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Spain, which holds the solar plant shown here, is leading the EU's solar efforts. However its contributions could be a drop in the bucket compared to plans to get solar energy from the Saharan desert wasteland, where solar panels produce nearly 3 times as much power. Algeria and other Saharan nations plan to join with Europe in these efforts.  (Source: AP)
The largest fully industrialized populus in the world could be entirely powered by a small fraction of solar desert energy, according to new plan

The U.S. has some big plans for solar, both with building new power plants and through businesses and consumers adding solar panels to rooftops and unused land.  However, no U.S. solar effort thus far compares to the ambitious plan that European Union (EU) officials are considering.

At a Euroscience Open Forum in Barcelona, an EU science and policy hotbed Arnulf Jaeger-Waldau of the European commission's Institute for Energy unveiled a visionary plan, which he says could satisfy all of the EU's energy demands in coming years. 

Mr. Jaeger-Waldau proposed blanketing the Sahara Desert, an expanding uninhabited swath of wasteland, with solar panels.  He says that if just 0.3% of the intense solar energy falling on the Sahara was captured, it could power all of Europe.  Such a feat would require a solar platform far beyond current installations, approximately the size of Wales.  Still, when viewed against the backdrop of the vast, mostly uninhabited Sahara the large chunk of land looks no bigger than a postage stamp.

A broad variety of solar technologies were discussed as possibilities for the deployment.  They included parabolic dish collectors, a growing solar field, which focuses light via mirrors on water, boiling it.  Also discussed were the more traditional silicon based solar power plants consisting of arrays of photo-voltaic panels.

The researchers are also considering the construction of a supergrid of very high-power DC lines.  These lines would connect the Sahara solar infrastructure, wind power from the UK and Denmark, nuclear power plants across Europe, and excess geothermal energy from Iceland.  The grid would use its multiple varied sources to balance loads.  As DC lines lose far less power, the plan promises to be economical where AC lines (currently used in almost all power grids) would not be.

The plans have support from French President Nicholas Sarkozy and British PM Gordon Brown. 

Scientists are particularly excited about getting energy from the Sahara, as the panels are expected to generate nearly three times as much energy as those in Europe thanks to the intense, more direct sunlight.  Mr. Jaeger-Waldau and proponents of the plan admit it will take a great deal of work.  

Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and other Mediterranean nations currently are poorly interconnected in power grids.  While a power cable does exist between Morocco and Spain it is insufficient for the intense amount of power proposed, and would need to be expanded or replaced. The fully implemented DC-ready grid is projected to cost around $70B USD.  Ultimately the project would require an immense amount of construction, but this could have economic benefits for Europe, creating new jobs.

The plan follows current trends, though.  Algeria, which is located in Northern Africa and contains part of the Sahara, is already planning to export 6 GW of power to Europe by 2020.  To reach the final goal of complete power independence, scientists and politicians are proposing a more modest stepping stone goal.  They want by 2050 100 GW worth of power to be generated from solar projects in the Sahara.  The project would cost a lofty €450bn (approximately $700B USD), but would be staggered over many years and would yield power capacity equivalent to all electrical power currently generated in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Jaeger-Waldau believes that the larger solar farms will bring down costs for consumers.  He states, "The biggest PV system at the moment is installed in Leipzig and the price of the installation is €3.25 per watt.  If we could realize that in the Mediterranean, for example in southern Italy, this would correspond to electricity prices in the range of 15 cents per kWh, something below what the average consumer is paying."

The new plan comes from the commission's joint research centre (JRC), which is planning the EU's energy future.  Giovanni de Santi, director of the JRC, also speaking in Barcelona, stated of the new plan, "It recognises something extraordinary - if we don't put together resources and findings across Europe and we let go the several sectors of energy, we will never reach these targets."

The JRC plans on building infrastructure in a broad array of alternative energy classes, among them  fuel cells and hydrogen, clean coal, second generation biofuels, nuclear fusion, wind, nuclear fission and smart grids.  The JRC is tasked with accomplishing the EU's energy plan -- to cut the EU's energy consumption by 20 percent and to have 20 percent of the remaining consumption provided by alternative energy by 2020.



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No thanks
By martinrichards23 on 7/24/2008 11:51:37 AM , Rating: 4
I'd rather rely on nuclear for a few decades. By then technology will hopefully mean a project like this is actually realistically possible.

In the mean time it just looks like a fantasy.

p.s. Please don't put the solar panels in the Middle East, I'd rather pay more and have them somewhere else.




RE: No thanks
By AnnihilatorX on 7/24/2008 11:57:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
p.s. Please don't put the solar panels in the Middle East, I'd rather pay more and have them somewhere else.


Last time I checked Sahara is in Africa


RE: No thanks
By martinrichards23 on 7/24/2008 12:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I meant because previous talk was of this sort of this in the Middle East.


RE: No thanks
By theapparition on 7/24/2008 12:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. Africa. An area that's only slightly more stable than the Middle East.

As we've seen in the US, energy dependence is a hot topic, and it's clear that energy is vital to our national security, both militarily and economically. (Same for the EU or most other industrialized nations for that matter.)

The absolutely last thing I'm going to do is put my entire country's future energy supply in the hands of a foreign nation.

What happens one day when there is a dispute (or political change) that stops the flow of energy. Lights out for the EU. Don't say that can't happen. Already happened in Venezuela.

Dumb is a pure understatement for this project.


RE: No thanks
By rivercat on 7/24/2008 1:01:04 PM , Rating: 1
It doesn't really matter for the EU. In another 20 years (or less), they'll all be Muslim countries.


RE: No thanks
By Eri Hyva on 7/24/2008 1:25:43 PM , Rating: 1
?

What has religion to do with this?
How would that change our energy needs here in Europe if we all convert to Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism or let's say Rastafari or Hare Krishna.

(BTW: Here we can believe whatever we choose, seems to be a little bit different there in spite of the constitution)


RE: No thanks
By Jim28 on 7/24/2008 11:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
That is quite dumb.

If the countries are converted to ISLAM, then you won't have stife with your buddies in North Africa would you? Of course being Europeans, you guys can generate strife with anyone.


RE: No thanks
By Spuke on 7/25/2008 1:57:03 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If the countries are converted to ISLAM, then you won't have stife with your buddies in North Africa would you?
I guess the differences between the Shiite's and Sunni's that result in continuous, violent conflict over the past few thousand years aren't considered strife.


RE: No thanks
By Jim28 on 7/25/2008 3:34:55 PM , Rating: 1
Not near as much as Islam versus anything else.


RE: No thanks
By boogle on 7/27/2008 8:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course being Europeans, you guys can generate strife with anyone.


Heh, because European countries have been invading multiple countries recently. Oh wait...


RE: No thanks
By masher2 (blog) on 7/27/2008 8:30:18 PM , Rating: 3
> "Heh, because European countries have been invading multiple countries recently. Oh wait... "

You mean, besides the massive genocide and conflicts in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia, Albania's invasion of Macedonia, Russia's continuing occupation of Chechnya and Moldava, France's attacks on Cote d'Ivoire in 2004, and France's support of the 2008 invasion of Comoros? That's all in the past 10-15 years. If one goes back 40 or 50 years, the list gets wholly outrageous.


RE: No thanks
By thezorry on 8/8/2008 1:39:04 PM , Rating: 2
lol

It's so funny to receive humanitary lessons from the only people who used a nuclear device to exterminate civilians. ;)

Hope someday everyone pays for their acts, not depending who they are. We didn't have time to make Truman pay but Karadzic is paying now, and I hope Bush pays soon. No one american/asian/european should be free after been responsible of what they've done.

Peace


RE: No thanks
By Mr Alpha on 7/24/2008 1:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, by the time EU gets this thing built, northern Africa will be part of EU.


RE: No thanks
By Yawgm0th on 7/24/2008 1:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yep. Africa. An area that's only slightly more stable than the Middle East.

Africa is more stable than the Middle East? By what metric of stability did you come to this determination? It's problematic to compare a geopolitical region with a continent, especially one in which it partially resides. Even doing so I can't see how one could possibly come to the conclusion that the Middle East is less stable than Africa.

quote:
The absolutely last thing I'm going to do is put my entire country's future energy supply in the hands of a foreign nation.

Most countries do this to some extent already. Certainly, much of the world (including most of Europe and North America) relies on energy (namely oil) from some of these allegedly unstable Middle Eastern countries.

Admittedly, few nations rely entirely on energy sources provided by or located in another nation, but I wasn't under the impression that that is the plan proposed here. Putting solar power in the Sahara would only be one of many power sources used by Europe. They're certainly not going to close down nuclear, hydroelectric, or geothermal plants because of this. If anything, I'm thinking that this is more about switching to a clean energy source, given the general feelings of most Europeans on the subject.

This plan is only far-fetched due to its likely prohibitive cost and low returns, and even those I'm not so sure about.


RE: No thanks
By theapparition on 7/24/2008 8:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Africa is more stable than the Middle East?

I said slightly :)

I know exactly what your trying to get at, but facts remain that many of the Sahara nations are only partially tolerant of "western" ideals. A simple polical/religious shift would be disasterous.

quote:
Most countries do this to some extent already. Certainly, much of the world (including most of Europe and North America) relies on energy (namely oil) from some of these allegedly unstable Middle Eastern countries.

