Thursday, July 24, 2008

O, solar mi... o mi

I'll be posting this also under the main Solar category (label link below) as it's an interesting set of insights.

One of the blog/forums I frequent is a very worthwhile source of links, thoughts and, until recently, debate. In a less than thrilling example of how some 'purists' can shape the group think I have found myself much less likely to contribute by off-forum... approaches. Makes me all the more determined to police a fair but firm moderating line here to keep the bullies in check and the debate productive.

Recently there was a posting citing a Guardian piece, which I duly noted. Frankly I didn't do much else as it was about a bit of a punt and I tend to avoid these 'til they get serious.

Guardian - £37bn plan to power EU with the Saharan sun

However, a follow-up posting on this forum did catch my eye, and as it was in the ongoing spirit of challenge and making one think a bit more before leaping headlong into the 'green is good no arguments allowed' mode that I am so critical of (and seems all too practiced by so called 'professional journalists' in certain quarters, at best for a quick story, at worst ratings or some subjective agenda. Plus, if you read on, such as Dear Leader and Cher Napoleon, so it has already got serious), I thought what was written was worth sharing at least, and have been given permission by Frank Holland, the author:

I have been examining DESERTEC for some time. It all sounds
so simple that even politicians can understand it. You build solar
energy generating systems where there is a lot of sun, the Sahara
desert. Then you send the electricity across North Africa, across the
Med, into Europe and split it into a fabulous grid system, see .

Well look at the distribution map at look at
all the places terrorists could cause damage...blow up a few lines and
cripple Europe. There are 8 lines feeding Europe, with long stretches
which could not be secured all the time.

Plus a little problem called desert winds, see

Sand driven by wind will soon take the shine off all those mirrors used
to concentrate the sun light.

As always with these mega projects there are always downsides, but the
enthusiasts down play those.

Local micro generation will be much more stable with millions of
connections to the grid, a few failures will be unimportant to the whole

I cannot speak for his background but these points were well made, and supported by links to more information, as with this one on my agreeing with his point on wind etching/erosion, having not thought of it until he pointed it out:

Not just erosion, but the risk of burial....sand and wind build sands
dunes, see

These are considerations that those standing ready to blow bazillions on projects of still uncertain enviROI will, I hope, at least have answers to. And will be brought to the fore by responsible journalists in major media before charging off on the next set of vast capital projects in the name of green.

There was another poster with some other interesting points on transmission drop outs, etc, based on the proximity principle, but have not his permission yet to quote verbatim and credit.

Addendum -

EU Referendum - Gullible or not?

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