Solar power absurd
Posted 06 March 2010 - 12:13 PM
To see the absurdities that await us in our energy future, look no further than the front page of today’s business section of the New York Times for the story entitled “The Newest Hybrid Model.”
The article features a dramatic photo of 500 acres of solar panels sitting next to an innocuous looking natural gas plant in Indiantown, Fla., owned by Florida Power & Light. The natural gas plant — which occupies no more than 15 acres — produces 3,800 megawatts of reliable electricity. The gigantic 500-acre solar complex next to it (that’s about three-quarters of a square mile) will produce 75 MW of electricity AT ITS MAXIMUM, i.e., on a hot summer afternoon. (Fortunately, this is the time when electrical demand peaks.)
... building a 1000-MW solar array — the size of an average coal or nuclear plant — would cost $5 billion, putting it right up there with the most expensive reactors and coal plants with carbon capture. But the solar panels only generate electricity one-third of the time. “We’d love to tell you that solar power is as economical as fossil fuels, but the reality is that it is not,” says Lewis Hay II, CEO of Florida Power and Light, which has built the complex.
Such facilities serve only two purposes: 1) To satisfy the whims of state legislatures; and 2) to create pretty pictures for billboard ads and the covers of annual reports. In both they are a triumphant success.
Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:44 AM
With the proper political backing and government funding, I could build 15 acre zip lock bags capable of generating green electricity.
In humid weather we could rent them out as waterproof storage facilities.
Models demonstrating the potential use of hair drying powered by "green" electricity generated with huge zip lock bags:
Edited by Rogerdodger, 09 March 2010 - 12:57 AM.
BIGGEST SCIENCE SCANDAL EVER...Official records systematically 'adjusted'.
Posted 09 March 2010 - 01:45 AM
“I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted,” W.C. Fields.
Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:05 PM
The buzz on the nuclear blogs this week is the recent claim by Peter Shumlin, president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate, that Germany gets 30 percent of its electricity from solar energy.
Shumlin made the claim on Fox Business News while being interviewed about the Vermont legislature's decision to close down the 600-megawatt Vermont Yankee reactor, which is currently trying to find the source of a small tritium leak that has showed up in test wells around the plant. While Shumlin was still on the air, a Fox News commentator checked Wikipedia and told him the figure was only 1 percent. "That's just Wikipedia," countered Shumlinm and said that the 30 percent figure is "what I've been told." (Rod Adams, who runs the excellent Atomic Insights blog, says the correct figure is 0.6 percent.) When pressed about where Vermont was going to go to replace one-third of its electricity, Shumlin confidently predicted "the whole country is moving to renewables."
Shumlin's wild claims exemplify exactly how and why the whole country is "moving to renewables." Somebody told somebody about something that's supposedly going on over in Europe and we're going to do the same thing here.
Good luck, Vermont. It's going to be amusing to watch the Green Mountain State slide back to nature.
Posted 26 March 2010 - 09:00 AM
The United States has largest reserves on Earth, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.
The U.S. has 1,321 billion barrels of oil (or barrels of oil equivalent for other sources of energy) when combining its recoverable natural gas, oil and coal reserves.
While Russia is a close second with 1,248 billion barrels, other energy producing nations are far behind. No. 3 is Saudi Arabia (543 billion barrels), followed by China (494 billion barrels), Iran (426 billion barrels) and Canada (221 billion barrels.)
Posted 30 March 2010 - 04:21 PM
The fundamental, physical, undeniable advantages that are locked up in the nuclei of uranium, thorium, and other actinides are known to a relatively small number of engineers and scientists. In general, people in those professions have less developed communications skills and have not done a very good job of sharing the wonder that they must feel as they do their daily jobs. Some of them may not even realize just how magical the materials are that they work with on a daily basis because they entered the field after layer upon layer of extraneous caution and back-up systems had been added to disguise the massive quantities of power that come from tiny quantities of material.
