Tag Archives: Spain

European utilities scared of renewable energy

Another reason Southern Company needs to get on with a smart grid, using its biggest private R&D outfit in the U.S. Now that solar has reached grid parity with everything including natural gas (and years since it passed nuclear), if the utilities don’t get out in front, they’re going to be left behind.

Derek Mead wrote for Motherboard yesterday, European Utilities Say They Can’t Make Money Because There’s Too Much Renewable Energy,

Renewable energy has been on a tear the past few years, with growth in many countries spurred by subsidies for wind and solar power. Now the heads of 10 European utility companies say EU subsidies should end, because they've got more renewable energy than they know what to do with.

The 10 CEOs in question, who refer to themselves as the Magritte group because they first met in an art gallery, represent companies that control about half the power capacity of Europe. The group gave a press conference today— Reuters says that 10 such executives giving a joint public statement is “unprecedented”—to hammer home a message they’ve been trumpeting ahead of an EU energy summit in 2014: There’s too much energy capacity, which has driven prices down so far that they can’t make any money.

As long as there are nukes or coal plants, there’s too much capacity. European utilities need to get on with things like Continue reading

French, German, and Spanish nukes unreliable in heat

Invest in nukes for hot water in rivers damaging plants and animals while there’s less water for agriculture and cities and droughts and summer heat waves cause power shortages. That’s Europe’s experience. Or we could profit by their experience and get on with reliable renewable solar and wind power.

The Guardian, 12 August 2003, Heatwave hits French power production,

France has shut down the equivalent of four nuclear power stations as the heatwave eats into the country’s electricity generating capacities. With temperatures in French rivers hitting record highs, some power plants relying on river water to cool their reactors have been forced to scale back production.

Julio Godoy wrote for OneWorld.net 28 July 2006, European Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy,

Continue reading

Let the Sun Shine: Fact versus Fiction —Michael G. Noll

LTE in the VDT today. I’ve added a few links. -jsq

Fox News recently claimed that “solar won’t work in America because it’s not as sunny as Germany”. Such statements are common for a network that has long lost its credibility. Unfortunately too many take such gibberish at face value. Thus columns like “environmentalism or obstructionism?” are not surprising, but in the end it’s the facts that matter:

  • Global warming is real. For years we have been experiencing record heat waves, droughts, wild fires, etc., and while seawater levels are rising, storms like hurricane Sandy become major threats to low lying areas along coast lines.
  • The main culprit for global warming are greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal and oil.
  • While China overall emits more than we do, the US leads in per capita emissions. The average US citizen produces three times more carbon dioxide than the average Chinese citizen.
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Torresol Energy provides solar energy night and day

We have as much sun in south Georgia as southern Spain, where they’re building industrial scale solar plants.

Tafline Laylin wrote for Inhabitant, 17 July 2011, Spain’s Gemasolar Array is the World’s First 24/7 Solar Power Plant!,

Torresol Energy has overcome one of solar energy’s biggest challenges: operating when the sun doesn’t shine. The 19.9 MW Gemasolar concentrated solar power plant in Spain’s Andalucia province has two tanks of molten salt (MSES) that store heat energy generated throughout the day. Unlike normal plants that have less thermal storage or none at all, this stored energy enables Torresol to satisfy peak summer energy demand long after sunset.

So we already know how to store solar power, even without developing better batteries. There’s more in the article. About that plant:

Characteristics of Gemasolar:
  • Rated electrical power: 19.9 MW
  • Net electrical production expected: 110 GWh/year
  • Solar field: 2,650 heliostats on 185 hectares
  • Heat storage system: the molten salt storage tank permits independent electrical generation for up to 15 hours without any solar feed.

185 hectares is about 457 acres, or about one VLCIA industrial park.

Seville, Spain, is about 37 degrees north latitude. We’re at about 31 degrees. In other words, Seville is about 360 miles north of us. And we get about the same amount of sun as Seville does.

The average insolation (amount of sunlight falling on the surface) in Seville, Spain is about the same as in Valdosta, Georgia: about 4.85 kWh/m2 per day.

Here’s a month-by-month comparison using Solar Electricity Handbook 2012 Edition. They haven’t heard of Valdosta, so I used Macon. You remember Macon, where it was 110 degrees June 30th.

WhenJan Feb Mar Apr May JunJul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Seville 4.16 4.76 5.68 5.81 5.98 6.49 6.90 6.77 6.01 4.78 3.96 3.63
Macon 3.76 4.24 5.03 5.52 5.58 5.16 5.24 5.07 4.84 4.96 4.18 3.73

Some months, Sevilla has a bit more sun. But in part of the fall, we have more sun.

Maybe we should start thinking bigger around here. And if we’ve got the sun for a big solar plant, we’ve got the sun for a lot of little rooftop solar panels. How about if we put Valdosta, Lowndes County, and south Georgia on the solar map so everyone will hear of us?


U.S. has plenty of solar energy everywhere —Jennifer DeCesaro of DoE

Jennifer DeCesaro of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) said she liked showing a map of U.S. insolation outside the U.S. southwest because then she could point out that Spain has not as good resources and a larger solar market, while Germany, the world leader in deployed solar, has solar resources like the state of Alaska. So the U.S. has plenty of solar energy everywhere.

She made a few other comparisons between U.S. and Germany. U.S.: 30% investment tax credit. Germany: National Feed-in Tariff.

She talked about SunShot: the Apollo mission of our time. It aims to reduce solar costs by 75% by the end of the decade, making solar cost-competitive with fossil fuels without subsidy.

Actual panels cost about the same in U.S. and Germany, but the rest Continue reading

We have plenty of sunshine here –Dr. Serrán-Pagán @ VCC 24 March 2011

Dr. Cristóbal Serrán-Pagán y Fuentes reminds us we don’t need a biomass plant because:
We have plenty of sunshine here.
You’d think the Valdosta City Council would know that, since only about a month ago Mayor Fretti assisted groundbreaking for Wiregrass Solar LLC. Maybe it takes somebody from Spain to remind everyone. Spain, which is a leader in solar power in the world. Spain, which is actually north of Georgia.

Here’s the video:

Protesters outside the
Regular meeting of the Valdosta City Council, 24 March 2011,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.