— Testing confirms operational readiness of world’s largest solar thermal project —
NIPTON, Calif.–Sep. 24, 2013– Today it was announced that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System produced its first output of energy when the Unit 1 station was synchronized to the power grid for the first time. Achieving this critical “first sync” is a major milestone for the project, which is jointly-owned by NRG Energy, Inc., BrightSource Energy, Inc. and Google.
Ivanpah First Sync (Photo: Business Wire)
This successful test demonstrates the effectiveness of the station’s power tower technology, which includes large heliostats that track the sun throughout the day, solar field integration software and a solar receiver steam generator.
“Given the magnitude and complexity of Ivanpah, it was very important that we successfully complete this milestone showing all systems were on track,” said Tom Doyle, President of NRG Solar. “We couldn’t be more excited about achieving ‘first sync,’ and we share this success with our project partners, BrightSource and Google, as well as Bechtel, which is responsible for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning on the project.”
Power generated from Ivanpah’s initial sync testing will go to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), which has a power purchase agreement (PPA) for energy produced out of the plant’s Unit 1 station. Power generated from Ivanpah’s Unit 3 station is also sold under a PPA with PG&E, while Unit 2 is under a PPA with Southern California Edison. Proof-of-concept testing will also be conducted at Unit 2 and 3 in the coming months.
“This is yet another major milestone that we have successfully achieved as Ivanpah approaches completion,” said David Ramm, Executive Chairman of BrightSource Energy, Inc. “Ivanpah is the showcase project for BrightSource’s power tower technology and technical expertise. Validation at this scale demonstrates the viability of our technology as BrightSource increases focus on international markets and applications for concentrating solar power.”
“The achievement of this major milestone was possible through the tireless efforts of the entire project team – from the craft to the field engineers and technical experts,” said Toby Seay, President of Bechtel’s power global business unit. “With the cooperation of Ivanpah’s owners, we have been able to bring to life a world-class solar project that will help California meet its renewable energy goals safely and effectively.”
“At Google we invest in renewable energy projects that have the potential to transform the energy landscape. Ivanpah is one of those projects,” said Rick Needham, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Google. “We’re excited about the project achieving this first sync – a landmark event along the path to completion. Congratulations to the many people who have worked so hard to get this far.”
Located in California’s Mojave Desert, Ivanpah is the largest solar thermal plant in the world, spanning 3,500 acres of public land. Once fully operational, the 392 megawatt (377 megawatt net) plant will generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes annually. Ivanpah’s three power tower units will also nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal energy capacity now operating in the United States.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is one of several NRG assets that are subject to a Right of First Offer Agreement between NRG Energy Inc., and the newly-created NRG Yield, Inc. (NYSE: NYLD).
About NRG and NRG Solar
NRG is leading a customer-driven change in the U.S. energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices, while building on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive power portfolio. A Fortune 500 company, we create value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. Our retail electricity providers – Reliant, Green Mountain Energy and NRG Residential Solutions – serve millions of residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.
NRG, through its subsidiaries including NRG Solar LLC, has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects in operation, under construction or in development across the southwestern United States. More information is available at www.nrgsolar.com. Connect with NRG Solar on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgsolar.
About BrightSource Energy, Inc.
BrightSource Energy, Inc. provides the world’s premier solar field technology for concentrating solar power systems to deliver reliable clean energy to utilities and industrial companies. For more information on BrightSource Energy please visit www.BrightSourceEnergy.com.
About Google Inc.
Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.
Bechtel is among the most respected engineering, project management, and construction companies in the world. We stand apart for our ability to get the job done right—no matter how big, how complex, or how remote. Bechtel operates through five global business units that specialize in civil infrastructure; power generation, communications, and transmission; mining and metals; oil, gas, and chemicals; and government services. Since its founding in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 22,000 projects in 140 countries on all seven continents. Today, our 53,000 employees team with customers, partners, and suppliers on diverse projects in nearly 50 countries. For more information about Bechtel visit www.bechtel.com.
NRG Safe Harbor Disclosure
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions and include NRG’s expectations regarding the Company’s Ivanpah solar project and forward-looking statements typically can be identified by the use of words such as “will,” “expect,” “believe,” and similar terms. Although NRG believes that its expectations are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual results may vary materially. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated above include, among others, general economic conditions, hazards customary in the power industry, competition in wholesale power markets, the volatility of energy and fuel prices, failure of customers to perform under contracts, changes in the wholesale power markets, changes in government regulation of markets and of environmental emissions, and our ability to achieve the expected benefits and timing of our solar projects. NRG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The foregoing review of factors that could cause NRG’s actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements included in this news release should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect NRG’s future results included in NRG’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20130924005388/en/
Source: NRG Energy, Inc.
