Why did Goldman Sachs and Google need $1.6 Billion of our tax dollars to build a solar oven that makes energy at six times higher cost than any other technology and kills birds? Cuz, they don’t have any money of their own, right?
Tax write-off scam or what? What is the connection between BrightSource and Steven Chu? Kickbacks?
Though Ivanpah is an engineering marvel, experts doubt more plants like it will be built in California. Other solar technologies are now far cheaper than solar thermal, federal guarantees for renewable energy projects have dried up, and natural gas-fired plants are much cheaper to build. This bird-killing, tortoise squashing, fire-starting, non-producing mirror-trick has both smoke AND mirrors!
From a distance, the mirrors – known as heliostats – look like a pristine lake rising from the desert. Ivanpah, about four times larger than New York City’s Central Park, can even be seen from the International Space Station.
The Ivanpah plant was partially backed by a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, the same controversial program that supported failed solar panel maker Solyndra.
The opening of the Ivanpah plant marks a big step in federal and state renewable energy efforts, but government funds for such projects under President Barack Obama have been largely tapped out.
That means the private sector must fill the gap at a time when building a natural-gas fired power plant costs about $1,000 per megawatt, a fraction of the $5,500 per megawatt that Ivanpah cost.
Those numbers are when Ivanpah is running full blast, so far it has been broken and barely works so the numbers are even worse. Back at the start of the project, the Brightsource CEO is on record saying that Ivanpah would “make the cheapest energy in the country”. DOE engineers said they checked all of the numbers and it was “true”. Funny thing, these were the same exact DOE engineers who did the pretend “due diligence” on SOLYNDRA!
“Our job was to kickstart the demonstration of these different technologies,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an interview high up on one of the plant’s three towers. Solyndra was a great demonstration. Ivanpah is said to make Solyndra pale in comparison.
Ivanpah developer BrightSource Energy Inc has failed to secure a permit for any other solar thermal projects in California in part due to environmental concerns, including fears that the intense heat and energy around its plants would harm or kill desert birds.
Ivanpah is jointly owned by privately-held BrightSource, power plant owner NRG Energy Inc and Google Inc.
Late last year, Oakland-based BrightSource said it would focus increasingly on markets outside the United States and in using its technology for industrial applications like enhanced oil recovery, desalination and augmenting existing fossil fuel power plants. The market for solar thermal power will reach 30 gigawatts globally by 2020, up from 2.5 GW at the end of 2012, BrightSource said at the time.
“We will have failed as a company if the last project we build is Ivanpah,” BrightSource CEO David Ramm said at the plant’s opening.
BrightSource is more than 20 percent owned by French power equipment maker Alstom SA. Other investors include venture capital firms VantagePoint Capital Partners and DBL Investors, Goldman Sachs Inc GS.N, Chevron Technology Ventures and BP Ventures (the Gulf Oil Spill Guys).
DG- LATimes- DFG- FL.org (Ref. data: Reuters)
House GOP’s Energy Dept. loan probe could ensnare two Cabinet secretaries
By Andrew Restuccia –
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants to hear from two Cabinet officials — Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Energy Secretary Steven Chu — as part of an investigation into the Energy Department’s loan program.
Republicans alleged at a hearing Wednesday that Bryson, while chairman of BrightSource Energy, planned to lobby the White House for speedy finalization of a $1.6 billion loan guarantee for the Ivanpah solar generation project in California.
Issa told The Hill on Wednesday that he plans to invite Bryson and Chu to an upcoming hearing on the BrightSource loan.
“As a matter of fact, we’re going to ask Secretary Bryson to come to the committee for his direct lobby effort of the White House,” he said.
Committee Republicans released a March 7, 2011, email from BrightSource President John Woolard to Jonathan Silver, then director of the Energy Department’s loan program.
Woolard shared with Silver a draft version of a letter from Bryson to then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley calling for finalization of the company’s loan guarantee for Ivanpah, a huge solar power plant being constructed in California’s Mojave Desert.
“I have a fairly significant challenge for the administration that I would like to bring to your attention. The White House needs to focus on finalizing the loan guarantee for what would be the largest solar thermal project in the world,” Bryson said in the draft letter.
