Wired: A Huge Solar Plant Caught On Fire. And That's the Least of Its Problems
Ivanpah, the world's largest solar plant, is a glittering sea of mirrors, concentrating sunlight into three glowing towers. It is a futuristic vision rising out of the Mojave Desert. But from the day the plant opened for business in 2014, critics have said the technology at Ivanpah is outdated and too finicky to maintain.
The latest problem? A fire at one of the plant’s three towers on Thursday, which left metal pipes scorched and melted. As the plant dealt with engineering hiccups, Ivanpah initially struggled to fulfill its electricity contract, and it would have had to shut down if the California Public Utilities Commission didn’t throw it a bone this past March.
Financial Times: European Utilities Slash Asset Valuations
European utilities wrote off a record amount of value from their assets last year, new figures show, bringing the total cost of impairments to more than €100B in the past six years.
Data compiled by analysts at Jefferies show that 12 of Europe’s biggest energy companies had to reduce the value of their assets -- many of them power stations -- by just over €30B in 2015.
This brings the total value of writedowns in the sector to €104B since the beginning of 2010 -- the cost of building the new U.K. nuclear power station at Hinkley Point nearly five times over.
Christian Science Monitor: Lake Mead Drops to Record Low
Extended droughts have shrunk the country's largest reservoir to an all-time low, and leaders in the West's water planning say the area's water users must shift how they view their most valuable resource.
“California and the rest of the West are now at a point where they really can’t dismiss ideas that once would have been considered downright silly,” Rich Golb, former president of the Northern California Water Association, and now a Vancouver-based water consultant for PacificComm, LLC, told The Christian Science Monitor.
RenewEconomy: Enphase Says Battery Storage Orders Well Ahead of Targets
U.S. solar inverter and battery storage products company Enphase Energy says orders for the its first battery storage products are running at double its own targets, indicating huge interest in the “early adopter” market that will flow through to the broader market, just as rooftop solar has done over the last few years.
Enphase Energy has chosen Australia as the first market to launch its modular battery storage products -- which is based on a “stackable” 1.2kWh module.
“The initial response has been very strong,” president and CEO Paul Nahi told RenewEconomy during a visit to Australia last week.
Bloomberg: OPEC Set for Another Meeting With No Deal After Doha Failure
After failing to reach an accord on oil supply in Doha last month, OPEC is poised to go another meeting with no agreement on how much crude to produce.
All but one of 27 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won’t set an output target on June 2, as it sticks with Saudi Arabia’s strategy to squeeze out rivals including U.S. shale drillers by pumping near-record volumes. An accord on an output cap with non-members such as Russia collapsed in Doha last month when Saudi officials insisted Iran would need to take part.