Once again.....I said FUTURE energy supply.
Oil is one thing. Tomorrow, we could completely stop the importation of all oil from the middle east. There are other sources for oil. Instead, let's pump 70+Billion into infrastructure plus the cost of the solar station itself, that could become completely worthless as the polical winds change.
If you don't see the difference, your truely lost.


RE: No thanks
By Yawgm0th on 7/24/2008 10:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I said slightly :) I know exactly what your trying to get at, but facts remain that many of the Sahara nations are only partially tolerant of "western" ideals. A simple polical/religious shift would be disasterous.


Actually this answers my question exactly as expected. The metric you've used is tolerance towards the west, which is much higher in the Middle East than many realize. Unfortunately this is almost irrelevant when Africa and political stability are the subjects. Many, dare I say most African nations have internal issues or issues with each other to the point that the entire continent is in a near-constant state of war, genocide, civil strife, and regime changes. The Middle East, at least until our invasion of Iraq, was relatively stable. Israel may have a conflict with Hamas, or Hezbollah here and there, but that is only significant because of the religious and political interests of the West. Modern Israel and friends are a drop in the bucket compared to Rwanda, Sudan, etc.

quote:
Once again.....I said FUTURE energy supply. Oil is one thing. Tomorrow, we could completely stop the importation of all oil from the middle east. There are other sources for oil. Instead, let's pump 70+Billion into infrastructure plus the cost of the solar station itself, that could become completely worthless as the polical winds change. If you don't see the difference, your truely lost.
The United States (and its number one oil supplier, Canada) could actually sustain that, albeit at a crippling increase in the cost of oil, but many countries across the Atlantic, namely Europeans, simply could not. The cost of oil would devastate them.

I can see the difference, but when it comes down to it a big solar array in the Sahara is no more politically shaky than oil imports from the Persian Gulf. The European Union could, if push came to shove, militarily secure such an installation for as long as necessary. In the Middle East, a regime change here or sectarian conflict there means most of the world encounters major energy problems that can't be solved by pen or sword. This our future AND present energy.


RE: No thanks
By Aloonatic on 7/24/2008 11:58:44 AM , Rating: 5
Let's compromise, maybe the WU could build a load of nuclear power stations in the middle of the desert?

As someone pointed out, how are they going to stop these solar panels from being sand blasted to nothingness, or completely buried under the rapidly shifting sands of the desert?

Still, at least these things are being looked into, but I'm not sure that I will be happy to be relying on these power sources alone, but I guess it wont be like that during my life time.

[joking]

This project is going to rely on Intel and Microsoft behaving rather badly for a long time in order to fund it.

[/joking]


environment
By tastyratz on 7/24/2008 11:53:25 AM , Rating: 3
While this does appear to be an excellent idea and a great utilization of otherwise wasted landspace There are a few issues.
1. The ground is not very stable because of the ever changing dunes - how do they plan on supporting the foundation of which to build on a short and long term basis?
2. Sand blowing in the wind would probably be erosive. Mirrors and panels would probably not last very long being sandblasted all day and having a matt finish in the end.

Thats a very harsh environment to be building in, I am curious how they are engineering it.




RE: environment
By SandmanWN on 7/24/2008 12:09:00 PM , Rating: 2
There are a few more issues to consider. One being Algeria has spent most of the 90's in civil war.

What is Europe's relationship with Algeria? And the other nations along the northern Sahara? I'm sure Libya would be receptive right? lol

What will happen when/if that relationship turns bad? Will their relationship with OPEC cause issues?

What sort of protection will be needed so some militant faction doesn't ride into the desert and single handedly cripple the power supply for all of Europe.

The only factor isn't just the weather but an entire continent whose more prominent news real over the past decades has been whens the next military coup or whens the next genocidal maniac going to gain control.


RE: environment
By ksherman on 7/24/2008 12:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
Bingo


RE: environment
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 12:26:33 PM , Rating: 5
> " One being Algeria has spent most of the 90's in civil war."

Exactly. Europe's plan for "energy independence" involves outsourcing all its energy production to a region more war-torn and full of dictatorial regimes than the Middle East.

Nice Plan.


RE: environment
By Strunf on 7/24/2008 1:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder where you read "all its energy" when the article clearly speaks of other sources of energy in EU countries...


RE: environment
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 5:17:50 PM , Rating: 3
> "I wonder where you read "all its energy"..."

From the article headline...the part that says "could power the entire EU".

If that isn't a clear implication that solar power is viable as a sole solution, I don't know what is.


RE: environment
By ceefka on 8/18/2008 9:34:14 AM , Rating: 2
That still doesn't meant all power for the EU will come from solar power in the Sahara exclusively.

Since they talk about a "small" percentage of the entire Sahara (by 2050) I can only imagine a lot of diplomatic efforts to "secure" the area. The countries that have the solar plants might benefit from those as well, thereby sharing an interest in keeping them safe and operational.

Let's just start with Tunesia and Morocco. They are friendly countries to the EU. The doubts I have are with Algeria (what is their political status?), future Egypt (Mubarrak has to go some day) and Lybia (what is Khadafi's point of view?).


RE: environment
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2008 12:17:26 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah irregardless of the actual durability, I was wondering how exactly they plan to keep it the solar panels, mirrors, etc clean. The desert is not a static landscape. It changes daily, even hourly.

A solar farm could potentially be buried in the sand inside of a month.


RE: environment
By 2nd Abnormalized Form on 7/24/2008 1:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
Did a quick search, about 20% to 25% of the Sahara is the big, sandy, dune desert that usually comes to mind - it's not all sand and not sand all the way down. So there are places where building large installations can be done. That still leaves wind and dust issues, though.


RE: environment
By elessar1 on 7/24/2008 2:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sahara is not completely cover with sands...there are many "deserts" in the Sahara, some of them are stone plateaus perfect for the construction of solar plants...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara

cheers...


Didn't know the Sahara was owned by the EU?
By pauldovi on 7/24/2008 12:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
Is it their playground?




By jbartabas on 7/24/2008 12:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it has been for a while...

Now (part of) Europe tries to build "bilateral" bridges through a Mediterranean union, but there's a load of historical scars. Such a major project could be seen as a way to build these bridges, but I personally think it is a too sensitive matter (energy independence) that will be judged premature by most of the public and politicians.


RE: Didn't know the Sahara was owned by the EU?
By Strunf on 7/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Didn't know the Sahara was owned by the EU?
By Jim28 on 7/24/2008 11:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
Strunf you are quite defensive there aren't you. Must have hit a nerve!

jbart, you are entirely correct, there is no way this project would be polictically acceptable, or sensible in a national security sense even if the EU was counted as one big happy country, even though it definitely is not with all of the deep scars there.


RE: Didn't know the Sahara was owned by the EU?
By Strunf on 7/25/2008 3:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
Defensive? na more like aggressive... I just paid it back with the same coin. If I don't say the obvious who else will ? :D


RE: Didn't know the Sahara was owned by the EU?
By Jim28 on 7/25/2008 1:12:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually you have been dishing it out, not paying anyone back. Looking at this whole thread you have a bone to pick with America, and you coveniently brush under the rug all of Europe's problems, past wars, historical mistrust of one another, and current selfish actions. I think it would be best for you to simply shut up about it, as neither Europe, nor America look very good when you use the same measuring stick on foreign policy. (ie. pot calling the kettle black.)


RE: Didn't know the Sahara was owned by the EU?
By Strunf on 7/25/2008 4:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
A bone to pick with America? no way dude, why the hell should I speak of the EU problems when this article is about solar energy... it's "you" that seem to have a problem with the EU if not how can you explain that in every single article that is related to the EU will inevitably get dozens of comments dissing Europe without a single word about what the article is really about...

Besides give me a break will ya I'm on commenting on enemy territory and loosing points by merely stating the obvious.


By Jim28 on 7/25/2008 5:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think one of you fellow Europeans started this trip!
Eva I belive?
"(But it seems in the US everything is split in half, on/off, either/or, with us/against us. Very much not needed and at the same time totally unrealistic)"

I don't have a problem with the EU at all.
I am not responsible for other people's postings. (Duh.)


By HrilL on 7/24/2008 6:49:43 PM , Rating: 3
Playground? You mean Sand Box?


Well...
By DASQ on 7/24/2008 11:50:14 AM , Rating: 2
Besides the minor inconvenience of getting that power from the middle of a desert to some kind of major urban/industrial centre, how exactly do they plan to reinforce the solar farm to withstand desert conditions? I'm not an engineer by any measure, but such a massive building project in an environment like a desert can't be exactly simple.

And if they're going to build it the size of Wales, they might as well just go ahead and build it far larger.




RE: Well...
By deadrats on 7/24/2008 12:01:19 PM , Rating: 1
i have a better question: instead of this over-the-top proposal (with it's many technical hurdles) why not change the building codes and simply say that all buildings must be built with a combination of solar panels and small wind turbines on their roof's so that they don't rely on any grid to bring them power.

such a change would eliminate the possibility of blackouts, of course it would also eliminate the need from power companies as we know them, which is probably why they won't do it.

still, i have seen private homes built like this and while the initial additional costs to the price of construction is significant, not having any monthly electric or heating bills and not being effected by a brown/black out is pretty nice.


