a unit.
        Unless these are totally maintenance free and zero interest rate financed…
        Even just amortizing the capital cost over 40 years leads me to 900/40 x500 = $0.045c /KWh. ($45/Mwh)
        Showing that even as planned it’s hopelessly uncompetitive.

      • 40 years is unlikely.
        A Molten Salt system probably has a service life well under 20 years before it needs a major overhaul and refit to replace pipes, tanks, seals, corroded support structures, new sensors. Probably 10-15 years would be my guess, before a major refit/overhaul was necessary at around 30% of PV original construction costs.

      • $0.45c /KWh ($450/Mwh) ???
        Come on Leo, you know enough science to get your units right, don’t you? And it’s dollars or cents but not both.

      • @David L. Hagen;
        Oh, looky here, in the fine print:
        “Power price is bases on the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed by the developer for power from the project; it may not reflect other sources of project income such as the sale of environmental credits or excess power.”
        So, any renewable energy credits or certificates that other power providers have to purchase to meet their renewable energy targets (RET’s) get priced at whatever the market can bear. If NJ is any indication, that’s 3-4 times the energy price.

      • @D. J. Hawkins True, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on Chile imposing taxes (aka credits) 3-4x power costs.

    • The capacity factor for Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors will stay at 0.000% for years to come. Somebody has to build one to determine anything. If someone ever does, construction will be way cheaper and faster than current reactors. They will be safer, also, since they don’t require a pressurized dome to reach operating temperature.
      The real problem with MSNRs is political. There are too many politicians not wanting citizens to have cheap reliable electricity. It breeds independence. Progressives screwed up with fossil fuels, since they expected us to run out. None of them saw the fracking revolution coming world wide.

      • Last I checked there were at least 2 gen IV reactors currently being constructed in the USA.

      • Apparently you believe all molten salt reactors development is in the West. Chia and India both are actively pushing molten salt. There is nothing unknown about the technology – there have been experimental molten salt reactors in the past , but the use of carbon
        moderators provided too little psace for fuel, unless highly enriched, which is a no-no.
        urrent designd have several methods to avoid this problem. Smaller moderatorating elements, and better reactor vessel alloys alow for Transatomic type designs, while others simply use standard uranium rods and cycle them out before they corrode. None of the molten salt nuclear reactor designs have been subject to technical skepticism by nuclear experts. They will deploy in several years, at least those that have a design that includes
        proven technology (Moltex Energy). The future is molten salt nuclear power, of that there can be no doubt.

      • I think the fundamental problem with any molteni nuclear reactor is dealing with the mutitude of cross reactons in all the chemicals in the soup! It’s going to be 1,000 times harder than my wife making a chicken casserole that tastes exactly the same as the last one!
        Just when you thought you got all the substances accounted for something will change and a new flavour will pop up. Probably one that corrodes something important in the system.

      • No. Voglte 3 and 4 are gen 3 westinghouse AP1000 designs. The only gen four anywhere in the world under constructiin is a small pilot MSR in China.

    • They’re garbage. They produce almost continuous waste and pollute their own fuel stream.

        All nuclear reactors have the issue of neutron-absorbing reaction produce “poisoning” the reaction. That is why light-water reactor fuel rods have to be removed after three years, despite having well over 90% recoverable energy left. MSRs have an attached reprocessing column in the fuel flow, so the reprocessing is done on-site.

      • “That is why light-water reactor fuel rods have to be removed after three years”
        “Chernobyl-type” reactors (more properly, RBMK) could have fuel removed at any time. Other (non light-water) designs also allow that. Bug or feature?

    • Well I actually think this might be the cause the for low capacity. They need to do a better job keeping the mirrors cleaned of all that black carbon.

  3. “an annual capacity factor of almost 30% …………., a value even better than the expected.”
    Then what were they expecting?…..and when they sold this bill of goods, what did they promise and claim?

  4. A direct commercial flight from Milwaukee to San Francisco flies right over that thing. If you’re sitting in a window seat on the north side of the airplane, you get a great view of it.

  5. Noted in passing, the capacity factors really go into the dumps around year end/beginning. You obviously have to have some sort of alternative generation in place to provide power during those times. All very well to be able to provide power during the daytime in july, but nighttime in december matters too.

    • I found out, for the 500 MW (alleged,real 150 mw) with storage, it’s $970 million.