Jeff Holland, 760-710-3828
Chad Plotkin, 609-524-4526
Jared Blanton, 510-250-8822
A new tour of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System brings the world’s largest solar thermal plant to life on the web. Called a virtual tour, it is a collection of still images stitched together to give 360° views of the 377 megawatt solar thermal power project.
To give everyone the opportunity to experience what it’s like to visit Ivanpah, visitors can explore eight landmarks at Ivanpah, including each of the project’s three towers, the solar field, and the exteriors and interiors of Heliostat Assembly and Pad Bonding Buildings, among others. The tour features images of the project under construction taken in April 2013.
“Projects like Ivanpah–and the companies that build them–are critical to establishing America’s leadership in large‑scale clean energy technology, which should help to position our economy as globally competitive over the next several decades,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar. “We think solar will play an instrumental role in the future of energy, and after taking a virtual tour of Ivanpah, we hope you better understand our perspective.”
The construction of Ivanpah is more than 92 percent complete, and the project is on track to begin delivering renewable, clean energy by the end of the year.
To view the virtual tour, click here.
Ivanpah Project Is More Than 92 Percent Complete
As the Ivanpah project nears completion, the team continues to move full steam ahead. During the months of February, March and April, more than 1,250 construction workers advanced the project to more than 92 percent complete! To date, more than 153,990 of the project’s total 173,500 heliostats have been installed. Several stunning photos below show recent progress at the site. For a slideshow of all the new photos, click here.
Ivanpah Project Begins “Steam Blows”
Photos by Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images for Bechtel.
In April, the Ivanpah team commenced “steam blows” at Unit 1. During steam blows, upwards of thousands of heliostats are focused on the solar boiler to achieve the desired temperatures, pressures and flow rates. The goal of the steam blows is to clear out any mill scale or debris inside the pipes so it does not damage the steam turbine and other balance of plant equipment once operational. A normal start-up process for any conventional power plant, steam blows are part of the “load ascension” program, which includes focusing an increasing number of heliostats onto the boiler and methodically raising the temperature and pressure of the steam produced. Learn more about steam blows here.
In the Common Area, heliostat assembly continues at a brisk pace of 500 per day in the Heliostat Assembly Building and Pad Bonding Building. More than 34,500 assemblies were completed in February-April, bringing the total number of heliostat assemblies completed to date to more than 153,990 or 89 percent. The team also began to dismantle Common Area facilities that are no longer required.
Image of Ivanpah taken in April 2013.
Unit 1 is in the foreground.
Unit 1 is more than 95 percent complete. The team achieved an important milestone in the construction of the project on April 11, when the final heliostat was installed in the Unit 1 solar field, in the area nearest the tower. With all 53,527 heliostats now installed, it improves the team’s start-up capabilities. Atop the tower, the team continued the boiler’s load ascension program to support steam blows. Once the steam blows are complete, the team will remove the temporary steam blow piping and reconnect the piping to design conditions. The next step will be for the boiler to admit steam to the steam turbine. Once the steam turbine generator is synchronized to the grid, the plant will generate electricity to the grid. As more of the plant’s systems are turned over for startup, demobilization of construction facilities at the power block is underway.
Image of first flux at Unit 2 on May 14, 2013.
On May 14, the Ivanpah team reached another major milestone in the start up of the plant when first flux was achieved at Unit 2. Solar flux is when a significant amount of sunlight is reflected off of the solar field mirrors and concentrated on a surface of the boiler. The flux slowly heated the water inside the boiler to just below the point of steam generation. Overall, Unit 2 is more than 92 percent complete. The team completed the chemical clean of the boiler’s evaporator section in March and began the restoration process in preparation for steam blows in the coming months. On the ground, the team has cleaned up the lay-down area and completed the berm. The installation of the Air Cooled Condenser (ACC) is complete, and the team successfully conducted an air test to confirm the integrity of piping and check for leaks. Insulation of the ACC’s piping and equipment, as well as electrical cable and terminations continues. In the solar field, more than 56,410 heliostats are installed. When complete, the Unit 2 solar field will feature 60,000 heliostats to produce 133 MW gross of clean electrical energy.
Unit 3 is more than 89 percent complete. In April, the team chemically cleaned the boiler in preparation for operation. In the power block, the team continues to commission various systems that support the boiler and is erecting the ACC wind protection walls. In the solar field, more than 47,700 heliostats of the unit’s 60,000 heliostats have been installed to date.
The Ivanpah project recently achieved another milestone! After putting the first flux on the boiler and creating the first steam in late February, the team recently commenced “steam blows.” During steam blows, upwards of thousands of heliostats are focused on the solar boiler to achieve the desired temperatures, pressures and flow rates.