RE: Well...
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2008 12:14:27 PM , Rating: 3
So what happens on a cloudy, windless day?

This isn't imagination land.


RE: Well...
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2008 12:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
Let me also add that even private homes with solar power are hooked into the grid. Because of the reason above. Florida gets lots of sun. But there are weeks where there's almost no sun.

And much of Europe is hardly the ideal solar power location.


RE: Well...
By Jedi2155 on 7/27/2008 8:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I think this could work if they just keep the nuke's for backup in case such an emergency does occur. I mean the plants are already built, and if you keep half of them running (or some other ratio), you could balance your sources of clean energy to prevent it from being so dangerous.


Helps Africa, helps Europe
By Lonyo on 7/24/2008 11:53:37 AM , Rating: 3
Reduces emissions in Europe from fossil fuel based plants, while (hopefully) supplying some African nations with a source of income from European nations who buy the power, while not damaging the environment.
This assumes that the construction of large arrays can be done in an environmentally and sustainable manner.

Cost forecasts are a bit silly though. Are they talking 450bn of todays money, 450bn after inflation (looking from now to 2005, that's a lot of inflation), and how much are they accounting for reductions in prices of technology and increases in efficiency?
40 or so years for a project which uses what's currently pretty leading edge technologies means that what we start with now and what we end up with could be very very different things with hugely different costs to any estimates, and makes the hwole thing pretty pointless.




RE: Helps Africa, helps Europe
By ksherman on 7/24/2008 12:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
Kind of like when the US Governement decided to use the precious metal Aluminum for the dome on the congressional building, only a few years later, a major break through in the production of Aluminum meant that dome was nearly worthless. At least compared to how much was paid for it.


RE: Helps Africa, helps Europe
By JustTom on 7/24/2008 1:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
The current, second, dome of the Capitol building is made of cast iron, not aluminum.

The first dome was copper plated wood.


By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/24/2008 2:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
i believe he meant the cap on the washington monument


By Mystery Meat on 7/24/2008 1:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
EUreferendum debunks this proposal pretty thoroughly.

...currently, European nations operate 197 nuclear power plant units with a capacity of 170 GW, and that accounts for one fifth of total capacity. By that reckoning, Europe works on about 850 GW, yet this lady is happy to run a story suggesting that the whole of Europe can be satisfied with 100 GW. In fact, by 2050, Europe will probably need in the order of 1000 GW, if not more.

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2008/07/gullible-...




By JustTom on 7/24/2008 1:36:42 PM , Rating: 2
Spot on.

In the next 20 years the estimate is Europe will need 300 GW of new electricity productive capacity (200 GW for replacement of aging plants and 100 GW to meet new demand). This plan, even if it is feasible does nothing more than meet the estimated growth in demand.


By jamdunc on 7/24/2008 1:38:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well sorry to say Mystery Meat but that EU referendum site quoted an article which didn't give the full story and so makes it's own argument defunct.

The article posted above quotes:

quote:
To reach the final goal of complete power independence, scientists and politicians are proposing a more modest stepping stone goal. They want by 2050 100 GW worth of power to be generated from solar projects in the Sahara.


So this 100GW is a modest stepping stone towards that goal. It never suggests that Europe will be satisfied with just 100GW, but that this will be the first step towards the goal of satisfying Europe.

I did also go and read the Daily Telegraph article and found it didn't contain as much info as could be found elsewhere. Do research, you might find that sometimes, people hide the truth to get their point across.


By Spuke on 7/25/2008 2:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do research, you might find that sometimes, people hide the truth to get their point across.
Hear. Hear.


Hmm..
By cokbun on 7/24/2008 1:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
how about a huge solar panel covered baloon or blimp that hovers above the clouds? It's better than putting something like this on a 3rd world country, with civil wars, extreme weather and stuffs

Anybody see the movie ' sahara ' ? ( with penelope cruz ) i saw the same thing already build there ! A spinoff from a movie? Or doest it really exist?




RE: Hmm..
By FITCamaro on 7/24/2008 2:12:57 PM , Rating: 2
So what happens when someone crashes a small plane into it?


RE: Hmm..
By Hakuryu on 7/24/2008 3:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
Or better yet, have a large satellite that is tethered by a line to the ground. They are already working on a robotic 'climber' that could climb a tether into space, so although this does sound rather clunky and way-out, someone is working on that aspect.
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/200...


RE: Hmm..
By danobrega on 7/24/2008 3:41:03 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't happen anything because the panels wound already have some meters of sand on top of them.


Libya 'halts Swiss oil shipments'
By kattanna on 7/24/2008 3:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7523537.stm

quote:
Libya's state shipping company says it has halted oil shipments to Switzerland in protest at the brief arrest of leader Muammar Gaddafi's youngest son.


honestly.. and this is the conditions on which EU wishes to further expand their dependence on?




By nOpeMan on 7/24/2008 3:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
Gaddafi is a crazy bastard, like the rest of his family. One of his son's was on holday's, here in switzerland. He was seen beating up one of his "slaves" with a long leatherbelt. We enprisoned him for a few day's and then let him go.

... so much about the oil story. Oh and by the side, switzerland is not in the EU ;).


By nOpeMan on 7/24/2008 3:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
Gaddafi is a crazy bastard, like the rest of his family. One of his son's was on holday's, here in switzerland. He was seen beating up one of his "slaves" with a long leatherbelt. We enprisoned him for a few day's and then let him go.

... so much about the oil story. Oh and by the side, switzerland is not in the EU ;).


Change location
By RabidDog on 7/24/2008 1:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
approximately the size of Wales

Why don't they just build it in Wales. This could solve 2 problems at once!

:)




RE: Change location
By Gastrian on 7/24/2008 6:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
Surely we'd need to have a bit of sun for solar panels to be of use?


double up
By Screwballl on 7/24/2008 2:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
From what I understand, the wind is blowing almost constantly in many areas of the Sahara as well so why not double up the power output in the area and place wind power rotors next to the solar panels. Not like the desert is being used for anything else...




RE: double up
By Dasickninja on 7/25/2008 2:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
You'd have basically the same issues that you'd get with solar, i.e destruction of habitat, and inability to work at capacity when the weather isn't playing ball.


Ocean
By danobrega on 7/24/2008 3:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
Ocean >>>> Desert.




RE: Ocean
By danobrega on 7/24/2008 3:30:44 PM , Rating: 2
Terraform the desert into a tropical jungl, and put solar panels floating on the ocean.


Just a thought
By Dasickninja on 7/25/2008 7:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
Will Africa get any of this power if this gets built or is this just another resource that the Europeans will take?




RE: Just a thought
By cornelius785 on 7/25/2008 10:29:29 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I'm thinking. One could argue Europe has exploited Africa (nevermind North America, South America, Australia, East Asia, India, etc.) for whatever they wanted/needed in the past. Seems like they want to get power (not for free) from Africa and money from various companies like Microsoft and Intel.

Looking at southern Europe, it seems like Spain and Portugal (along with other locations within Europe) are pretty sunny. Why not build there? It'll be in a political stable land, probably cheaper, losses from transmission will probably be lower, and so on. I need to look more into this, but who says Africa will say 'Yes'? I sure hope Africa gets a good deal out of it to, like cheap power and lots of money.


Talk about a jump!
By Amiga500 on 7/24/2008 11:58:28 AM , Rating: 2
The plans have support from French PM Nicholas Sarkozy and British PM Gordon Brown. The new plan knocks a hole in one traditional criticism of alternative energy, which states that its variable nature due to factors such as the weather would make it unviable for continuous power output.

1. I don't see anything other than hideous amounts of redundancy in this "plan" solving the variability issue. That specific problem is one of energy storage - there is no solution to it here that I see.

2. The plan also uses nuclear energy... I wonder what that is for?

3. Has there been any projections of the cost per KW/hr? After all, anyone can make a power grid with enough juice to feed the world from solar/wind/wave etc - but doing it at a price economies can afford is the problem




Poor Nicolas :-)
By jbartabas on 7/24/2008 12:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The plans have support from French PM Nicholas Sarkozy


LOL, after all his efforts to become president, Nicolas is now downgraded to PM again :_D You're tough Jason!

Coming back on topic, the concept of having a major portion of European energy being provided through Algeria (or any north African country) will probably raise political obstacles far more important than any technical one.




I have a better idea...
By ThatNewGuy on 7/24/2008 12:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
Tired of prisoners not contributing to society while locked up? Instead of getting an education and playing games, have them generate electricity by having them run on big wheels! They could easily stay in shape and benefit society! Everyone wins!

/sarcasm




The U.S. has Deserts...
By Cheapshot on 7/24/2008 1:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
The abundance of energy the U.S. had in days past is what brought it to power... the E.U. konws this of course, but with constantly increasing demands... and the overall cost of this project... I would think the break even point will come quicker than anticipated.

With an influx of power will come an influx of work and with todays mindset and the need to act quickly before the next guy... I would imagine the power promised is already being bid on behind closed doors... or at least being considered for a multitude of new government and business solutions.

Just a thought.




Duality
By mezman on 7/24/2008 4:56:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah! Let's paint the floor of the Sahara with solar arrays! There's no way that could have an ecological impact! Not like coal...right?




