Energy Environment Science Technology

This Is What Freedom Looks Like

Here comes the sun

“Take 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. Control them with computers to focus the Sun’s light to the top of 459-foot towers, where water is turned into steam to power turbines…”

Photo by Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

Photo by Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images


Official press release:

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is now operational and delivering solar electricity to California customers. At full capacity, the facility’s trio of 450-foot high towers produces a gross total of 392 megawatts (MW) of solar power, enough electricity to provide 140,000 California homes with clean energy and avoid 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, equal to removing 72,000 vehicles off the road.

It’s an engineering marvel. Like a solar powered drum circle playing to the universe.

It’s just too bad that a cheap, clean, infinite source of energy is for suckers, babe.


Oil Spills For Freedom Coal Jobs!

  • Churchlady320

    Five square miles covered with solar panels? Not at ALL environmentally friendly. We need to start challenging the long line transit of power. Every home could be fitted with photovoltaic panels to create both electricity and heat and save the desert and all other lands these monstrous contraptions cover. Why are we letting corporations drive this discussion?

    • West_of_the_Cascades

      Exactly. Ivanpah also fries bird — just wait until you hear the stories about dead eagles come out within six months. Distributed photovoltaic generation (residential roofs and every commercial roof available) is the only truly sustainable renewable energy. Ivanpah is far from being “green” given its unacceptable impacts to the desert and the species that live there.

  • Christopher Foxx

    where water is turned into steam to power turbines…?

    I’m not an electrical engineer so I don’t know what else you might do, but it always surprises me that no matter how high tech we might get (computer controlling a third of a million mirrors to capture sunlight, harnessing the power of the atoms, etc) it always comes down to making a giant tea kettle.

    Boil water to turn a turbine, just like we’ve done for ages.

  • Badgerite

    I have frequently thought, while looking at the coal powered plant that provides my electricity, there just has to be a better way to spin a turbine. That is what we are talking about. A practical way to spin the turbine to provide the electricity. The country sent a man to the moon with all of the technical difficulties that that entailed. Please don’t tell me that it cannot figure out a clean, sustainable, renewable way to spin a turbine and make it go fast. Obviously, it is doable.

  • Draxiar

    See this, oil mongers? It CAN be done. Now you can kindly go fuck yourselves for poisoning this planet and refuting science.

  • muselet

    The only problem I have with the Ivanpah facility is that it was built on desert tortoise habitat. A project like this has to go somewhere, I know, but there are less sensitive areas in the same general area.

    Still better than a conventional power plant, though, and by a lot.


  • Ned F

    And one guy with a roll of paper towels and a bottle of windex.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Yeah, but cheap, clean, unlimited electricity can’t give you the Freedom(TM) that comes from being able to decide for yourself if the chemicals contaminating your well water are safe to drink!