The letter — which was never sent — notes that the White House “has been a strong supporter of the project,” pointing to a weekend radio address in which the president mentioned Ivanpah.
Woolard said at a committee hearing Wednesday that the draft Bryson email to Daley was never sent because the company “decided that it was not appropriate,” Bloomberg reported.
In addition, Committee Republicans highlighted a January 2010 email from Woolard to Matt Rogers, who was then advising Energy Secretary Steven Chu on stimulus law programs.
The message said that Peter Darbee, who was then CEO of power giant PG&E, had talked to Obama about the loan program’s “challenges” with finalizing loan guarantees.
“Clearly we have a discovery of emails showing there was direct conversation intended by the people having those conversations to be lobbying all the way up to and including President Obama,” Issa told The Hill.
The committee chairman also confirmed that he plans to invite Chu to testify on the loan program, pointing to an “inconsistency” in the secretary’s testimony before the panel in March.
An Issa spokesman pointed to two statements Chu made at the hearing. At the time, Chu said that Bryon’s position at BrightSource had no influence on the department’s decision to grant a loan guarantee to the company. Chu also said that White House officials did not call him to discuss the companies that were eligible for the loan guarantees.
Issa said he hopes Chu can “set the record straight.”
Republicans have been investigating the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program for more than a year. The probe gained traction last year when Solyndra, the solar company that received a $539 million loan guarantee in 2009, went bankrupt.
GOP lawmakers have alleged that the administration did not adequately oversee the program and officials doled out loans to companies that were friendly to the White House.
A year-long investigation of the Solyndra loan guarantee conducted by House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans has found no evidence of political influence. But the probe has uncovered a number of details that could prove uncomfortable or politically damaging to the White House, including that administration officials questioned the wisdom of issuing the loan guarantee.
Chu has been a consistent target of GOP criticism of the loan program, appearing before Congress at several hearings. But the Cabinet secretary has strongly rejected Republican criticism of the loan program, arguing it is essential to boost projects that might not otherwise receive private-sector financing.
The Energy Department finalized the $1.6 billion BrightSource loan guarantee in April of 2011.
—Ben Geman contributed to this story.
Is $1B missing from the Ivanpah Project?
While Ivanpah may look all shiny and sparkly, it is just a bunch of mirrors pointing at a tower. All of the labor, engineering and materials to build it, at the most inflated rates, would cost $1B according to engineering firms.
So why was $2.4B expended on it?
Is over $1B missing in kickbacks from padded costs? Not to worry, it was only taxpayer money!
After all, Goldman Sachs gave the project “discounts” because it was “green”: They only billed $12,000.00 per hour instead of $18,000.00 per hour for word processing spreadsheets. What a bunch of givers!
You can check the numbers yourself. Go to any 3 web search engines and type in:
“build your own Heliostat”. Then look at all of the thousands of people that have built them and their VERY LOW COSTS. Then scale up their costs per GigaWatt to the Ivanpah intended output. You will rapidly see that something is wrong. Even if you used 24K gold screws to build your own, the Ivanpah build is totally padded out.
Who’s pocket is the missing $1B in?
Ivanpah has 79% downtime. Barely works. Money Blown?
On Friday, ReWire reported on a confusing contradiction concerning the world’s largest concentrating solar project in the Mojave Desert. Though press reports indicated the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System went online, figures from the state’s grid operator showed that California’a solar thermal power plants generated almost no power during the month of January.
Today, we can report that documents from the California Independent System Operator (CaISO,) which runs most of the state’s grid, may shed some light on the apparent discrepancy. While the Ivanpah Project was indeed scheduled to go online on December 30, the project spent the entire month of January with at least one of its units going through unplanned downtime every single day.
To sum up daily reports on the state’s power plants’ operational status filed by CaISO, the Ivanpah project essentially went from planned to unplanned outage status rather than going online.
The daily reports, with the cumbersome title Curtailed and Non-Operational Generating Units in California, are filed each day at 3:15 in the afternoon. They list which of California’s 1,000-plus power plants are offline at the time of the report.
