Update from Ivanpah – June 2012
Ivanpah Featured in the New York Times Magazine!
On June 13, the Ivanpah project was featured in a photo essay in the New York Times Magazine. Twelve incredible black and white images by photographer Jamey Stillings show the project’s construction progress. The images do an excellent job of visually demonstrating the low-impact design approach we have taken, leaving the vast majority of the land intact and allowing us to configure our solar field around hills and other natural areas. View the entire photo essay here.
April and May have brought warmer weather and more daylight working hours to the Ivanpah project in California’s sunny Mojave Desert. Thanks to the hard work of over 2,000 men and women building the project, Ivanpah is more than 40 percent complete! We are nearly at the peak of construction, with massive amounts of work being performed at all three units of the plant. Workers are busy lifting tower and boiler sections into place on the towers, installing power plant equipment in the power block, welding pipes inside the boiler, driving pylons in the field, and installing heliostats. Construction continues to advance on schedule and each month sees new milestones and production records. See below for construction highlights from April and May.
In the Common Area, the Pad Bonding Buildings (PBBs) and the Heliostat Assembly Building (HAB) have reached full production capacity. The team set a new record for the number of heliostats pad-bonded in May, and the assembly is regularly achieving its goal of assembling 500+ heliostats each day. Work in the PBBs and HAB is taking place 20 hours a day, two 10-hour shifts each, and employing about 150 craft workers.
In the Unit #1 power block area, boilermakers high in the tower continue to weld the interconnecting boiler pipe and wall panels. All welds are inspected and X-rayed to ensure they meet the project’s strict quality and safety requirements. The next step for the boiler system will be hydro-testing in the fall, which confirms the integrity of the boiler by pressurizing the boiler with water.
On the ground, construction of the air-cooled condenser (ACC) remains ongoing. The ACC allows Ivanpah to be “dry-cooled” versus wet-cooled, reducing water usage by more than 90 percent over conventional wet cooling systems. The ACCs at Ivanpah are comprised of 15 modules, each with a 36‑foot diameter fan with a 200 horsepower motor, which were installed in May. The plant services building is largely complete and other “balance of plant” equipment is in the process of being installed in the power block area. Commissioning activities have commenced, with the energization of the permanent plant 34.5 kilovolt / 4160 volt switchgear.
In the Unit #1 solar field, pylon installation remains at 92 percent complete, with the remaining 8 percent to be installed when construction in the power block area is complete. More than 30,000 heliostats are installed in Unit #1. Electricians continue to wire the heliostats together and connect them to the communication and power distribution units, or CPDU’s. The heliostat-control software system, known as the Solar Field Integrated Control System (SFINCS), has been installed in the plant services building.
In the Unit #2 power block area, we witnessed the lift of the steam drum in mid-May and the placement of the final boiler tier in late May. The tower is considered “topped out,” meaning it has reached is full height of 459 feet. Boilermakers are busy welding the interconnecting boiler pipe and wall panels. The team has installed the tuned mass damper, a device that is mounted in tall structures to reduce the tower movement caused by wind or seismic activity. Now that the tuned mass damper is set, the remaining boiler and protection panels will be placed around the walls of the boiler.
On the ground, the construction of the ACC and the plant services building is under way, and the auxiliary boiler foundation was completed. The steam turbine generator has been set on its foundation, and alignment activities will commence shortly.
In the Unit #2 solar field, the trimming of the vegetation to prepare for pylon installation is now complete. More than 35,000 pylons are installed, along with more than 1,500 heliostats.
At Unit #3, the steel portion of the tower is complete (tiers 1-9), and the first boiler module (tier 10) was placed in late May. The team continues to pre-assemble the remaining boiler modules (tiers 11-14) on the ground for future lifting into place by the tower crane. The ACC foundation is now complete and construction will begin in the next few weeks. The plant services building is actively under construction.
In the Unit #3 solar field, the trimming of the vegetation to prepare for pylon installation is now underway.
Ivanpah Wins “2012 Energy Project of the Year” Award from Solar Power Generation
On Tuesday, April 24, USC CMAA Green Symposium recognized the Ivanpah SEGS with its “2012 Energy Project of the Year” award for its unique approach to partnerships and for creating thousands of jobs in Southern California.
“The sheer magnitude of the Ivanpah project is reinforcing California’s position as the leader of renewable energy in the United States,” said Caroline Fletcher, USC Green Symposium Co-Chair. “The project has demonstrated an innovative approach to partnerships and is significantly contributing to job creation in the region. We’re very pleased to honor this important project with our 2012 Energy Project of the Year Award.”