Good information on this subject
By majBUZZ on 7/24/2008 5:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-...

This seems like a logical approch.




Shortages?
By Gastrian on 7/24/2008 6:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
I thought there was a shortage of the material required for LCD and solar panels ands we'd run out within the decade.




By phxfreddy on 7/24/2008 7:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with these dilute sources of energy is that with current technology they will probably never be built fast enough to catch up with demand.

Nuclear plants however with lower amounts of material / labor probably would

The environMENTAL crowd just can not be bothered with those confusing number thingys. It makes their dizzy little heads swim. They need easy things like HOPE and CHANGE so they do not blow a fuse.




All just economics
By 2nd Abnormalized Form on 7/24/2008 9:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I can tell, the only practical question is can the power be produced economically? All of the technology exists and is in use, including the solar plants. None of the political and/or security problems seem to be all that different from those already being dealt with and managed for existing energy sources, resources and installations. I'm not saying it will be cheap or easy, just that I don't see anything new.

On the potential upside, fairly clean energy, diversification of energy resources, and the producing countries now have an interest (paying customers) in Europe that might help mitigate any testy political relationships a bit.

But again, what's the cost? Can it be sold?




By teckytech9 on 7/25/2008 1:56:05 AM , Rating: 2
I hope the scientists did a study to find the economic benefits of using thin film technology where it belongs, the rooftops. Granted, the sun does not always shine in Europe, but in the summer months, solar rules the day.

What is needed is more government subsidies for solar power installations directly to homeowners and businesses.

This solar array is bound to run into cost overruns and technology inefficiencies in the years following its completion. Transmission line expenditures and future upgrades will only add to costs. Thin film technology and the daily breakthroughs in efficiency is a better alternative to silicon in the future.




Sand
By nstott on 7/25/2008 2:30:01 AM , Rating: 2
Have fun keeping the blowing and shifting sand off and out of the panels.

BTW, while I'm all for developing solar energy, it's funny how the Sahara Desert is a "barren wasteland" when enviros want to develop solar energy but ANWR is a "pristine natural habitat" when the idea of developing for oil extraction is proposed for the most barren area of ANWR while using a smaller area than a vast EU solar farm would take up.




By cornelius785 on 7/25/2008 10:51:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see how this would work along with a report generated from actual power engineers, not just some political 'know-it-alls' doing some calculations or a reporter trying to look smart. I've read many of my concerns being discussed by others already. What I'm also concerned about is the stability of the power grid. It is already known that too much reliance on wind power can destabilized the power grid. What happens to the grid when a few lines are cut? Will the grid be able to cope with it and stop a vast majority of Europe going dark? I'd like to see proof that the power grid is resilient enough to deal with next to everything. We've all seen what happened to the American grid in August 2003, right?

Until I see the hard proof (from the people who will design it) showing that it will work, I will think the EU officials that thought this up are smoking crack.




Terrorism
By foxtrot9 on 7/25/2008 4:10:27 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about a prime target for terrorist attacks...




Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Umm, what?
By Grast on 7/24/2008 12:15:46 PM , Rating: 1
Masher,

I know you are the man for this question. What is the efficiency for long range high voltage DC transmission? I have always heard and believed that transmission of electricty regardless of AC or DC is waistful due to resistance of the energy carrier; copper & alluminimum.

Later.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 12:22:24 PM , Rating: 1
About 5% per 1000 miles is the standard figure for HVDC. The only problem is that the lines and especially the required inverters are ungodly expensive. The article quotes a figure of $70B just to run the transmission lines for this project, regardless of the cost of the solar cells. My own back-of-the-envelope calculation leads me to believe that figure is a bit optimistic.


RE: Umm, what?
By martinrichards23 on 7/24/2008 12:34:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My own back-of-the-envelope calculation


If only the people pushing this idea had done even that.


RE: Umm, what?
By lukasbradley on 7/24/2008 12:44:45 PM , Rating: 5
You're right. We should assume we are the experts, given we have plenty of envelopes.


RE: Umm, what?
By jbartabas on 7/24/2008 12:47:21 PM , Rating: 4
Isn't what "the internet" does, making us experts in everything? ;-)


RE: Umm, what?
By Strunf on 7/24/2008 1:39:12 PM , Rating: 3
Wikipedia is the number 1 school for that :D


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Umm, what?
By redsquid5 on 7/24/2008 3:26:03 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, 1500 miles is roughly about right, London to the Sahara. A huge portion of Europe is easily within transmission distance with acceptable line losses.
Looks like the folks did do the calculation.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 4:03:19 PM , Rating: 1
With current AC lines, line losses would be prohibitive. With HVDC transmission, the losses would be acceptable, but the costs -- assuming a system that would power all Europe -- would be boosted by hundreds of billions of dollars, excluding the costs of the PV cells themselves.

The net result is power that is far more costly than nuclear or hydro...and you still need those plants anyway, for when the sun doesn't shine. So why even build the solar array in the first place?


RE: Umm, what?
By 306maxi on 7/24/2008 5:24:21 PM , Rating: 5
There's a cloud to every silver lining with you isn't there?


RE: Umm, what?
By just4U on 7/24/2008 7:03:05 PM , Rating: 1
What I want to know is if its possible to build this... is there no effective means to store the energy (like a reserve)for times when the sun isn't shining?

Also what effect would there be on the environment? I don't imagine solar panels just pop up out of thin air, or grow on trees.

The last question would be is there any down side.. Does the planet take some sort of hit with this technology? Typically it all sounds so good till it's in use and then you start hearing the downside.. after that their trying to ban it because it's unsafe. It's a no win proposition.


RE: Umm, what?
By 2nd Abnormalized Form on 7/24/2008 9:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
I believe there are already solar plants built and in use in several countries, although some may be demonstration scale plants, such as Eqypt, Brazil, and the U.S.
Energy storage is the tricky bit, but one method is as stored heat. Melt some metal salts using the heat/power generated, then use the heat to produce energy when the sun goes down.


RE: Umm, what?
By drebo on 7/25/2008 12:51:17 AM , Rating: 1
Considering the highly toxic chemicals involved in the creation of solar cells and the millions of habitats destroyed by covering the Sahara with solar arrays, yes, I'd say there is a HUGE environmental impact with this solution.


RE: Umm, what?
By ViroMan on 7/25/2008 4:04:51 AM , Rating: 3
Your right. By blocking the sun from reaching the ground you create shade, thus lowering the temperature of the area by 10-20 degrees. You might be able to grow something in that shade. Soon the Sahara will be blooming with plants under solar panels. lol


RE: Umm, what?
By freaqie on 7/25/2008 4:05:30 AM , Rating: 2
that depends on what you are using. solar cells ok.
but the pollution is made elsewhere.
(also i know no better place to pollute then the sahara desert.unlike any odd landfill it has almost no animals / plants to harm.)
point is that solar enegry can be harvested in many ways
photovoltaic cells (low maintenance expensive and inefficient)
but also stirling engines. (no environmental impact low maintenance and efficient medium cost)
or even a cheap steamgenerated powered by the sun.
(high maintenace medium efficiency low cost)
these last do not pollute.
and photovoltaic cells do not either
(atleast not where they are placed.)


RE: Umm, what?
By piroroadkill on 7/25/2008 5:26:48 AM , Rating: 2
It's not going to make the Sahara worse somehow, that's for sure, if anything it might make it habitable


RE: Umm, what?
By geddarkstorm on 7/25/2008 12:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
What part of "wasteland" and "desert" didn't make sense? There's nothing out there plant wise unless you find an oasis. Might as well be complaining about destroying habitat when covering the moon in solar panels.

In all reality, we'd be /creating/ habitat by producing shade where animals can hide in and where water can collect.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 1:11:06 PM , Rating: 1
> "There's nothing out there plant wise unless you find an oasis"

Spoken like a true urbanite who has never set foot in a desert.

quote:
The Sahara Desert is often described as a bleak and barren plain. In truth, it is very beautiful and full of different Sahara Desert plants....
http://www.factsmonk.com/Sahara_Desert_Plants

A list of some of the 100+ plants which thrive in US deserts:

http://www.desertusa.com/flora.html

The amusing this is that, if a massive new oil deposit was found in the Mojave or the Sahara, you people would be the first to claim the environmental cost of drilling it was far too high.

> "In all reality, we'd be /creating/ habitat by producing shade where animals can hide "

Desert animals either hide underground or they don't need shade at all. What they *do* need is the plant food chain. And desert plants need sun to grow, not shade.


RE: Umm, what?
By geddarkstorm on 7/25/2008 1:46:07 PM , Rating: 4
Hmm, what is the density of such plants? Looking at areal and ground based pictures of the middle Sahara, I see a disturbing lack of plant life http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara . There are areas of it that have life, oasis and the Nile area, and the border areas of the desert, but there are definitely whole swaths with nothing but sand. The Sahara is not like US deserts, I'm afraid, which I have been in, and set foot in, by the way. The ecological density is basically nonexistent in many regions of that desert, and adding shaded areas with solar panels will only benefit what few creatures may be there. Seriously, shall we complain about killing grass when we step on it too?


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 2:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "Hmm, what is the density of such plants?"