      • The energy is free – This reminds me of an old B&W western I saw decades ago. Two hungry cowboys walked into a bar, saw a sign on the counter advertizing a free meal. They each ordered the meal. This being in the SW, the meal was ‘muy picante’ so they asked for water. At the end of the meal the bartender charged them $2. When they asked why the batender turned the ‘free meal’ sign around to reveal that water was $1 a glass.

  6. ” NREL does not update the numbers to match reality.” How much do we spend on that service?

    • Not a nitpick really. Considering we’re also talking thermal storage here I’d say insulation value is important.

      • Since the wording is ” 56% in an insulation class 3 location (Las Vegas, NV) or 59% in an insulation class 5 (Dagget, CA).” I suspect insolation was meant since I can’t see how insulation has to do with location.

      • Not a nitpick; a basic parameter mislabeled. Twice. But what stopped me was this awkward sentence:
        To deliver an annual capacity factor of 56% or 59% solar only, the summer capacity factors should be much larger than that to compensate the lower spring/fall and more than that winter capacity factors.
        I think the author’s intent was:
        To attain annual capacity factors of 56% to 59%, summer capacity factors must be much larger than that to compensate for lower spring/fall insolation and abysmal winter insolation.

      • This post could use a rewrite. Here for example “…These capacity factors of 56% and 59% correspond to an annual electricity production per unit capacity (power) of 4,906 and 5,168 kWh/kW that are nowhere to be seen even close in plants on Earth. …”.
        Could be stated as “The capacity factors of 56% and 59% correspond to a power production rate of 4,906 and 5,168 Kwh/Kw per unit. No working CSPs are currently able to reach such a production rate in operation”.
        I would rephrase much of the rest of the post similar to the above.

  7. “…the cost of electricity will necessarily skyrocket.” Barak Hussein Obama

  8. In the second paragraph, insulation should be insolation. Nit pick for the day.

  9. We certainly need a good dose of “truth in advertising” when talking about wind and solar energy. How can anyone claim either will someday be economically competitive with fossil fuel or nuclear when every wind/solar plant requires an equal amount of dispatchable power — fossil or nuclear? You basically have to build two equal plants, so renewables will never compete with dispatchable sources.

      • Solar City actually installed panels on a North-facing roof down the street from me Since we are at 44.47N, the panels get no sun at all for about 4 months out of the year and very low angle sun for much of the rest of the year. Of course, the panels are coated with ice/snow much of that the insolation is kind of irrelevant.

    • Solar energy becomes much more practical in space based applications, so research into the technology should not be abandoned entirely.
      But greenies need to admit that as a surface based commercial energy strategy, solar is not, and will probably never be, a viable option.

      • Yup. Collecting energy from an dangerous uncontrolled unshielded reactor 93million miles away is more dangerous and far less efficient than collecting it from a carefully shielded controllable reactor 50 meters away
        Remember solar radiation is deadly: 3000 people a year in the USA die from deadly radiation produced by the reactor that is the source of all ‘renewable’ energy.

  10. While it is ok to promise that gum will make your life so much better, because everyone knows this is fluff, it is not ok to exaggerate output from a solar farm in order to get government subsidies. It is theft.

  11. Gemasolar, the first commercial molten-salt solar plant in operation since 2011 is a 17 MW (registered electric power) plant located in Seville, Spain. It achieves a 55% capacity factor providing 80 GWh/year, energy for ~ 25,000 homes for ~ 4500 hours per year (6 month total), significantly better (1.5-3 x) than other intermittent renewables. At 171 million € it was quite expensive.
    For sunny places where a lot of electricity is required in the summer for air conditioning, I am sure they will be a nice addition once the cost is brought down.

    • Spain has a population of around 46 million and the Gemasolar facility provides enough power for 25,000 homes. Hmmm … and that ‘s only when the sun shines.

      • And why would we want to rely on a single energy source? It is an energy mix in which solar has a place.

      • solar has a place
        yes, solar is great for desalination of ocean water to supply fresh water, because of the ease of storage of water. Los Angeles, San Francisco and similar large coastal cities for example could solve much of California’s water problems by requiring that their water supply be taken from the ocean using solar power.
        The obvious solution to the “duck shaped” power curve problem in California is to direct the day-time solar power to desalination. Which is of course a guarantee that it will never be implemented. The last thing politicians in California want is to actually solve problems. If there were no problems there would be no need for politicians to solve them.

