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Thread: The Remarkable Progress of Renewable Energy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    This cannot be achieved with such low energy density power sources as wind and solar; Even if we were to tolerate having every hill and valley choked with industrial wind turbines and solar farms.
    Disagree--in much of the world there's plenty of space for enough solar cells. The problem is the lack of meaningful storage options.

    Until (and if) such come along, though, we should be going nuke. Much better than cooking the hot regions of our planet.
    Yes, but left-wings in the West seem mostly bent on torpedoing nuclear power. And so are a significant portion of non-leftists, just because. So, it looks like nuclear is going to remain strong in some non-Western countries like China and Russia, and maybe South Korea or India and a few others.

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    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    This cannot be achieved with such low energy density power sources as wind and solar; Even if we were to tolerate having every hill and valley choked with industrial wind turbines and solar farms.
    Disagree--in much of the world there's plenty of space for enough solar cells. The problem is the lack of meaningful storage options.

    Until (and if) such come along, though, we should be going nuke. Much better than cooking the hot regions of our planet.
    What would be the effect of thousands of hectares of solar panels on cloud formation, rain, wind patterns etc. upon the environment above and surrounding?
    Have any modelling be done on reflection, absorption etc.
    What about the effects on birds flying over?
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    A nuclear power plant has a much smaller footprint.

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    Yeah, I'm ambivalent about putting solar panel farms in places where you could put actual farms or forests. However, putting them in deserts is probably less impactful, as well as more efficient. Putting them on roofs should have no negative impact at all.

  5. Top | #575
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    Yeah, I'm ambivalent about putting solar panel farms in places where you could put actual farms or forests. However, putting them in deserts is probably less impactful, as well as more efficient. Putting them on roofs should have no negative impact at all.
    Desert ecosystems are far more sensitive than most - very few desert areas are actually lifeless and empty.

    And there aren't enough rooftops. There's just about enough roof space on a typical house to collect the energy that that house uses; But houses have easily the largest roof area to power demand ratio of any commonly used buildings. High-rise buildings and industrial facilities simply don't have enough area. Often VASTLY too little. A fifty story building can perhaps collect enough power to supply a couple of floors using just its own roof. The roof over an electric arc furnace wouldn't collect enough power to be the rounding error in its consumption total.

    Energy density is important. The history of civilisation is one of using increasingly dense energy sources - wind and solar power were OK before the industrial revolution, but a medieval lifestyle can't support billions of people.

    Nuclear fission can. Easily.

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    Watched a segment on a solar system that uses salts for storage. Salts are melted and piped through water creating steam. The new facility in Spain will be around 10Mw.

    The salts alas act as storage in a molten state.

    The technique has been used for solar heating. Melt a bed of eutectic salts under your house to store thermal energy during the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigers! View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    This cannot be achieved with such low energy density power sources as wind and solar; Even if we were to tolerate having every hill and valley choked with industrial wind turbines and solar farms.
    Disagree--in much of the world there's plenty of space for enough solar cells. The problem is the lack of meaningful storage options.

    Until (and if) such come along, though, we should be going nuke. Much better than cooking the hot regions of our planet.
    What would be the effect of thousands of hectares of solar panels on cloud formation, rain, wind patterns etc. upon the environment above and surrounding?
    Have any modelling be done on reflection, absorption etc.
    What about the effects on birds flying over?
    I would expect little effect--the area is going to be darker than normal but it's also going to be shipping off power. You would get a slight temperature shift but I don't know which factor would dominate.

    I would not expect any effect on rain and the like--the panels are fairly small with a decent amount of space in between. (This is required for maximum efficiency. You get maximum yield when the panels are oriented away from the vertical by the local latitude--but such orientation requires space between them to avoid shadows on the next row of panels. You only see continuous panels when they are laid out on a roof.)

    And why would a bird care? Do they care about flying over a road? (A panel will be much like a bit of road.)

  8. Top | #578
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    Yeah, I'm ambivalent about putting solar panel farms in places where you could put actual farms or forests. However, putting them in deserts is probably less impactful, as well as more efficient. Putting them on roofs should have no negative impact at all.
    Yup. Plenty of pretty barren land around. Around here there's both the desert and areas too steep to have appreciable vegetation.

  9. Top | #579
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Watched a segment on a solar system that uses salts for storage. Salts are melted and piped through water creating steam. The new facility in Spain will be around 10Mw.

    The salts alas act as storage in a molten state.

    The technique has been used for solar heating. Melt a bed of eutectic salts under your house to store thermal energy during the day.
    Yeah, but such systems are still basically research prototypes, nowhere near ready for large scale operation.

  10. Top | #580
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Watched a segment on a solar system that uses salts for storage. Salts are melted and piped through water creating steam. The new facility in Spain will be around 10Mw.

    The salts alas act as storage in a molten state.

    The technique has been used for solar heating. Melt a bed of eutectic salts under your house to store thermal energy during the day.
    Yeah, but such systems are still basically research prototypes, nowhere near ready for large scale operation.
    According to the show there is a commercial station coming online in Spain. There was a development system shown on the show.

    I forget the term my memory is fading. It is not just energy stored as heat like in a rock. The energy is stored in the energy added to change state.

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