NewEnergyNews: GRAND SOLAR PLAN FROM SCI-AM

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YESTERDAY

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Mixed-ownership models spur utility investment in microgrids
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How the wind industry can continue its boom into the 2020s
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Rhode Island targets a common perspective on DER values
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Way To Grow EVs
  • QUICK NEWS, April 25: Private Sector Takes Over The Climate Fight; How Sea Level Rise Would Change The Map; Wind Jobs Top 100,000 As Wind Energy Booms
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Risk Of Natural Gas Vs. The Risk Of Wind
  • QUICK NEWS, April 24: The Health Impacts Of Climate Change; New Energy Is Everywhere; Study Shows LA Does Not Need Aliso Canyon
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: How To Win Friends For New Energy
  • Weekend Video: The Electric Vehicle Highway
  • Weekend Video: Wind And The Economy
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A Deeper Look At The Heat
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Wind Gets Market Tough
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-UK Gets Utility-Led Solar Plus Storage
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Germany’s VW Talking Its EV To China
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, April 20:

  • TTTA Thursday-U.S. Military Affirms Climate Change-War Link
  • TTTA Thursday-Solar Plus Hydro Drive Wholesale Power Cost Sub-Zero
  • TTTA Thursday-Wind Boom Goes On Growing Midwest Wealth
  • TTTA Thursday-More Kentucky Jobs In New Energy Than In Coal
  • --------------------------

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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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  • ---------------
  • THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, April 27:

  • Inside The White House Fight On Climate
  • New Energy Is The Jobs Engine
  • Wind Industry Boom Getting Bigger
  • Funding Better Transportation

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    GRAND SOLAR PLAN FROM SCI-AM

    This ambitious plan for powering the U.S. on solar energy is entirely sensible. It includes consideration of all relevant infrastructure, including vast generating plants, storage facilities to beat solar energy’s notorious intermittency and new transmission to carry the electricity across the nation.

    From the article: “The technology is ready…We project that this energy could be sold to consumers at rates equivalent to today’s rates for conventional power sources, about five cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If wind, biomass and geothermal sources were also developed, renewable energy could provide 100 percent of the nation’s electricity and 90 percent of its energy by 2100.”

    The only unknown is how to elect leaders with the vision to make the plan happen.


    There is ample solar photovoltaic potential. (click to enlarge)

    A Solar Grand Plan; By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions
    Ken Zweibel, James Mason and Vasilis Fthenakis, December 16, 2007 (Scientific American)

    WHO
    Scientific American (Sci-Am), one of the world’s premier science magazines

    WHAT
    Sci-Am puts forward a concrete program by which the U.S. could generate 69% of its electricity and 35% of its total energy from solar by 2050.

    WHEN
    - The plan would cost $400 billion over 40 years.
    - In 2050, CO2 levels would be 62% below 2005 levels.
    - The ramp-up in solar energy production would come in stages as costs go down and infrastructure expands.
    - Stage One would run through 2020 and see a buildup to 84 gigawatts in the southwest and south. New transmission would also be built.
    - Stage Two goes thru 2050, completing the buildup of infrastructure.
    - 3,000,000 would be created by the plan.
    - The article discuses projections beyond 2050.

    There is ample solar thermal potential. (click to enlarge)

    WHERE
    Solar photovoltaic and solar thermal plants would be built in the southwest, where open land and sunlight are available.

    WHY
    - The plan assumes 30,000 square miles of photovoltaic arrays producing 3,000 gigawatts of electricity.
    - Photovoltaic efficiency must be raised to 14%. Sci-Am identifies cadmium telluride thin film as the likely material to meet this need.
    - 16 hours of solar energy storage would be through using excess electricity generated during sunlight hours to compress air that could be released to generate electricity when there was inadequate sunlight.
    - Solar thermal plants (also known as concentrating solar) use arrays of parabolic mirrors to heat hot fluids that boil water to generate steam that drives turbines.
    - High-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission would be constructed to deliver electricity from the southwestern solar fields to the national grid.
    - Solar cell materials constraints are diminishing and solar cell materials are expected to be recyclable.

    There are already solar arrays of the type described here. The only thing lacking is the commitment. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - From the article: “That investment is substantial, but the payoff is greater. Solar plants consume little or no fuel, saving billions of dollars year after year. The infrastructure would displace 300 large coal-fired power plants and 300 more large natural gas plants and all the fuels they consume. The plan would effectively eliminate all imported oil, fundamentally cutting U.S. trade deficits and easing political tension in the Middle East and elsewhere. Because solar technologies are almost pollution-free, the plan would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions…”
    - From the article: “The greatest obstacle to implementing a renewable U.S. energy system is not technology or money, however. It is the lack of public awareness that solar power is a practical alternative—and one that can fuel transportation as well. Forward-looking thinkers should try to inspire U.S. citizens, and their political and scientific leaders, about solar power’s incredible potential. Once Americans realize that potential, we believe the desire for energy self-sufficiency and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will prompt them to adopt a national solar plan”

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