Pilots Say Glare from Ivanpah Solar Plant is Blinding Them
March 19, 2014 8:36 AM
comment(s) - last by
It's unclear what, if anything can be done
The largest thermal solar electricity plant in the world went live this year in the U.S. The $2.2 billion
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System
is located on the California Nevada Border and has already come under fire for killing birds. The intense heat from the solar plant has literally scorched birds in mid-flight.
Airline pilots are now complaining that they are being blinded by the intense sunlight that reflects off the 340,000 mirrors used at the plant. While the aircraft are flying far enough above the towers and mirrors that heat isn't an issue, the glare is a problem.
One pilot of a small aircraft filed a report with the
Aviation Safety Reporting System
From the pilot’s seat of my aircraft the brightness was like looking into the sun. In my opinion, the reflection from these mirrors was a hazard to flight because for a brief time I could not scan the sky in that direction to look for other aircraft.
One FAA air traffic controller working in southern California added, "Daily, during the late morning and early afternoon hours we get complaints from pilots of aircraft flying from the northeast to the southwest about the brightness of this solar farm."
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System
Perhaps the most unsettling part of these reports is that it took months for them to reach the California Energy Commission that oversees Ivanpah. The reports were filed in August 2013 and didn’t reach the CEC until March 10, 2014.
“What I can tell you right now is that we take these concerns seriously,” Jeff Holland, a spokesman for NRG Energy, which is operating Ivanpah said. He noted, "We will respond to—and address—these reports in the coming days in accordance with conditions of our permits."
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RE: Sci-fi thoughts
3/19/2014 9:47:39 PM
Mirrors are kinda overkill when white paint would be nearly as effective and much cheaper. Black actually doesn't absorb heat like conventional wisdom says. It acts more like a heat conductor - it both absorbs
heat more rapidly. So during the day (when the outside his hotter), a black roof helps transfer heat from outside to inside. But during the night (when the outside is cooler), a black roof just hastens the heat loss into the night sky.
White acts like a heat insulator. So for the same reason an insulated house uses less energy than an uninsulated house, in most cases white is a better color choice than black/slate/grey. The only better choice would be a roof which changes color from black to white depending on the inside vs outside temperature.
The story is when Obama asked Steven Chu (Secretary of Energy until 2013) what's the best way for the country to save energy, Chu replied we should paint our roofs white. Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. He knows what he's talking about. I'm almost certain that Obama's reserved reaction to the Fukushima disaster was because Chu convinced him that nuclear energy would be crucial to help wean us off of fossil fuels.
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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