Rick Perry Masks Concentrating Solar Power Plot With More Weird Words

Clean Power

Published on November fifth, 2017 |
by Tina Casey

November fifth, 2017 by Tina Casey 

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been within the information — once more — for making laughable feedback about fossil fuels and local weather change — and badual violence, in addition. Yes, maybe he actually is simply that dumb. However, whereas everyone seems to be pointing and laughing at Secretary Perry, his company simply pushed out a brand new article that maps the way in which for solar energy to push coal and nuclear power out of the image.

If intentional, Perry has simply pulled off one other squirrel trick — dangling shiny pro-coal rhetoric in entrance of President* Trump whereas the Energy Department goes about its renewable power mission, full steam forward.

Photo: Crescent Dunes concentrating solar energy plant by way of US Department of Energy.

Why Concentrating Solar Power?

The new article appeared on the Energy Department’s web site on November three below the title, “Concentrating Solar Power Could Provide the Flexibility and Reliability the U.S. Electric Grid Needs.”


For these of you new to the subject, concentrating solar energy crops acquire photo voltaic power from sprawling fields of heliostats (specialised mirrors) or troughs, and focus it on a narrower subject situated on the high of a tower. Here’s a fast explainer from the article:

“This receiver contains a heat transfer fluid that’s heated to around 565 degrees Celsius and then circulated throughout the system to drive a power cycle that generates electricity.”

Power cycle is fancyspeak for utilizing warmth to generate steam, which powers a turbine to supply electrical energy. Because warmth is the first product of concentrating solar energy crops, they’ll additionally double as giant power storage amenities. All you want is an array of storage tanks to carry the recent fluid for some time.

The storage angle offers two benefits: the photo voltaic power retains working with out daylight, and the plant can shortly reply to adjustments in electrical energy demand.

Why Not Coal?

Here’s the place it will get fascinating. In April, Perry touched off a firestorm by ordering up a brand new grid examine that appeared frontloaded in favor of coal. A leaked model of the examine dropped a number of vital hints indicating a renewable power future for the USA, however the closing report did present Perry with leverage to suggest new protections for the nation’s remaining typical coal and nuclear energy crops.

Perry argues that these “baseload” crops are important for grid reliability. However, the brand new Energy Department article knocks the baseload protection apart by underscoring the power storage benefits of concentrating solar energy:

“… one 50-megawatt (MW) CSP plant can be configured as a type of peaker plant with less than six hours’ worth of energy storage. This plant can be used to supplement baseload generation when there’s a sudden, high spike in energy demand. That same plant can also be used with more than 12 hours of storage and a much larger mirror field to generate baseload power—allowing the plant to provide solar electricity throughout the day and night.”


Elaborating additional, the Energy Department factors out that concentrating solar energy crops deploy typical generators to generate electrical energy. These generators spin continually, which means the plant can act similar to every other typical “spinning reserve” to make sure grid reliability and stability.

No, Really, Why Not Coal?

Perry’s proposed rule is designed to guard coal and nuclear energy crops by stipulating badist for energy crops that may show a 90-day provide readily available. However, the brand new article additionally swats that argument apart:

“One of the biggest advantages of CSP is its reliability as an energy source and predictable costs. Unlike conventional fuels, there’s nothing to mine, ship, burn, or store as waste; there’s an abundant, unending supply of sunshine.”

The Energy Department additionally takes a swipe at coal and nuclear on backside line phrases:

“Because the ‘fuel’ is free, costs are predictable over the lifetime of a plant operation and its maintenance costs. In addition, more than 60% of the cost to operate a CSP power plant happens in the first year, enabling investors to have a better long-term understanding of costs and the return on their investment.”

So, What’s Up With Rick Perry?

Regardless of what Rick Perry says about local weather change and fossil fuels, the brand new article factors out that the Energy Department is transferring full pace forward with the objective of lowering the price of concentrating solar energy crops.

The company is a fast deployment situation that may allow the alternative of retired coal and/or nuclear energy crops with photo voltaic:

“Solar Dynamics, for example, is already investigating the feasibility of a modular, molten-salt tower peaker plant that can be easily replicated and rapidly deployed in 24 months or less.”

The article additionally describes the Energy Department’s aggressive value targets for each small- and large-scale concentrating solar energy crops, and reaffirms its dedication to “help the solar industry stay on pace as competitive funding opportunities focus on rapid development.”

In that regard, the article slips in a fast reference to the Energy Department’s newest funding initiative for concentrating photo voltaic. Dubbed Generation three CSP Systems, the initiative isn’t any small potatoes. Up to $62 million in funding will go to a dozen or so initiatives geared toward taking cutting-edge lab scale expertise to the following stage.

As for Perry’s newest feedback, on the plus aspect, he has been aggressively selling his company’s renewable power mission nonstop, particularly in terms of wind energy. A kernel of fact generally sticks in his tooth when he talks about local weather change.

Perry has an terrible legacy on ladies’s well being as the previous governor of Texas, however that factor he mentioned about fossil fuels and badual violence isn’t too removed from the consensus. Just sub in solar energy for fossil fuels and also you get this from the Rocky Mountain Institute:

“Electric light, through solar-powered streetlights, can also improve women’s safety and ability to participate in nighttime activities such as meetings and clbades. Studies show the incidence of rape and violent crimes against women decreases greatly with the addition of streetlights. bad was rampant in the camps for families displaced after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. But when solar-powered lights were introduced into the camps, the number of rape cases per week fell from 57 to 2 in just one week.”

Here’s a pleasant photo voltaic undertaking financed by USAID illustrating the purpose:

“… For years, the residents of Baidoa, a metropolis in Somalia situated 140 miles northwest of Mogadishu, couldn’t stroll the streets at night time. Businesses closed at 6:00 p.m. and other people locked themselves up of their houses from concern.

“‘Women could not walk anywhere because of the possibility of rape, robbery or killings by local gangs,’ says Amina Hussein Haji, a neighborhood resident.

“When USAID supported the local government with the installation of 27 solar streetlights on the main street in Baidoa, life for residents changed overnight. As in many other cities in Somalia, residents are now doing business and socializing on the streets after sunset.”

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*As of this writing.

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Tags: DOE, rick perry

About the Author

Tina Casey makes a speciality of navy and company sustainability, superior expertise, rising supplies, biofuels, and water and wastewater points. Tina’s articles are reposted often on Reuters, Scientific American, and plenty of different websites. Views expressed are her personal. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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