      • Thus spake Javier:

        And why would we want to rely on a single energy source? It is an energy mix in which solar has a place.

        Another green myth. Why would we need to rely on a single shape of wheel – square wheels have their place!
        Niothi8ng wrong with relying ion a single power source provided it meets all the requirements and is reliable.
        Nuclear power – say.
        It the regulations were re-written to express the real danger of radiation, electricity would be about 3c/Kwh, 24×7, real cost and reliable. Enough fissile material to power the entire USA for ten years could be stored in a medium sized warehouse.
        What would be the point of adding solar to that at 45c/KWh?

      • Spain has no oil or gas, and very little low quality coal. This makes us nearly 100% dependent for fossil fuels. There is a little bit of Uranium, but we have to buy also most of it. Gas comes mainly from Algeria which is a country with very little stability. Fossil fuels have been subjected previously to huge price variations. That they are cheaper now does not mean they will be cheaper in the future.
        It is not wise to be 100% dependent for our national energetic needs from other countries. Having a varied energy mix makes for a more resilient country.

      • Portugal has a lot of hydropower. Why not Spain?
        And as for natural gas I recommend buying LNG from the US.

      • tty,

        Portugal has a lot of hydropower. Why not Spain?

        Portugal gets a lot of rain being at the Atlantic strip. Only the North strip of Spain has enough water. Our reservoirs are for drinking and agriculture. Last fall they were down to less than 15% and this happens every few years. When it happens we produce zero hydroelectricity.

        And as for natural gas I recommend buying LNG from the US.

        Sure, except that it is 2-3x the price of Algerian gas and only because US gas prices are right now unusually low. Shipping LNG is not cheap.

      • “Another green myth. Why would we need to rely on a single shape of wheel – square wheels have their place!”
        Agreed. I always point out that there are many places where other options besides the currently use ones exist but only fools would want them. My fool senators, when it’s not an election year, run around spouting that garbage. In election years, they are for oil and gas—when not an election year, they are handing out money like candy to wind and solar trying to destroy our economy for “all types of energy”. Seems analytical thought is an endangered species at this point.

      • Building two power supplies where one would do.
        Sounds like a good way to make sure that energy stays expensive and the poor stay poor.

    • It achieves a 55% capacity factor providing 80 GWh/year
      that is physically impossible. No solar plant can expect to exceed 50% capacity over the year, because 1/2 the time the plant is in the earth’s shadow.
      In reality even 50% cannot be achieved because much of the time the sun is at too low an angle in the sky for full production, and at other times the sun is obscured by clouds.
      Adding a storage facility such as molten salt or pumped storage can give the illusion that the plant is producing at more than 50% capacity, but in reality a large portion of the daytime output will being going into storage and significantly less coming out of storage at night due to efficiency losses.

      • ferd. I think this is a more a terminology/metrics problem than a real issue. Slippery damn things … terminology/metrics. The plant does generate power and manages to deliver some of it at night. I think that, the question should be along the line of “How does its presence on the power grid affect the overall cost and reliability of the power delivered to consumers?” If the answer is that it makes power cheaper and doesn’t make the power system less reliable, then it’s a plus. If it increases costs and/or degrades the power system, it’s a bad idea even if it somehow manages a “137% capacity factor” on paper.
        Somewhat tangentially, there are locale specific factors also. In Europe, one might pay a little in cost/reliability to minimize dependence on Russian/Middle Eastern natural gas. In Hawaii, the cost of fossil fuels lugged in from the mainland is so high that even costly solar might be preferable. On Pitcairn Island, (population about 60 — no local energy sources, virtually no money, no real way to make any money, limited maintenance skills, anything that generates electricity would likely be welcome.)

      • Molten salt stores the thermal energy in tanks to continue cycling it through heat exchangers to turn turbines after the sun goes down. Well that’s the idea anyway.
        The rub is if it is cloudy for a few days, natural gas is used to keep the salt liquid and moving, so when the sun returns to the collector, hot molten salt can once again be stored in the tanks.

      • If the plant is storing some of the energy it receives in the molten salts, then it isn’t producing 100% power when the sun is shining.

      • There is no such thing as free power. The average US home appears to require a lot more energy than the average Southern European home.