Higher than one finds in the Arctic tundra, an area you claim is too sensitive to allow drilling a few small holes:

http://gallery.maiman.net/d/9771-2/arctic.png

Permanent shade doesn't "help" desert plants, plain and simple. They need light to grow. Covering 10,000 square miles of desert with solar cells means you've created a 10,000 square mile area totally without life.


RE: Umm, what?
By Spuke on 7/25/2008 2:19:33 PM , Rating: 1
Environmentalism is just another form of control over the masses. They are simply another group that wants to be in charge. Therefore, whatever they do or not do is ok but whatever someone outside of their group does or does not do is NOT ok. Even if that action or inaction is the same thing.


RE: Umm, what?
By geddarkstorm on 7/25/2008 2:28:02 PM , Rating: 3
You just don't get it. Firstly, when have I /ever/ claimed that the Arctic is too sensitive to drill in? I believe, personally and from ecological studies done around existing pipelines, that the small foot print of new oil drilling there would only help matters. Nice warm pipelines are a great boon to life in that place. Sooooo, get off that horse, please.

Secondly, where are there any claims anywhere that the Sahara has a higher density of plant life than the arctic, especially if you exclude the dense hot pockets of life that are oasis, boarder, and Nile river valley? I've come across none, I'm afraid. Tundra plants have /water/ to thrive off of, even in a frozen form it does become liquid long enough for uptake. In areas where water doesn't become liquid long enough, areas that are too cold, higher in the arctic or like the Antarctic, there are no plants! Also some of those plants can generate their own heat (heating is easy, cooling is not!)--and since it's so cold and metabolic reactions are so slow, very little water and photosynthesis is needed to keep the plants alive and growing at the extremely slow rates they grow at.
Half the Sahara area gets only 2cm of water per year, and sometimes multiple years without any rainfall, which is not enough water necessary for plant life. Photosynthesis needs a constant supply of water to occur, be it stored like with cacti, or rainfall/oasis/rivers. 2cm a year is a little too low for even cacti. Seriously, Masher, have you looked at pictures and video of the Sahara outside of the Nile, boarder, or oasis? There's nothing there to any significant density extent. US deserts get a lot more water; the middle Sahara is /not/ like any of them.

Finally, I know you are harping about all this to try to promote nuclear, and I'm right there with you, that nuclear is the best power source for us at this time. However, trying to bring up ecological objections is utterly silly. Actually make proper objections, such as they are spending horrible amounts of money on the project they could otherwise spend on a few nuclear plants in their own countries. You can't build nuclear plants in the Sahara due to lack of water (as all designs for such plants need water for power generation and cooling), so solar is the only way to go really if you are obsessively set on building power plants in that desert in the first place. And apparently Europe may just be so.


RE: Umm, what?
By Spuke on 7/25/2008 3:31:26 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Half the Sahara area gets only 2cm of water per year, and sometimes multiple years without any rainfall, which is not enough water necessary for plant life.
http://www.factsmonk.com/Sahara_Desert_Plants

I guess you missed this one.


RE: Umm, what?
By piroroadkill on 7/25/2008 5:23:32 AM , Rating: 3
Pumped storage, my friend, already exists in Wales http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_power_statio...

Pump water up to a big resevoir when power is oversupplied, and when power is needed, empty it back down across a hydro plant


RE: Umm, what?
By Penti on 7/26/2008 1:12:22 AM , Rating: 2
It's an old idea from the hydro-era, we have/had such plants in Sweden that was built in the 30's. Of course they where small like 14MW. But all since 1930's they have been quite heavily used/built. There are hundreds of them around the world, several with over 1000 MW in Europe. Nothing new or revolutionary. I don't think we'll see any significant increase of pumped storage hydro. Except that the ones that are being built will just as in the 80's and 90's or early 00's be very large ones. There are many huge ones in the US for that matter.


RE: Umm, what?
By Yossarian22 on 7/27/2008 11:50:50 PM , Rating: 2
Brilliant!
We shall store our energy in the form of water.
And we shall store this water in the middle of the Sahara Desert! What could possibly go wrong?


RE: Umm, what?
By Jim28 on 7/28/2008 8:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
How are you going to contain the energy loss of the stored energy(water) due to evaporation losses in the dry air of the Sahara.


RE: Umm, what?
By snownpaint on 7/25/2008 11:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
I think it is a lousy idea.. We shouldn't look at other methods of getting energy. "NO" to testing new ideas, seeing them in practice, then maybe building on them. The cost of a war for a year , $120b/year, is better spent, then something that could power 1/10 of the world populace during peak energy usage hours, for 10 years. If they built this contraption, they would never see a return on their billions, unlike the war. By skipping on this we can save the sand. Save the Sand, Save the encroaching desert! Plus, I like the mining for heavy metals, coal and oil all over the world. The idea of a large storage facilities for nuclear waste in hollowed out Mtns and France, makes me warm and fuzzy. Diversification of energy sources.. pah!. Put all your chips in non-renewable sources. Block that ball in the sky that is heating our earth, end global warming.

sorry, I read to many negative remarks all the time on this site.."too much money" "what about the sand lizards" "what about night time" "it cheaper to make nuclear" blah blah blah.

Hows that rut feel? it nice to follow the rut..


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 12:08:20 PM , Rating: 4
> "The cost of a war for a year , $120b/year, is better spent, then something that could power 1/10 of the world populace"

The cost of this proposal isn't $120B. It's far, far higher. The cost of the power lines alone would be $70B. Conservatively, the cost of the array itself would touch $1000B, plus annual maintenace.

Furthermore, it wouldn't power 1/10 of the world populace....it would provide 1/10 of the world populace with 1/10 the power they need for roughly 40% of the time.

> "Plus, I like the mining for heavy metals, coal and oil all over the world."

Do you honestly believe tens of thousands of square miles of solar cells can be built without mining for resources?

> "Save the Sand, Save the encroaching desert!"

The "sand" as you put it is a biome at least as active as the Arctic circle...an area environmentalists consider far too precious to place a few small derricks. Yet wallpapering the Sahara with solar cells would most assuredly disrupt the habitat far more severely than oil drilling would.

> ""it cheaper to make nuclear" blah blah blah."

When your electric bill rises from $150/m to $800/m, you might wish you'd been a little more concerned about the cost of supplying that power. Solar power is 2-5x more expensive than nuclear even straight up. Add energy storage to the mix, and solar power can be 10-20x as costly.


RE: Umm, what?
By lompocus on 7/26/2008 2:39:02 AM , Rating: 3
Masher: Shut Up!

Use some sense man, and realize these new energy sources are expensive but much, much more reliable, much more efficient, and are much cheaper in the long run.

My energy bill might as well be 10000 dollars a month when I set up solar paneling on my roof in the near future. In the super long run, though, I'll have saved on half or more of my energy bill.

What do they do with th emoney they save from not doing this?>


RE: Umm, what?
By Jim28 on 7/28/2008 8:49:58 PM , Rating: 2
Gee that was an insightful post.

I don't think anyone here opposes new forms of energy when they make economic sense. Why pay more for less? Duh!

If you want to spend more of your money on silly things or something to make you feel better, then cut Uncle Sam a check, otherwise you shut up.


RE: Umm, what?
By JasonMick (blog) on 7/24/2008 12:22:23 PM , Rating: 3
That sentence refers to the fact that the plan includes heavy draws upon wind and nuclear power sources as well as others like geothermal, as discussed in the article.

Weather patterns that cause decrease in solar, would likely pump up wind as most storm system have wind. Granted the timing would be different and storms blowing up from Africa might miss part of Europe, but still it seems like by going on multiple power sources and adopting a more modern grid (ie. with storage for when production drops necessitate using saved power) such a grid would be feasible within the next 100 years. And their interim goals seem possible.

As to the economic impact, it will undoubtedly cost a bundle, but it will also create a ton of jobs for the construction, which should be a big boost on the economy. And expansion of solar, nuclear, and wind infrastructure should create some more long term maintenance and operation jobs.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 12:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
> "That sentence refers to the fact that the plan includes heavy draws upon wind and nuclear power sources as well as others like geothermal"

Translation: solar power requires nuclear, to be available more than a fraction of the time. In other words, exactly what I've been saying.

> "Weather patterns that cause decrease in solar, would likely pump up wind "

Oops, on the contrary, wind speed is generally lower at night. It may be higher in a storm, true...but storm-speed winds generally shut down wind turbines as well, as too dangerous for the machinery.


RE: Umm, what?
By mars777 on 7/24/2008 10:59:09 PM , Rating: 5
You sometimes seem like a moron when pushing you point...

quote:
solar power requires nuclear


Just replace "requires" with something appropriate and it will sound better...


RE: Umm, what?
By Darkskypoet on 7/26/2008 12:56:18 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you. I tire of Masher pushing nuclear all the time. Every article, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear... Blah Blah Blah. We get it Masher. Honestly, we do. Any one reading this site for even a week out of the past number of years knows of you love for nuclear. Can we get past that now?

Seriously, the need for base production is accurate, the fact that it factors into this plan is mentioned in the article. However, your 'nuclear' all the time, every time, still falls into an old way of seeing power generation. That of the massive centralized production point feeding into a one way push down grid. The same sorts of grids that will experience continuing instability in North America, and other industrial countries.

