Let’s see now. The controversial Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, financed with $1.5 billion in federal loans, using sunlight reflected from 170,000 mirrors to heat boilers atop 450-foot-high towers, received on average $200 per megawatt-hour during summer months and $135 for the rest of the year but is likely to go bust.
Meanwhile, PG&E pays $57 per megawatt-hour for power generated by more conventional solar plants, and $35 per megawatt-hour for power generated by natural gas plants. And PG&E says, “Continuing the delivery of [renewable] energy from these innovative energy facilities is in the interest of all parties and furthers important state and federal policy goals.” All parties? How about electricity consumers? (Not to mention the thousands of fried birds.)
Don’t miss this takeaway: the cost of delivering electricity from conventional solar is 63% higher than from natural gas—and from Ivanpah’s system, 285% to 471% higher.
And defenders of renewables think they can compete economically with fossil fuels for large-scale, dispatchable, instant-on-demand, reliable electricity provision?