      • given how many average american homes are in far colder areas than most spanish homes ,that is not surprising javier.

      • The average European home uses less energy than the average American home because energy is so much more expensive in Europe, they can’t afford to.
        There’s also the fact that government policies have kept housing expensive so the average home in much of Europe would be considered a large walk in closet in much of the US.

    • There could be an argument made for solar to cover or cap demand on high AC days, but there wouldn’t be many situations where it wouldn’t make more sense to build a gas cycling plant which would also be available to cover failures or planned shutdowns at other plants.
      Killing two birds with one energy dollar invested instead of literally thousands of birds with millions of energy dollars. They kill animals to save nature and pretend the money we earn is play money.

    • All I know is that … prior to the ACTUAL construction of these environmental wrecking contraptions … I read multiple articles in Popular Science about what a brilliant system and design this was. All the projections indicated that soon … the earth will be covered in molten salt towers and mirror arrays … providing all the “free”, “clean”, “unlimited” power for a “clean”, “green”, “happy”, future. Of course … you will pay A LOT more for your electricity, and you will need to reduce your energy use, and learn to “do without”. Welcome to our decline. Perhaps you can set-up your own home-based bicycle-generator to power your countertop blender?

      • It’s sad that even when the greens are completely honest (Obama said your power bill would go UP), fools still fall for this “free, clean, green” crap. As I often note, we are not a bit smarter than those who bought from the sham medicine show wagons. “I want to believe” definitely applies to much of life. We imagine things are as we wish them to be. Until it’s too late…

    • Unfortunately air conditioning power requirements peaks late in the afternoon when solar is not producing much.

    • By your stated figures…
      Gemasolar: 75,000 acres (375,000 average house lots). 80 GWh/year. 25,000 households. Households served per acre 1/3.
      From public data (3 reactors, 1.4 GW capacity each)…
      Palo Verde nuclear plant: 4,000 acres (20,000 average house lots). 36,792 GWh/year. 11,497,500 households. Households served per acre 2,874.
      Which one “rapes the Earth?”

  12. what I find problematic is how far off the design estimates these plants are operating. where is the post-build analysis?
    this points to a huge engineering problem. why are the plants so far off design? This should not be happening.
    The obvious answer is that there was scientific and engineering corruption and/or political interference in the approval, funding, design and construction of these plants.
    This is no different that the Challenger disaster. There should be an independent post-build analysis to identify the problems and ensure they do not repeat in future.
    The problem is that all too often if there was corruption in the original build, then this will factor in to the post-build analysis. A hand-picked blue ribbon team of “experts” will be assigned to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the blameless. While those responsible for the mess will pocket the $$ and remain nameless.

    • So TRUE! And speaking of …
      … scientific and engineering corruption and/or political interference in the approval, funding, design and construction …
      May I refer you to Jerry Brown’s “high speed” train, which has been draining valuable taxpayer funds at an EPIC rate!

    • fredberple
      Construction Error!

      The biggest problem by far at Crescent Dunes was a leak in the hot salt storage tank discovered in late 2016. Smith explains that a giant ring, resting on pylons on the bottom of the tank, distributes the molten salt as it comes down from the receiver. While the pylons were supposed to be welded to the floor, the ring itself was designed to move as changes in temperature cause expansion or contraction. Instead, due to a construction error, it was all welded together, and temperature changes caused the bottom of the tank to buckle and leak.

  13. I know it is not a popular subject here, thought by many, who haven’t looked, to be pseudo, but LENR (cold fusion) is close to becoming commercial. Pity all that money was wasted on solar projects.
    Dr. Rossi is currently building a factory to mass produce a self contained 1 kW module, 10″x10″x8″ he hopes to have in operation in ~7 months.
    He is also working on a 10kW & 100 kW versions that are further off.

    • I think even the true believers are getting tired of the claims of Dr Rossi. Come back when he has actually done produced something.

      • Well then there is no problem – we will all be running off them in 5 years time, wont we?
        Relax and let cold fusion appear. It doesn’t need government finance since it would be massively profitable.
        According to its protagonists.

      • So, you offer as proof of Rossi’s claims, a letter you wrote to an editor, touting Rossi’s claims.

      • Alan Robertson, , my piece in the DelcoTimes was an update for a lay audience. No experiment will satisfy the the pseudo skeptics, only having reactors for sale will do that.
        Should you be interested in the demo you can watch the 6 hour video of the proceedings.