It’s important to note that listing on the report doesn’t necessarily mean the plant in question was down all day: a brief outage running from 2:30 to 4:00 in the afternoon would put a power plant on the list, even though it might have been producing power just fine for the other 22.5 hours that day.
That said, 3:15 p.m. is right in the middle of the potential peak output for a concentrating solar thermal plant like Ivanpah, so even a transitory outage on one day is something operators would likely rather avoid.
And having a string of days with outages during that peak solar time would seem to indicate a serious problem indeed.
Th controversial Ivanpah plant, built over the last three years on about 4,000 acres of public land near the Mojave National Preserve, uses hundreds of thousands of billboard-sized mirrored heliostats to focus solar energy on boilers atop three 450-foot towers. Probably unsurprisingly for new technology, the plant has been plagued by problems ranging from a surprising number of Threatened desert tortoises on the site, to apparent solar flux injury to migrating birds, to a series of small fires that broke out when operators first aimed heliostats at the towers.
Now that the project’s completed, with a formal opening ceremony scheduled for the second week in February, the project has almost inadvertently been designated as an experimental solar flux wildlife laboratory. Designer BrightSource Energy has asked the California energy Commission to suspend hearings on its larger Palen Solar Electric Generating System until data on wildlife injuries from Ivanpah can be collected and analyzed.
But if CaISO’s outage reports are any indication, that data may be harder to gather than anticipated. According to those reports, there were only two days during the month of January where the project had two of its units apparently online at 3:15 p.m. Unit 1, the first of the project’s three units to be completed, was offline at 3:15 every day in January, but on January 12 and 16 it was the only unit going through an unplanned outage. Unit 2 was online at 3:15 on five days in January, and offline on the remaining 26, Unit 3 had the best record for January, with eight days in which it wasn’t reportedly offline at 3:15 p.m.
That works out to an effective 79 percent downtime rate for the plant as a whole, as reflected in the CaISO outage reports.
CaISO doesn’t gather or provide information to explain any plant’s particular outage, and plant operator NRG has still not responded to our information requests. A description of the duration and cause of the reported outages may be forthcoming in the January Monthly Compliance Report for the project, which Ivanpah’s operators should be filing with the California Energy Commission sometime in February. Whether that report details routine glitches of the kind you’d expect in a newly built plant, or something deeper, it should prove interesting reading.
SEE LA TIMES report on BrightSource falsehoods
Jul 6, 2012 … SolarReserve is only the first chapter in our green-energy crony-corruption story. The next is BrightSource Energy. Like SolarReserve, the …
May 16, 2012 … BREAKING: BrightSource Energy Political Influence and Their $1.6 Billion …. This is more evidence that cronyism and corruption are the driving …
Jul 6, 2012 … SolarReserve is only the first chapter in our green-energy crony-corruption story. The next is BrightSource Energy. Like SolarReserve, the …
May 17, 2012 … Emails revealed during the hearing are the tip of the iceberg in a corrupt federal funding process that first came under congressional scrutiny …
Feb 24, 2010 … BrightSource Energy, Inc has received $1.37 billion in loan … corruption, favoritism and rigged contracts were the rule and not the exception.
Apr 30, 2012 … “The “Special Solar Seven” are Abengoa Solar, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, Ormat Nevada, SolarReserve, BrightSource Energy, …
Sep 28, 2011 … Let’s take a look at the latest company, BrightSource Energy, that is coming … The Tangled Web of Criminality and Corruption will be evident.
Sustainability and social responsibility – CSR policies at Brightsource …… The company will uphold laws relevant to countering bribery and corruption in all the …
Sep 5, 2012 … Maxine Waters about purported corruption related to President Obama’s … BrightSource received a $1.37 billion federal loan guarantee, the …
May 29, 2012 … Of course, the line between cronyism and outright corruption is a fine one, … He also served on the boards of BrightSource and KKR, two …
Apr 12, 2012 … Why did BrightSource Energy nix its IPO plan and did it so last minute on … The IPO was cancelled because it would have become a corruption …
Apr 22, 2011 … BrightSource Energy, the California solar power plant builder backed by Google, Morgan Stanley and … More Obama Green Energy Corruption …
Nov 11, 2012 … Lobbying White House and VP’s Office Achieves Results: Officials at the Department of Interior remove obstacles to BrightSource Energy’s …
Nov 30, 2011 … Kennedy never disputes that Brightsource got the money, nor that a former Principal at his firm, Sanjay Wagle, was a fundraiser for Obama and …
Apr 9, 2013 … Shearman & Sterling is representing Abengoa Solar LLC (the US solar development arm of Spanish contracting giant Abengoa S.A.) in its joint …
Nov 16, 2011 … The details of how BrightSource managed to land its ten-figure taxpayer bailout have yet to emerge fully. … Chicago Corruption at it’s finest.
