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« APS Completes First Solar Trough Power Plant in Arizona; and the First Built in the U.S. in 17 Years | Main | Microreactor Produces Biodiesel »

April 23, 2006



Sounds like they're on track. Now all they need is to expand production 1000-fold... At current growth rates, this will take 12 years. Probably fast enough to keep up with demand. Sounds good :-)

Reductions in wafer thickness also bodes well for reductions in panel costs.



And with Germany paying 50 cents per kwh for renewable electricity, that creates a gold rush for installers and investors in the actual installations. How they can pay 50 cents? That is hard to understand, but in light of gas prices that are 2 to 3 times the price here, maybe energy prices in general support that prices per kwh.

The acid rain devestation in Europe must be bringing the whole issue to a head faster there. Look at the huge offshore wind projects. They have had bad flooding also.

How many Katrina sized stortms will it take to get the same urgency here? The weather news has featured about one devestating storm with tornados per week here lately.

It is too bad that the only political motivator seems to be fear of death and destruction. And the anti-environmenmtal wing of the government seems to effectively counter with fear of terrorism or economic problems so far.

What will this storm season bring? 5 to 10 Katrina sized storms? 10 to 20 trillion in damages?


How can the German government pay 50 cents for solar power? Because the total bill is still pocket money! The subsidies will (have to) come down once the installed base increases significantly. But by then, generation costs will have come down as well. The subsidy only needs to be large enough to secure your investment. It should not become your own money printing machine.

Subsidies form an excellent 'midwife' by protecting a potentially beneficial technology until critical mass has been achieved and it can make it on its own.

Another factor: electricity is much more expensive in Europe. Retail price in Denmark is pushing 30 cents/kWh, most (more than half) or which is energy/CO2 tax and VAT. The retail price in Germany is probably around 20 cents.



"The acid rain devestation in Europe must be bringing the whole issue to a head faster there."

Better recheck that. The acid rain "devestation" of the forests in Europe was a false alarm, as it was here. The actual damage attributable to acid rain was much more limited both temporally and spatialy than the myth that arose around it.


So the Black Forest and the forests of the Adirondacks are not dying from acid rain? That would be good news.

Were all those aerial photos fakes? How about the ice caps? Not melting? Glaciers just fine? Polar bears happy as clams?

Here the power companies hired "scientists" to "prove" that all the lakes and marshes are naturally acidic and power plant emissions were not to blame. It worked, no one mentions acid rain anymore.



To answer your questions: Nope, no - just misinterpreted, how about those ice caps?, hard to say - the Greenland ice cap is certainly melting at the margins - though the mass balance is another question, more glaciers are retreating that advancing (for an interesting perspective on this read John Muir's "Travels in Alaska", you'll have to ask them yourself - I suggest using a megaphone as they can be touchy creatures to converse with. Interestingly enough, their populations in Canada seem to be relatively high right now (based on annual aerial counts)- I don't know about the rest of their range.
Noone mentions "acid rain is killing our forests/Waldsterben" anymore for several reasons: SO2 reductions because of the clean air act reduced the problem, as did the shutting down of some very inneficient industry in eastern Europe, secondly, when the problem was looked at carefully it was found that the effects were only significant very close to the individual sources of emmisions and in a few areas (such as parts of the Adirondacks) where there is virtually no buffering capacity in the soil, and yes, the marshes and waters in the area do have a lot of acidity naturally - that is what happens in an area with a lot of precipitation and low temperatures - organic acids from decaying vegetation. Finally, in this country the most dramatic example of acid-rain caused destruction was among the red spruce in the Adirondacks and the mountains of New England. When someone actually looked for causes of mortality the culprit turned out to be Dendroctonus ruffipennis, the spruce beetle. Get a copy of the acid rain scare book "last stand of the red spruce" then go hike to the stands mentioned. You will find many dead trees standing and lying on the ground, but will have to fight your way through a jungle of new, vigorous red spruce trees growing over your head to traverse them.

I grew up in Vermont in the '80s, heard and believed all the hype. WCAX was even giving the PH of the rain as part of their regular weather report. I was as worried as anyone else - the mountains of Vermont and New York were my playground, where I hiked, skied, snowsoed and climbed. I was willing to vote to spend lots of other people's money to keep the forests from being anniahlated (sp?) Learned a lesson that has caused me to approach other similar issues such as anthropogenic climate change with a healthy dose of skepticism. I suspect a lot of other people did to.


"has caused me to approach other similar issues such as anthropogenic climate change with a healthy dose of skepticism"

Well good for you. I just do not care to debate climate disaster or acid rain anymore.

Time to act is way past. Time for debate is over. But I suppose it remains an academic pursuit.

I find many that debate the fine points really are trying to muddy the issues in an attempt to oppose environmental action. I tend to lump people together in this case, it may not be fair but, if you are a skeptic on global climate change, acid rain, smoking causes cancer, toxic chemical and radioactive conmtamination are harmfull, chemical africulture destroys soil and causes cancer and antibiotic use in animals creates resistant diseases .. it's in that vein.

Not much point arguing, we would never convince each other.


"Time to act is way past. Time for debate is over. But I suppose it remains an academic pursuit."

Well that is the point then, isn't it? People were saying the same thing about acid rain back in the '80s.

Kudos to you if you want to act - just do it on your own dime, won't you? There are plenty of reasons to reduce fossil fuel consumption besides the global warming hype. I have been more convinced by some of those arguments - and have tried to keep my own "footprint" as small as possible for someone with children living in a remote small town (not much public transport in a county with only three traffic lights).

Chet Esium

Also, note that while the retail price of electricity in Denmark and Germany may be on the order of 20 to 30 cents/kwh, solar PV costs should currently be compared to the cost to reliably produce electricity when the sun is shining. In many locales (Japan, California, New York -- but I don't know about Germany and Denmark), producing electricity during the day is significantly more expensive than the average retail price.

Also, remember that with this investment, Germany is positioning itself to be the leader in PV manufacturing for the 21st century.

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