While I am skeptical of another massively centralized generation and transmission scheme, I like the tidbits mentioned that seem to hint at a more decentralized grid with local storage, and ability for better use of net metering etc.

If they are going to spend billions rebuilding their grid, utilizing a more intelligent transmission / storage system that can take advantage of both individual an collective attempts at utilizing alternative forms of energy (read wind, solar, waste gas collection, multiple hydro forms, etc) as well as spreading the base load generation of existing and new build centralized sources (read fission, fusion, clean coal, gas, oil, etc) then I am honestly all for it.

Europe, is merging a huge variety of distribution and transmission systems with varying underlying standards. This on top of the density of transmission / generation requirements makes it a rather unique situation in the world. China, with the population density, gets to pretty much build most of this from scratch under one regime, similarly, the U.S has pretty much had one standard to follow for the majority of the 'Electric Age', and one Federal government under which to build. This sort of project, aside from the rather unclear benefits of the Sahara Sun Spot, is probably going to become quite important to ensure a much more efficient transfer of power generation across the EU, and as such will provide economic benefits beyond what we can see at this point. Further it may serve to lower power bills, and decrease the regulatory, and physical resource requirements to enter the generation market, as such a modern grid would allow for new generation sources to be integrated into the 'grid' far more efficiently, and possibly reaching far more customers then is the case currently.

So yes Masher, Nuclear has its upsides and as a source of base power generation is pretty damn great. That being said, Nuclear plants almost always run over budget, over time, and the costs of decommissioning, and waste storage for hundreds of years, hardly ever make it into the figures quoted for generation costs per KWh. So keep that in mind when you get on your Fiss-tastic soap box.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/26/2008 1:24:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
still falls into an old way of seeing power generation. That of the massive centralized production point feeding into a one way push down grid. The same sorts of grids that will experience continuing instability in North America, and other industrial countries
Apparently you didn't read the article. What else is a massive Saharan solar farm feeding all of Europe but massive, centralized production?

quote:
Nuclear plants almost always run over budget, over time
Sure, because every plant faces legal challenges from environmental groups that stall contruction for years, and adds billions in costs and interest. That's not a fault of the technology, though -- it's a fault of the people who protest it.


RE: Umm, what?
By Eri Hyva on 7/26/2008 1:55:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
masher2: What else is a massive Saharan solar farm feeding all of Europe but massive, centralized production?


From European point of view this project is decentralization, compared to current situation. At the moment we import 0 MWH from African continent, we are heavily (too much) depending on Russian natural gas on our energy needs. It's never healthy to have all the eggs in one basket, like you know were well.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/Russia/NaturalGas.html

quote:
masher2: Sure, because every plant faces legal challenges from environmental groups that stall contruction for years, and adds billions in costs and interest. That's not a fault of the technology, though -- it's a fault of the people who protest it.


Well, the Consensus ;) seems to be that nuclear power is not cheap than the nuclear industry wants us to believe.
But it has some other major benefits than price.


RE: Umm, what?
By Jim28 on 7/28/2008 9:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
I believe the proper term in diversification, not decentralization.

This power project is still a centralized power generation complex that transports the power long distances.

A decentralized grid is one that has many smaller sources of power, almost like a cottage industry of sorts.

What consensus would that be? The only thing that matters in that regard is how much we pay per Kwh of power. Look it up yourself and see how it compares.


RE: Umm, what?
By ajfink on 7/24/2008 1:06:17 PM , Rating: 4
The biggest problem I see is not technological or economic, it's political. Making sure these highly valuable sites are secure would be a feat in itself. Mediterranean African states, luckily, tend to have stable governments that are more than happy to cut deals for energy and incentives - but that doesn't really do much for extremists.


RE: Umm, what?
By Ammohunt on 7/24/2008 2:28:52 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention i am sure there is an endagered saharan sand flea that will prevent the building of such a site. SAVE THE FLEAS!


RE: Umm, what?
By DefyingxGravity on 7/24/2008 12:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
I believe, although it was worded very poorly, the article was referring *only* to weather patterns, and not day and night cycles. To be more clear, I believe they were referencing how the sun is always shining during the day in the Sahara, with the exception of a very bad sandstorm.


RE: Umm, what?
By Kenenniah on 7/24/2008 1:13:21 PM , Rating: 5
Speaking of sandstorms....how much will it cost to keep the panels etc. clean? Sounds to me like a maintenance nightmare. Sorry folks, no electricity today. Our solar panels got sand blown all over them and we had to send Bob out with a Squeegee.


RE: Umm, what?
By B on 7/26/2008 10:32:18 PM , Rating: 2
I recall an early Windows (3.1) screen saver where Bill Gates would wash windows. I think they may require his services.


RE: Umm, what?
By B on 7/26/2008 10:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
Here is a link to the Bill Gates window washing screen saver for you young'ns that have never seen this awsomeness.

http://www.screensaverheaven.com/ssheaven/g0003.ht...


RE: Umm, what?
By Eri Hyva on 7/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Umm, what?
By jskirwin on 7/24/2008 1:35:16 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
(But it seems in the US everything is split in half, on/off, either/or, with us/against us. Very much not needed and at the same time totally unrealistic)


Right... You Europeans war for thousands of years then have less than a decade of peace (after US forces liberated Kosovo, which the EU couldn't do itself) and leap onto your moral high horse.

Chutzpa.. You've gots it.

As for solar, the USA would need a solar power farm about 118 miles on a side using panels producing at 20% efficiency. This would provide about 840,000 Mw at peak, enough to cover peak demand.

But you would still need a nuke backup. Which makes me wonder why we should spend $3 trillion (at $4/peak watt) on a power system that will still need other power sources to back it up.

Why not skip the solar panels and run nuke plants around the clock instead of just 18 hours a day.


RE: Umm, what?
By Strunf on 7/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Umm, what?
By Grast on 7/24/2008 3:24:28 PM , Rating: 3
Strunf,

You are correct the U.S. has been in some type of conflict. Those conflicts have been either LIBERATING your country or engaging in war fair to prevent future conflicts.

I am not nieve enough to believe that these conflicts were not to protect our intrests as well. However, the EU has reaped the rewards as well with bearing any of the responsiblity or costs.

What am I saying.... You are right the U.S. is a bunch of war mongers trying to take over the world. We never try to stop genocide, encourage economic growth in other countries, prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, or protect countries with no standing army.

We took action when no one else would. We took the responsibility to rebuild what we destroy. The only thing it took was the loss of over 2000 lives in the worst attack on the U.S. since Perl Harbor. I make no appologies for the actions of my country.


RE: Umm, what?
By chick0n on 7/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Umm, what?
By theapparition on 7/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Umm, what?
By Kaleid on 7/25/2008 7:48:45 AM , Rating: 1
Well, the neocons are looking for a more permanent presence in the oil rich middle-east, so it will be in for a long stay. This can be read about in their own blueprints like rebuilding Americas defenses.

Look soon for the war on terror to spread increasingly to Africa.


RE: Umm, what?
By michael67 on 7/25/2008 2:12:38 PM , Rating: 2
I come from Holland and have to admit that we don't have clean hands if we look in to our own history.

First build slave-ship came from Holland.

VoC, first company that had share's, but they had also is own army/navy and a lot of trading went on over the barrel of a gun, and would put company like Halliburton to a shame.
http://www.tanap.net/content/voc/organization/orga...

And In ouwer former colony Indonesia after WOII there have bin things going on, ware we have to be ashamed for as a nation

And the list go's on.

But when things happen in US history it usually gets denied had a couple of months a go discussion whit masher2 , even do i think he very intelligent he is sometimes also extremely ignorant about his own history and he is not alone.
quote:
quote:
> "During the fifties Iran had a real Pro western leader...British MI6 and CIA set up plan...to get the Shah(2) in power"

Your history here is wrong in several places. First of all, the Shah of Iran was *already* in power long before the West got involved.

Mossadegh was Prime Minister -- a position below that of Shah -- and once elected, began attempting to assume dictatorial control over government and to rig elections to ensure retaining his position.

CIA involvement was limited to a minor propagadanda campaign, essentially no more than convincing the Shah to exercise the power he already had to dismiss Mossadegh.

As for the actual overthrow of Mossadegh, most scholars today attribute it to his radical policies causing loss of support among hardline Shia clerics-- the same people ultimately responsible for the deposing of the Shah.

Getting your history from Wikipedia is dicey at the best of times. For articles on controversial, politically charged topics such as this, it's no better than a conspiracy website.

Here is a good factual article about Operation Ajax.
It differs on everything whit masher2's version except on the agreement of him that the US was meddling in a foreign country.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/latulippe/latulippe41.h...
And the meddling the US have bin doing sins the 50s has continued in the same line.

.
I would strongly advice to take a good look at the documentaries of Adam Curtis how American society is manipulated to adopt a extreme form of Capitalism by the the "captains of industry" because they ware scared shitless they would loose there change to control society and make more money.

Hey analyses not only US but global history by the use of psychoanalysis, these documentaries are very powerful to open up eyes left and right, and are also not left ore right orientated as he is evenly harsh on left as on right wing party's

It will also show that for example one of America's greatest presidents, Roosevelt would even bin seen by current average EU standards as "EXTREEMLY LEFT"

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=Adam+Curtis&...

