Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sustainable Energy????

Solar One is a "go" for launch

Read the whole story here:

While I read the story, I had some thoughts and questions. As a few of you may have noticed, I am pretty anti-technology, and I do not believe that projects like this will help the problem of energy over-use.

First of all, this project is only possible because the companies involved are required by law to get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2015. The project is expensive and the power it produces is projected to be more than twice as expensive and the current natural gas powered electric sources.

Secondly, the project covers 300 acres of land with expansion planned in the future. The property is leased from Boulder City for $550,000 per year once it begins operation. Why lease land? They could buy 750 acres for about 9 Million and save 11 million in the 40 years they will be leasing. Or better yet, instead of buying or leasing from a city, lease land from the Federal Government. This agency handles over a million acres of land available for lease:

Third, this is a heat exchange system where oil is heated by the sun to boil water to run turbines. Heat exchange systems work very well when the product is used directly such as using the sun to heat water that is then pumped into storage tanks to supply hot water or heat for homes. The efficiency of the system takes a nose dive when you run turbines off the heated water. Heating water to 120 degrees for household use is nearly 100% efficient. Heating water to 212 degrees to run a steam engine drops the efficiency down to 50% or less. A lot of energy is lost by heat escaping to the environment and to friction on the engine parts.

Fourth, this plant was built brand new from scratch using absolutely no recycled materials at all, and while the idea of "free energy" is appealing, the carbon-footprint created by 300 acres of mirrors is appalling.

Fifth, the project was originally built in a partnership between
North Carolina-based Solargenix Energy and Spain's Acciona SA. Last year Acciona bought out Solargenix. What is the difference between buying foreign energy or paying a foreign company to capture the energy inside the States? The result is the same....the energy is used here and the money goes there.

OK, I have ranted enough....I will be watching this project in the future.

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