Oct 26, 2012 … The CPUC rejected three other BrightSource contracts as too expensive. ….. up impeachment papers for this corruption and abuse of power?
Jul 13, 2012 … Part III of Obama’s Green-Energy, Crony-Corruption Story, The Special … Last week, we exposed BrightSource Energy that received a $1.6 …
Jun 27, 2012 … asked a recent Los Angeles Times piece about the BrightSource Energy ….. the goals of this program,” and sees a massive corrupt conspiracy.
Apr 18, 2012 … Last week, thermal solar company BrightSource canceled its Initial … so why haven’t we seen reports of corruption and abuse from that era?
Jan 22, 2014… including BrightSource Energy, Nevada Geothermal, Ormat Nevada and … Allegations of corruption in these cases are easily brushed aside …
Apr 3, 2013 … LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – BrightSource Energy Inc has shelved a major solar … Spanish princess questioned in corruption investigation.
Feb 8, 2013 … If you’ve been following any of my Green Corruption stories, since … piece of this Green Corruption scandal –– who was BrightSource Energy’s …
Dec 9, 2013 … Additionally, the then-CEO of BrightSource energy—which … Reid’s role in the green-energy, crony-corruption story is illustrative of the election …
Aug 5, 2011 … Today, Todd Woddy reports, in Forbes, that BrightSource Files To Build ….. corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and …
Sep 10, 2009 … BrightSource Energy Inc. has selected Bechtel as the engineering, procurement and … The corruption in this country will just never stop.
Sep 23, 2010 … BrightSource Energy’s controversial Ivanpah solar project is rounding the … Politicians have given enough money to banks for greedy corrupt …
Aug 8, 2010 … Green energy superstar BrightSource Energy notch. … a level of corruption and the decadence that nurtures it that is suicidal to US prospects, …
Nov 17, 2011 … The details of how BrightSource managed to land its ten-figure taxpayer … Marsha Blackburn beats up Al Gore on cap and trade corruption …
Jul 30, 2013 … BrightSource Ivanpah, who many consider to be the flagship of the …. corporations and worthless corrupt government officials at all levels.
Aug 30, 2011 … Got out to Brightsource‘s Ivanpah energy project yesterday, just near … Sochi Winter Olympics: Games expose Indian corruption, redemption.
Sep 16, 2013 … The letter he referenced was never sent, but Brightsource did receive a $1.6 billion … Accomplishments report-corruption.jpg Donate to NLPC …
Sep 20, 2011 … But the BrightSource deal is also not for the faint-hearted. … losers… we see that as a backdoor easy way to end up with government corruption.
Dec 16, 2013 … (Remember, last week, I reported on the crony corruption behind the loan approval process for BrightSource‘s Ivanpah project.) Additionally …
Feb 5, 2014 … Indeed, as the EU recently indicated, Italy –all by itself– is responsible for 50% of all corruption occurring within the EU, a Union of 28 countries.
Aug 26, 2013… Chevron; Company: Chevron; Project developer: BrightSource Energy. 4 …. Confidentiality; Corrupt Acts; Economic Development Obligations …
Dec 18, 2013 … (Remember, last week, I reported on the crony corruption behind the loan approval process for BrightSource‘s Ivanpah project.) Additionally …
May 27, 2011 … Since January 1, 2008, BrightSource has sold and issued the …… Corrupt Practices Laws ” means (i) the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 …
Oct 5, 2010 … This month, in the Mojave Desert, a company called BrightSource plans to break ground on …. Brazilian corruption case banker arrested in Italy.