But everything that we Europeans say about US policy ore history is false as we don't now what we talking about so properly this will be voted to -1.

quote:
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it;
Those who fail to learn history CORRECTLY.. are simply doomed.


Don't remember ware the quote comes from but it has a lot of truth in it


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 2:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
> "First build slave-ship came from Holland..."

Yes. And every slave purchased was bought from African tribesmen, who had for centuries previously been capturing opposing tribesmembers and enslaving them. There's a lot of blame to spread around, and placing it all on America and/or Europe is silly. In fact, a nation like Britain -- more so than probably any other nation, including African ones -- should bear *less* blame, due to its stringent efforts it made to stamp out the slave trade, even as it was embroiled in the Napoleonic wars.

> "Here is a good factual article about Operation Ajax.
It differs on everything whit masher2's version "


Nice try, but Rockwell's article actually differs very little. We both point out the Shah was previously in power, and we both note that Mossadeq was deposed not by Western action, but by Iranian forces loyal to the Shah. The Rockwell story doesn't mention Mossadeq's dictatorial actions before being deposed, or his acts that lost him the support of the true powered interests in Iran...but these are matters of simple historical record. "Operation Ajax" was no more than a propaganda campaign, to convince pro-Shah forces to take action. We didn't "topple the government". Iranians did.

In any case, why are you so anxious to attack me that you carry an ancient argument from another thread to here?


RE: Umm, what?
By Spuke on 7/25/2008 2:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In any case, why are you so anxious to attack me that you carry an ancient argument from another thread to here?
Because he's wrong and he knows it but chooses not to (publicly) accept it because that would entail public submission to another persons knowledge as well as a public acceptance of being wrong. Publicly acknowledging that we're wrong is not a strong human trait.

I would just gloss over it like the people that gloss over providing electricity at night when all you have is solar power generation.


RE: Umm, what?
By michael67 on 7/25/2008 3:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In fact, a nation like Britain -- more so than probably any other nation, including African ones -- should bear *less* blame, due to its stringent efforts it made to stamp out the slave trade,

Right, UK is the good guys again from the EU nations yes it was the first to ban the trade, but it had also traded more then all the other countries together.
One right doesn't excuse all the wrongs
http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0212661/id19.htm
http://www.daintycrew.com/slavetrade.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade
quote:
Nice try, but Rockwell's article actually differs very little.

It dose completely whit your version, you say US involvement was minimal, Rockwell's article actually says the opposite
quote:
If Mossadeq’s regime had been permitted to continue, it is entirely possible that Iran could have evolved into an authentic democracy. American interventionism destroyed that opportunity and set the stage for many of the tragedies currently haunting the Middle East.

If America is ever to have even remotely cordial relations with Iran, we must accept responsibility for the terrible effects of Operation Ajax and admit that we had no right to intervene in a controversy that was wholly the business of the Iranian people. That exploit was unworthy of the Land of Washington and Jefferson.

I think his conclusions ware a little different from yours "CIA involvement was limited to a minor propaganda campaign"
quote:
In any case, why are you so anxious to attack me that you carry an ancient argument from another thread to here?

No i don't attack you I only say that you see your history from a fundamental flawed perspective.
I actually like a lot/most of your comments accept when it comes to EU vs US, and some resent US historical facts, then you put on some pink neocon classes on.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 3:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
> "but it had also traded more then all the other countries together"

Together? No. England was certainly the leader in the trade for many decades, but it didn't carry more slaves than all others combined, not by a long shot.

The point stands. England did more than any other nation on earth to end the slave trade. Had it been left up the Africans themselves, they would have still been happily selling their neighbors overseas for another century at least.

> "One right doesn't excuse all the wrongs"

No one said it did. And England did more than "one" right thing. In addition to being the first nation to ban the slave trade, it established a large "preventative squadron" to block ships from other nations still engaging in trade. That force stayed in place for nearly half a century...a length of time unprecedented in history for a non-expeditionary force operating for sheer morality.

> "you say US involvement was minimal, Rockwell's article actually says the opposite"

No he doesn't. His article is quite skimpy on the actual details of US involvement. While he uses quite a few leading phrases, the fact remains that our "intervention" was limited to training and propaganda. The actual actions taken were by Iranian forces entirely.


RE: Umm, what?
By michael67 on 7/25/2008 4:24:18 PM , Rating: 2
*pfff*
1 the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, or (the in 1909 founded AIOC now BP) was robbing the country blind true contracts that ware crafted in a pre independent time
2 after talks whit England and AIOC went no ware he nationalized the oil field (controversial but imho morally rightful)
3 UK and US that had in dose days a lot of power got a embargo on Iran oil and trade
4 Iran dint back down, but got in to big problems because no money was coming in
5 whit out the meddling of the UK & US the shah would have never gotten in to power
It even doesn't mater how "small" the CIA campaign was it had huge impact on the country.
quote:
As Mackay notes:
With Mossadeq leading the charge against Iran’s economic master, the Majlis, on March 15, boldly nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company…On April 29, the same Majlis elected Muhammad Mossadeq prime minister. While the shah sat on the throne as a mere shadow, Muhammad Mossadeq basked in the acclaim of the vast majority of Iranians, who for the first time in decades gave their genuine respect, devotion, and loyalty to their recognized leader .

quote:
In essence, the United States had engaged in a massive covert operation designed to remove a democratically elected leader from power and reinstall an authoritarian monarch (a move which makes a mockery of our currently stated desire to "spread democracy" in the Middle East).

quote:
Outcome
Operation Ajax was the first time the Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a plot to overthrow a democratically-elected government. The success of this operation, and its relatively low cost, encouraged the CIA to successfully carry out a similar operation in Guatemala a year later. Former president Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán on the cover of TIME magazine in June 1954 after his overthrow Operation PBSUCCESS was a CIA-organized covert operation that overthrew the democratically-elected President of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in 1954. ...

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Operation...

Its very simple the CIA had no right to what they did and the consequences still ripple true time till today.
What you call a minor involvement the people of Iran see it as a big one (and i agree whit them)
quote:
This affair had several disastrous ramifications for the future of American-Iranian relations. First, the Shah, from that point forward, was viewed as a creature of America. Consequently, America became an accessory to his every oppressive act during the subsequent 26 years of his rule. Second, the American embassy in Tehran was permanently marked as a "nest of spies" in the eyes of the Iranian populace. And third, Iranian democracy was strangled in its crib.

If Brits had done this in the the time of Washington and Jefferson americans would still hate the Brits today wouldn't you think ???


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 4:55:34 PM , Rating: 2
> "It even doesn't mater how "small" the CIA campaign was it had huge impact on the country."

You couldn't possibly be more wrong. If I pick up the phone and call a friend, thereby delaying them five minutes and causing them to get hit by a car, am I guilty of murder?

The CIA campaign certainly had a huge effect on Iran. But it was in no way "wrong". If it was, then every diplomat for every country in the world is evil...their entire purpose is to influence other nations into particular courses of action.

The CIA broke no laws, it invaded no country, it extorted no funds. It simply helped to convince some Iranians to remove a budding dictator and replace their prior ruler. End of story.

> "If Brits had done this in the the time of Washington and Jefferson americans would still hate the Brits today wouldn't you think ??? "

Err, the Brits *did* do this. And much, much more in fact. They didn't simply distribute a few pamphlets to "convince" Americans to stay a British colony; they landed troops on the ground, mounted a large naval campaign, and severely punished US residents who refused to accede to their demands.

> "1 the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, [was] robbing the country blind"

Sophomoric demagoguery. Iran agreed to the terms of the contracts. No one forced them to sign.

> " he nationalized the oil field (controversial but imho morally rightful)"

Nationalization, however *is* theft. Ethically, it's an idious act, and economically, it's incredibly destructive. Note that most nations which have nationalized resources and industries eventually wind up reprivatizing them, when they find out how poorly a socialized industry performs.


RE: Umm, what?
By michael67 on 7/25/2008 7:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The CIA broke no laws, it invaded no country, it extorted no funds. It simply helped to convince some Iranians to remove a budding dictator and replace their prior ruler. End of story.

Millions of Iran's ware thinking a little different.
But what the hack its just dumb Muslim scum HTF cares what they ware thinking.

I would like to see some proof of Mossadeq being a budding dictator.
TIME and others on the other hand paints a other picture http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/mahatma-gand...
They even compare him whit Gandhi ore are you now going to say that Gandhi was also a budding dictator?
And yes i know he wasn't the saint the movie Gandhi protrade him to be.
quote:
As Mackay notes:
Muhammad Mossadeq basked in the acclaim of the vast majority of Iranians, who for the first time in decades gave their genuine respect, devotion, and loyalty to their recognized leader.

btw you do know whits Mackay is quoted here i hope?
quote:
You couldn't possibly be more wrong. If I pick up the phone and call a friend, thereby delaying them five minutes and causing them to get hit by a car, am I guilty of murder?

No but if you ask him to murder some one you are a accomplice for the murder.
What the US is in this case!
quote:
The CIA campaign certainly had a huge effect on Iran. But it was in no way "wrong". If it was, then every diplomat for every country in the world is evil...their entire purpose is to influence other nations into particular courses of action.

And whit arguments like this you wonder why most of the poor countries in the world hates the US.
imho it is totally despicable what happened!

quote:
Err, the Brits *did* do this.

