California showed minimal electricity production from concentrating solar power (CSP) during January 2014, according to an analysis by renewable energy consultant Bernard Chabot.
This indicates that the Ivanpah CSP project was not yet online during the month. Chabot’s analysis of data from California’s grid operator shows that CSP produced more than 500 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity for only three days during the month, which may also be due to the Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) being taken offline for maintenance.
BrightSource Energy Inc. (Oakland, California, U.S.) had filed to have Ivanpah’s three units reaching commercial operation on July 1st, 2013, October 1st, 2013 and January 1st, 2014. However a compliance document submitted to the California Energy Commission on January 17th, 2014 shows a conflicting assortment of actual completion dates.
The company has now said that it will hold a dedication ceremony for the plant on February 13th, 2014.
However, utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) production continues to hit new highs, meeting 2.9% of California’s electricity demand during January 2014. During 2013, utility-scale PV and CSP met 2.4% of demand, more than double the share of all PV in France or the UK, and roughly ten times as much as the U.S. average.
These numbers are particularly impressive as they do not consider the 1.6 GW of “behind-the-meter” PV on homes and businesses in California, which the ISO does not account for. Even without rooftop PV and with the lag in CSP output California met more of its demand with solar in January than Spain did, and 2013 output shows a consistent rise throughout the year.
Wind met another 2.9% of California’s electricity demand in January 2014, with all non-hydro renewables contributing a total of 11.9% and hydro another 3.4%.
This is significantly less than the 14.1% of demand met by non-hydro renewables during 2013, which reached 21.3% when hydro was added. The decrease comes mostly from lower output of wind and hydro in January 2014, which were both around half of the 2013 average.
For more information, read the full analysis by Bernard Chabot.