I keep three simulated fuel pellets on my keyboard try to help remind me just how incredible the materials are. Those three little pellets, if actually made of uranium dioxide, would contain as much energy as three tons of coal - if they were used in a rather primitive fashion in a once through light water reactor fuel cycle. If fully fissioned, which is possible, they would produce as much heat energy as burning 60 tons of high quality coal.
There are a few engineers and technologists who "get it" and work hard at sharing their wonder with the rest of the world. For a time, Hyman Rickover was one of those people, before he got so worried about the sniping that he was receiving from others that he began isolating and protecting his program's knowledge and advances
Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:47 AM
Spain’s government, after using subsidies to spur more than 18 billion euros ($24 billion) in solar-power projects since 2008, may reduce the premium power rates that attracted clean-energy investors.
The state has the authority to cut prices paid to operating renewable-power plants under a 2007 law, according to an industry ministry spokesman who declined to be identified. All options are being assessed for a new strategic plan this year, he said. Spanish solar and wind developer shares fell as much as 4.1 percent.
“This is nothing less than a catastrophe” for investors, said Stephane Aderca, an energy analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London. “We had believed that a promise is a promise. Going back on a promise brings the whole thing into question.”
Posted 24 April 2010 - 09:27 AM
For example, one of the "core issues" that the organizers of this year's Earth Day say we should be worrying about is the use of fertilizers and pesticides. It may be unfashionable to point this out, but without the high-yield agricultural practices developed over the past 60 years, virtually all the forests of the world would have to have been cleared to make way for food production. And starvation would be much, much more prevalent.
What about indoor air pollution, which happens to be the world's No. 1 environmental killer? In poor countries, 2.5 billion people rely on "biomass" — wood, waste and dung — to cook and keep themselves warm. This year, the resulting pollution will kill about 1.3 million of them, mainly women and children. Switching from biomass to fossil fuels would dramatically improve the lives of more than a third of the world's population.
Posted 29 May 2010 - 12:29 PM
In the December 1974 issue of Popular Science Magazine, there was an article titled "Solar Cells: When Will You Plug Into Electricity from Sunshine?" that discussed the future of solar energy. The article predicted that by 1986 the cost per watt at peak power would be down to $0.30 ($0.60 in today's dollars) based on projections from the National Science Foundation. There were also predictions for giant solar-cell systems that would provide solar energy to towns and utilities by 1990.
By 2007, solar prices were actually about $3.66 per watt (about six times higher than predicted), and were predicted in this 2008 article to fall to $2.14 per watt in 2010. And we still don't have any of those giant solar-cell systems yet.
Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:49 PM
Even the New York Times has also figured it out that the administration’s green jobs initiative is an embarrassing mess.
- Johnson Controls plant in southern Michigan, which received $300 million in green grants and plans to create a whopping total of 150 jobs, at a cost of $2 million per position.
- Evergreen Solar Inc., which received unknown amounts of green stimulus funds on the hope that it would create “between 90 and 100 jobs” two years ago, filed for bankruptcy this week, $485.6 million in debt. Their Massachusetts plant once employed 800 people; in March it was replaced with a factory in Wuhan, China.
- Green Vehicles, an electric car “maker” in Salinas, California, took $500,000 from the city and almost $200,000 from the state but has failed to produce even one car.
- And as reported earlier on this site, Seattle was one of a handful of cities that received $20 million in federal grants as part of Retrofit Ramp-Up, a program designed to refit houses with more energy efficient materials. Unfortunately, as KOMO4 of Seattle reports, after more than a year “only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program.”
I’ve posted about this failing strategy before; it’s nice to see that the New York Times has also figured it out that the administration’s green jobs initiative is an embarrassing mess.
As the paper of record reports,
Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter…
The Economic Development Department in California reports that $59 million in state, federal and private money dedicated to green jobs training and apprenticeship has led to only 719 job placements — the equivalent of an $82,000 subsidy for each one.