The goal of the steam blows is to clear out any mill scale or debris inside the pipes so it does not damage the steam turbine and other balance of plant equipment once operational. Steam is then distributed to each of the predetermined blow paths, or routes of piping, and released. Targets located inside the pipes are checked to determine the cleanliness factor. The process is repeated until the targets validate that the particulates have been removed.
“Steam blows are a normal start-up process for any conventional steam power plant,” said Mike Bobinecz, Vice President of Construction Management. “This is considered standard industry practice for cleaning steam system circuits.”
Steam blows are part of the “load ascension” program, which includes focusing an increasing number of heliostats onto the boiler and methodically raising the temperature and pressure of the steam produced. Throughout the plant start-up process, the team monitors and tests the plant’s equipment to ensure it is operating properly and safely. Once the steam blows are complete, the team will remove the temporary steam blow piping and reconnect the piping to design conditions. The next step will be for the boiler to admit steam to the steam turbine. Once the steam turbine generator is synchronized to the grid, the plant will generate electricity to the grid.
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Winter Update from the Ivanpah Solar Power Plant
Cooler winter temperatures in December and January could not stop the more than 2,000 construction workers currently working at Ivanpah from advancing the project to more than 84% complete. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Lockard.)
Ivanpah Project Reaches “First Flux” Milestone
The Ivanpah team reached a major milestone in the start up of the solar plant in late February! On February 25th, more than one thousand heliostats focused onto the Ivanpah Unit 1 solar receiver, creating the “first flux.” Solar flux is when a significant amount of sunlight is reflected off of the solar field mirrors. The flux slowly heated the water inside the boiler to just below the point of steam generation. Before today’s first flux, the maximum amount of heliostats aimed at the boiler was 5-10 at a time for heliostat calibration. Learn more about the significance of first flux here.
In the Common Area, the team continues to push ahead with heliostat assemblies in the Heliostat Assembly Building and Pad Bonding Buildings, regularly completing more than 500 heliostats each day. More than 11,000 assemblies were completed in January – that is enough mirrors to cover nearly 40 NFL football fields! Southern California Edison continues to make progress on the substation and transmission project.
Unit 1 is more than 90% complete. The boiler’s evaporator section has been chemically cleaned in preparation for operation. Next, the system will undergo steam blows to clear out any debris inside the pipes so that it does not damage the steam turbine once operational. Testing of the tuned mass damper – a device that is mounted in tall structures to reduce any tower movement caused by wind or seismic activity – is complete and construction has commenced on the permanent elevator for the Unit 1 tower. On the ground, the air-cooled condenser (ACC) is nearly ready for operation after successful completion of an air test to confirm the integrity of piping and check for leaks. As construction in the power block area is completed in the next couple of weeks, the laydown area for power block materials will be cleared and the remaining pylons and heliostats will be installed. The solar field team continues commissioning the heliostats in advance of system start up. Prior to commissioning, project electricians wire heliostats together and connect them to the communication and power distribution units (CPDUs). BrightSource technicians then calibrate each individual heliostat with the BrightSource SFINCS (Solar Field Integrated Control System) software to ensure accurate aiming at the boiler. The team achieved “first flux,” in late February, marking the first time a significant amount of concentrated sunlight has been focused on the boiler for continued system testing.
Unit 2 is more than 80% complete. In the power block area, the team successfully completed a hydrostatic test of the boiler to confirm the integrity of the boiler by pressurizing it with water to check for leaks. In February, the boiler’s evaporator section will be chemically cleaned in preparation for operation, followed by steam blows in the coming months. On the ground, the ACC is nearly ready for an air test and the solar field team has begun commissioning the installed heliostats. In the solar field, more than 56,000 pylons and 43,000 heliostats have been installed.
Unit 3 is more than 70% complete. In the power block area, the team also completed a hydrostatic test of the boiler in late January and is preparing the boiler’s evaporator section for a chemical cleaning. On the ground, construction is steadily progressing on the ACC, the plant services building and the auxiliary boiler. In the solar field, more than 47,000 pylons and 26,000 heliostats have been installed. In the coming months, the team will begin commissioning the Unit 3 heliostats and calibrating them with the SFINCS software.
Bechtel Construction Workers Give Back
Bechtel Corporation, the engineering, procurement and construction partner tasked with building the Ivanpah plant, has a long-standing tradition of giving back to the communities where they work and supporting important causes. The charitable work that takes place at Ivanpah exemplifies this commitment. Over the past two years, the Bechtel team has worked together to purchase and assemble 170 bikes for Toys for Tots, collect relief funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy, donate to breast cancer research, establish recycling programs and much more. Read more about the team’s inspiring work here.