      • Quotes from the letter re. cold fusion of Rossi:
        “It is important to recognize the Nov. 24 demonstration was to provide people with the characteristics of the E-Cat QX and was not a scientific experiment whose results would allow others to replicate it.”
        So it’s not science and would not allow replication. Crackpots can make any claim without any evidence.
        “Parts of the reactor are secret so it was difficult to display everything. The measurements made were adequate to show the properties of the E-Cat QX. To ensure there was no trickery some other proprietary measurements must be made.”
        So the extraordinary cold fusion process is secret and could be a trickery in the absence of “other proprietary measurements.” Smells like fake physics.

      • As I said, there’s a lot of “I want to believe” out there and little concern with the reality of the belief.

      • I know it is a lost cause to try and persuade the skeptics to look more closely.
        You will have to wait until the end of the year to see if the factory materializes. Rossi recently stated it is small and will have an initial capacity of 100,000 units per year.

      • Great so come back in 9months and tell us all about it. The whole thing has dragged on so long everyone except you has lost interest. It will either happen or not and as we can’t get any real insight because it is all secret why discuss it. It’s a bit like discussing what secret weapons USA military has, why would you waste your time you would never know one way or the other.

      • LdB. You are wrong in several places. You are being naive if you think progress has been excessively slow. He ddoesn’t have unlimited taxpayers dollars. There were major problems to overcome to make the E-Cat reliable and controllable. After running the 3rd generation QX reactor for a year before the prototype was displayed last November. I think Rossi is being too optimistic thinking he ill have production this year. I have already written the first half of 2019 is more likely.
        Comparing it with America’s secret weapons is ludicrous. Rossi tells us a lot about what is going on and you can ask him questions, He is pretty good at answering them and will tell you when he can’t because i is secret. You don’t really expect him to tell his competitors everything do you?
        Consider how open most manufacturers are about the development of a new product.

  14. “…and only 2 of them are solar tower. \n The 2 power stations are both in the United States…” Should “power” be “tower” in the second sentence?

  15. Crescent Dunes is an economic and electrical production disaster! The idea that molten salt would be able to allow 24 hour production proved to be a complete fallacy. The Site was forced to build a gas fired power plant to keep the salt molten enough to resume operation when the sun returned in the morning. It was discovered that once the salt froze, the sun was unable to restore molten salt flow as only the salt in the top of the tower remelted, not the whole circulation system. The plan was to provide standby high peak daytime electricity to Las Vegas, but the gas fired power plant they ended up building could have provided the needs for Las Vegas without the boondoggle of the solar furnace project and at a significant savings in cost! Additionally, cloud cover has rendered ANY predictions of production goals moot. And that doesn’t include the biologic cost of flaming bird populations or flight hazards to passing aircraft. Like most Solar concepts, Solar Furnaces are not worth the cost of building and maintaining them.

      • The article describes a single 24 hour operating period close to the date of maximum yearly insolation. That fact does nothing to justify the outrageous cost or profound limitations of this idiotic project.

      • Remy – You might want to check for more RECENT data on Gemasolar. According to Torresol’s own website: Gemasolar ensures power production for 4,565 hours per year, 1.5-2 times higher than other renewable energies. At 8,760 hours per year, that’s only 52% of the time, NOT 24/7/365!

      • And at the distributed cost of 28,000 Euros, each of those homes could BUY a 15 to 25 KW Gas Generator and have enough money left over to run it for many years! And the Capital Cost does NOT include Operating and Maintenance Costs, which, when added in, would provide continuous standalone power for each of those homes for the life of the homeowner! “Green” Energy is such a Farce! Considering the amount of money being transferred, you might as well call it GREED Energy!

      • sz939 on May 5, 2018 at 11:43 am
        “And at the distributed cost of 28,000 Euros, each of those homes could BUY a 15 to 25 KW Gas Generator and have enough money left over to run it for many years! … ”
        Problem is, CO2 would attack and the world would end within a decade.

  16. “These capacity factors of 56% and 59% correspond to an annual electricity production per unit capacity (power) of 4,906 and 5,168…”
    kWh/kW (What are these weird units supposed to represent? Reduces to just hours??)
    Capacity factor =MWh produced over the year / 110 MW * 8,760 hours.
    “…nowhere to be seen even close in plants on Earth.”
    What? Well run plants heavily dispatched can’t hit 90%+ capacity factors.
    What do we have here, another Wiki “expert?”

