[ExI] solar is looking better all the time: was RE: Efficiency of wind power

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Apr 7 00:57:17 UTC 2011



From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Max More


>>Some interesting data on the (low) efficiency of wind power:



--- Max


>.  It is something that burned an image into my retinas: most of the time
in most of those wind farms, all of the turbines were sitting still and
quiet.  spike



I gave you some bad news, now I will give you something good.


This past weekend I was at a class reunion for Shelly's high school, in
Caldwell Idaho where she is from.  We went to a big party out north and west
past Vale Oregon.  Driving out to the ranch of some old friends, I was
struck by how much land there is where there is insufficient water resources
to grow much of anything, no civilization, harsh climate, clear, windy most
of the time, but there is a road and some existing power infrastructure.
There is no reason whatsoever we couldn't make a mile wide field of PVs on
either side of the road going up highway 26 from Vale and out highway 20
west of Vale, south from Marsing on highway 95, where one goes for hour
after hour seeing on either side of the road to the horizon, flat unused
ground, un-farmable, unbuildable.  There is sooooo damn much wide open land
out there, being used for nothing, useful for nothing else.


If you have a few days to mess around, I do encourage those who worry about
mankind's future energy resources to get in a Detroit and drive out to some
of these desert wastelands, just to get a feel for how open and vast they
are.  Go down highway 395 in eastern Oregon and California, or go nearly
anywhere in Nevada.  Plenty of open space out there, and the land is
practically free.  We could add enormous power lines, or set up coal to
octane plants out there to soak up the peak production.  If you don't have
time to drive out there, go on Google maps, enter Ontario Oregon, look


If we really committed to doing this, we could set up solar panel fabs that
would produce standardized 1 meter by 1 meter panels in quantities that
would give manufacturing engineers the tingles.  We would churn out so many
of these things, we could get very close to lights-out factories.  Over a
couple decades we could gradually replace so many of the alternative energy
sources, all of which have their severe shortcomings.  We could end up with
enough with enough spare energy to use the excess to synthesize ammonium
nitrate for fertilizers, octane for our Detroits, power air conditioning to
counteract global warming, all that stuff.  


The wind farms haven't lived up to their promise, geothermal and falling
water are nearly completely exploited, oil is in decline, coal is dirty,
Japanese tsunami generated all that bad press for nuclear power.  Now I am
convinced to steer my own investment dollars towards advanced domestic PV
fabs.  After it is all said and done, I am convinced to my own satisfaction
that PVs are the path forward, with load leveling being largely accomplished
by using peak power for conversion of coal to octane and for electric
power-intensive processes such as metal extraction.  Expensive, takes a long
time to transition, lot of loss in transmission.  But considering all
alternatives, the downsides don't seem so far down now.









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