Alternative Energy

02004-12-23 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

The world’s biggest solar power plant went online in Mulhausen, Germany this month, putting out 6.3 megawatts of power. The plant is part of a set of facilities in Bavaria which produce a total of 10 megawatts of power using 57,600 silicon solar panels, built by the Berkeley, California

Right on.

6 Comments

  1. salma

    This is wonderful news!!
    Unfortunately the cost on solar panels and solar water heaters is so high at the present time, that it discourages people to use this alternative source. The incentives offered by state governments are too low to be appealing to general public.
    Hopefully the prices will come down as more more people make this as an educated intelligent choice.

    Reply
  2. Carol

    and little steps and big help if everyone is aware and saving. I am proud of my nephew Fred Flethcer who just recieved a National award and I believe an international one too for developing the ability to recycle water at the Burbank Electrical Power Plant
    http://www.burbankwaterandpower.com/watertreatment.htm

    Reply
  3. Borya

    Bavaria – sounds familiar to me.

    Reply
  4. Ole

    Unfortunately this illustrates why solar power is NOT an interesting alternative source of entropy. Mulhausen now has the world’s biggest solar power plant, but at 6MW it is about 1/100th the power of even a small nuclear facility. For example the San Onofre plant in Southern California was turned on in 1983, and has two 1100MW units, together providing roughly 400 times more power than the Mulhausen solar plant. San Onofre is considered small and old by nuclear standards. France currently has 59 reactors with an aggregate capacity of 63GW.

    I really wish greens were on the other side of the nuclear energy issue. Of all “alternative” sources of power, it is the only clean source of power which can practically displace burning fossil fuels (coal and oil). The only other large-scale source of entropy is hydroelectric power, and the the destruction caused by damming rivers is immense.

    Reply
  5. Borya

    Right on, Ole! I wish we could make more use about alternative energies but is there a way considering the energy needed and consumed by all people? Germany under its current government is powering the development of alternative energies, what is a step forward regarding those, but what is not said mostly is that the lack of energy we face is filled by buying energy from power stations in Eastern Europe that are even more corrupt and dangerous in its infrastructure. I still don’t get why not continue to develop “safer” nuclear plants here instead of risking another Tschernobyl. And the amount of energy people “waste” is a fact.
    A next thought is that I don’t really get why this solar power plant now in Germany is the world biggest. Where’s a solar power plant in Spain’s La Mancha, for example, a region with such a lot of sun? I know that the idea spreads around people there but nothing’s happening. And that’s not a question of money because it’s not La Mancha that has to do something. It would be the Spanish government or/and the EU.

    Reply
  6. Ole

    Borya –

    I agree with your thoughts entirely.

    It is unfortunate but solar power is simply not a viable alternative to fossil fuels at this time. Perhaps with more research larger scale plants can be built, in areas like Southern Europe and the Southern United States which have a lot of sun. Right now the $/MW is too high and the absolute MW is too low to make solar power anything except an interesting research project.

    Similarly, wind power, which is another alternative entropy source often mentioned, is likewise too expensive and does not have nearly enough capacity to be a useful alternative. The wind power installation in the San Gorgonio pass in California, just outside Palm Springs, is the largest in the world, with 4,000 turbines operating. This is an area with strong winds, very dry, with lots of open land, and hence unusually suitable for wind power. Unfortunately the aggregate power of this facility is 600MW! Which puts it in the category of a small commercial plant in terms of its power output, but when you see those turbines covering hundreds of square miles, you know it was massively expensive. It is also debatable how “clean” this source of power really is; although the environment isn’t directly harmed by using wind as power, it is certainly harmed by having thousands of large steel structures erected, to say nothing of the associated roads, power lines, buildings, etc. It is impressive but could be considered an eyesore, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find it has significantly affected wildlife living in the area.

    Cheers,

    Ole

    Reply

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