  17. You would not invest in one of these things unless you had money to burn (someone else’s money preferably) and wanted kill a large number of passing birds by frying them to death.

    • Could you open an expensive restaurant nearby and serve crispy duck and other epicurean delights?

  18. Does this mean that the electricity produced by these technologies is at least 3 times more expensive than anticipated?

    • No, it’s subsidised, so much cheaper than coal.
      But what it does mean is the plant will never independently make a buck to pay for themself, let alone independently produce the net profits necessary to repair, update, maintain and replace the plant, in another 30 years or so.
      i.e. Not ‘renewable’.
      But provides clear indication that blackholes do in fact exist.
      If solar is your ‘future’, best emigrate to Africa for a better living standard and cheaper more reliable electron outlets.

  19. The Ivanpah plant tried to off itself in 2016, from shame I assume. It couldn’t even manage that.

  20. In Australia the Fed. Govt. ARENA org that finances renewables carried out a global survey of solar thermal last year and decided “…concentrated solar thermal (CST) technology could be a commercially viable form of dispatchable renewable energy within a decade.” Which I take translates as – “not viable now”. New South Wales is littered with failed CST experiments and if you follow my links you can see aerials of the lot.
    50MW Solar PV planned at Forbes NSW
    At Forbes Vast has just decided to go PV solar after years failing with molten salt. And while reading renewables press releases is a special form of torture my opinion is that as I write the Australian Fed. Govt. has pulled significant financing from the Port Augusta venture into taxpayers pockets, probably due to ARENA cold feet.

  21. Does the sun shine at night over there? Greater than 50% capacity factor is not possible without redefining what capacity factor means. Sounds like the IPCC playbook in action.

    • Yes it does shine at night, it just bounces off the moon, but only for a part of the month, so there are some efficiency losses, but these are predictable, so can adjust and compensate with ease.
      Plus we have baseload candle technology to back it up, which works particularly well when wind turbines don’t. Candles are primative hydrocarbons though so these may be banned by 2025, to save the world. But we’ll figure that out. Bio-luminescence looks promising, but catching fire flies is tough work, plus they’re intermittent and seasonal, plus don’t live long. Alternately, burning dried kangaroo scat is more liikely to provide a holistic natural continent wide solution.

  22. Solar CST and all manner of other renewable diversions are the result of lobbying efforts to divert energy policy away from competitive bid utility scale PV.
    You should go visit one of these sites yourself. This one at Springer NM had two employees and one of them was remotely managing several other sites in the that state from there.
    some better ideas….and no dead birds, just a lot of antelope

  23. If you want expensive electricity and hate birds, the solar Death Ray is the answer. Concentrated solar power was invented by Archimedes in 214 BC to burn invading Roman ships. Now they burn the birds!

  24. After the results (published widely) of the Ivanpah Power plant in CA, that anyone in their right mind would want to build another is beyond me. Just ask Google.

  25. I have a neighbor who recently put in a PV panel system in their back yard. They face south, and have the panels behind the house in a wooded area. Their CF is like 5% or less. Good salesman overcame science. Typical…

  26. I don’t give a toss about 30% of energy capacity. I want power 24/7 and so does everyone else on the planet.

  27. To underline the comments of others … A complete re-write is in order.

  28. I want to believe, I want to believe, I want to believe, I want to believe….Ah, it’s never going to work. I simply cannot be that gullible, no matter how hard I try…..

  29. Compare this with the stunning advances after the wright brothers, in aviation without subsidies

  30. Isn’t the production capacity based on available sunlight and not a 24 hour day?
    When comparing apples to apples ie, solar vs gas powered or nuclear for 24 hour production, solar falls woefully short.
    Regarding molten salt to provide 24hr power, you lose a significant portion of available power just to heat the salt so that you can have power at night. Just another lose-lose make solar look less bad than it really is.

  31. Amazing they can miscalculate so badly. It is well known where the Sun is, and the insulation, mirrors and the receptor should be known technical parts. I would never rely on a rocket design done by such engineers.

    • “Renewables” are mostly fossil fuel users, with an intermittent component added for fun.
      “Renewable subsidies” = subtle fossil fuel use subsidies

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