Yes i know, but not anymore after it acknowledge the US as a independent country!
quote:
Sophomoric demagoguery. Iran agreed to the terms of the contracts. No one forced them to sign.

Err, those contracts ware signed by a British colony run by the British government.
How the hell can you even say they warned forced????
quote:
Nationalization, however *is* theft. Ethically, it's an idious act, and economically, it's incredibly destructive.

I couldn't agree more whit you only in this case it was not a freely elected government how singed the contracts.
But singed by rep. of the Brit. crown.
So again your statement is completely falls morally even do technical completely correct!

But then again like lots of neocons you show you have no morals only claim falls one's a specially when it comes to (oil)money.
So if you don't see anything morally wrong whit this i just feel sorry for you.
quote:
........are simply doomed.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 8:43:39 PM , Rating: 2
> "Millions of Iran's ware thinking a little different."

You demonstrate quite well the logical fallacy known as 'The Bandwagon'. Truth doesn't depend on how many people believe or disbelieve in it.

> I would like to see some proof of Mossadeq being a budding dictator.

Glad to oblige! After the Shah reinstated Mossadeq, he demanded (and was granted) emergency powers to set any and all laws he desired, be it financial, judicial, or otherwise. He then moved to dissolve the Parliament, giving him sole power over the entire country, exiled the Shah (though he lacked the constititional authority to do so) and pro-Mossadeq supporters were soon in the streets, threatening anyone who opposed him with violence. His forces also rigged the 1953 elections, tossing out votes for his opponents.

His radical policies of nationalizing industries and seizing land from the gentry antagonized the powerful Shia clerics. Also, the Western sanctions against Iran meant the lower classes were suffering more, despite his attempts to redistribute wealth. When pro-Mossadeq forces fought in street riots in late 1953, they fought against tens of thousands protestors opposed to him. Protesters that were Iranian. Not American, or British...but Iranian citizens.

> "They even compare him whit Gandhi "

Now you're just being childish. Time called him part Gandhi, part Machiavelli. You have any idea who Machiavelli was?

> "Yes i know, but not anymore after it acknowledge the US as a independent country!"

The US and Britain both acknowledge Iran an independent country. So what's your point?


RE: Umm, what?
By michael67 on 7/26/2008 2:12:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You demonstrate quite well the logical fallacy known as 'The Bandwagon'. Truth doesn't depend on how many people believe or disbelieve in it.

If you follow that logic every foreign country in the world has the right to dispel bush, talk about some one that uses Machiavelli tricks and FUD to win his last election.
Every nation has the right to make its own mistakes and learn from them, even if Mossadeq was being a budding dictator he never was it in the eyes of the majority.
And even do i don't believe he was it operation ajax made him a marter for the hole Arabic community and gave a rise of miss trust to all what is American
Basically the US shot it self in the foot
quote:
Glad to oblige! After the Shah reinstated Mossadeq, he demanded (and was granted) emergency powers to set any and all laws he desired, be it financial, judicial, or otherwise. He then moved to dissolve the Parliament, giving him sole power over the entire country, exiled the Shah (though he lacked the constititional authority to do so) and pro-Mossadeq supporters were soon in the streets, threatening anyone who opposed him with violence.

Yes USSR funded communist and the ex-colonial profiteers
quote:
His forces also rigged the 1953 elections, tossing out votes for his opponents.

Even you have to know this is a highly disputed subject and not a fact one way ore the other
quote:
His radical policies of nationalizing industries and seizing land from the gentry antagonized the powerful Shia clerics. Also, the Western sanctions against Iran meant the lower classes were suffering more, despite his attempts to redistribute wealth.

This was all done post colonial, and even do he was Pro-western he was for shore not Pro-colonial and he was trying to re disturbed the wealth that was uneven distributed between the ex pro-colonial puppets and the rest of the people
quote:
When pro-Mossadeq forces fought in street riots in late 1953, they fought against tens of thousands protestors opposed to him. Protesters that were Iranian. Not American, or British...but Iranian citizens.

Yes and those people ware organized by the CIA
He never had that mouths organizational power to counter that kind of forces.
quote:
Now you're just being childish. Time called him part Gandhi, part Machiavelli. You have any idea who Machiavelli was?

I know exactly how he was, and even do its sad that he used those techniques it was done in response to a formally colonial power how was doing mouths worse to get him out of power
I suggest you read some books about his live and history of Iran.
quote:
The US and Britain both acknowledge Iran an independent country. So what's your point?

I was saying Britain acknowledge the US and after that never tried to overthrow the US government, steer it a bid maybe, but certainly not on a scale like operation AJAX.

quote:
btw you do know whits Mackay is quoted here i hope?


quote:
Err, those contracts ware signed by a British colony run by the British government.
How the hell can you even say they warned forced????

btw the US is going to get the same problems when they leave Iraq
A new freely elected government that is not pro US is going to say that all contracts singed under the time the US forces ware dare ware not legal and singed under pressure


RE: Umm, what?
By mars777 on 7/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Umm, what?
By rudolphna on 7/25/2008 1:13:19 AM , Rating: 1
screw you.


RE: Umm, what?
By michael67 on 7/26/2008 12:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
Damn how many braincells did you lose thinking that one up :D


RE: Umm, what?
By Kaleid on 7/25/2008 7:52:33 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah. Lots of Orwellian doubletalk from US leaders

Bush actually once used words similar to: When we're talking about war we're really talking about peace.


RE: Umm, what?
By Strunf on 7/25/2008 3:52:24 AM , Rating: 2
Let me laugh a bit...

"never try to stop genocide" - It depends if stopping the genocide comes with some valuable resources or valuable military assets, then the US will be all for it but last time I checked the US doesn't do much in... Africa.

"encourage economic growth in other countries" - I wonder what the Cubans would say to that.

"prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons" - When the US has thousands of nuclear weapons I really don't get your point... unless you think the US is the only country that should be allowed to have them.

"protect countries with no standing army" - Really ? I would advise every state to rely on the US then, that would save them a lot of money... but chances are the US help comes at a price.

No apologies? When in the Vietnam war the US came close to what we call a genocide, you know entire villages destroyed for nothing else than the US warmonger pride... and let's not forget the North American natives that well were the first to taste the US sword.


RE: Umm, what?
By porkpie on 7/25/2008 9:35:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
last time I checked the US doesn't do much in... Africa.
President Bush tripled aid to Africa, its not at $9B a year:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

The US might have done more to stop the Rwandan genocide if nations like France hadn't so strongly opposed action in the UN. Oh wait, it turns out France was arming and supporting the soldiers who actually killed 800,000 civilians:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jan/11/rwanda...

Don't even get me started about the rest of Europe's dirty-handed involvement in Africa. Is there an African nation that WASN'T once a European colony at some point?


RE: Umm, what?
By Strunf on 7/25/2008 4:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
The US gives $4B per year to Africa ($19B ODA) the EU gave $43B ODA and knowing that Africa gets half of it, the EU gives 5x more than the US to Africa... actually from the ODA stats the Americans contribute as much as the Greecs in terms of aid/GNI, and in aid per capita the Americans give half...

Well the US was once a European colony... how about you paying some respect to the people that made you :P


RE: Umm, what?
By MisterChristopher on 7/27/2008 6:02:52 PM , Rating: 2
This is idiotic. Why should anyone be forced to give anything to africa. That is my money and your money they are giving to africa. I never approved my money going to anyone.

I may personally want to help starving Africans, but there is no government that morally has the right to tell me that I have too.

You guys need to stop bickering about who is forceably giving away more of your money. Its all rediculous.


RE: Umm, what?
By B on 7/26/2008 11:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
Grast, I am going to expand on your post. For example, the U.S. and N.A.T.O. operations in Kosovo during 1999 had the U.S. (a primarily Christian country) and N.A.T.O. helping to protect the Albanian refugees (primarily Muslims) from Serbs (primarily Christian).


RE: Umm, what?
By Seikatsu on 7/24/2008 4:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
How inane.
But considering how most of European nations has dived into the septic tank and stayed there in recent years, I'm not at all surprised.

Saddam was given an no small amount of time to dump (sell) his WMD stocks before we kicked in the door, we not only found evidence of it-- we also found 600 tons of yellowcake uranium as a consolation prize along with the heads of Saddam the genocidal megalomaniac and his barbarian sons Uday and Qusay.

On Your hypocrisy of calling us a warmongering culture.
Most of our wars have been to protect our sovereignty or an ally of the United States.
(Exceptions include warring with the indigent groups that were already here [A sin we were not alone in,and was a Schadenfreude on both sides.],
a number of occupations {Many of which could be argued as relating to our sovereignty in areas of trade or security.) and some peacekeeping missions (some like Kosovo went bad)

If Space-Travel was developed and perfected back in the 1700's (Which is something that is far off even in today's world) instead of us being over 3,000 miles away, a one-time barrier called the Atlantic Ocean; we would have marched to the stars and burnt the bridge behind us, leaving us light years away from you imperialist ignoramuses.


RE: Umm, what?
By andrinoaa on 7/24/2008 7:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
Ignoro i don't know
ignoras you (singular ) don't know
ignorat
ignoramus we don't know
ignoratus
ignorant

I suggest ignoras!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


RE: Umm, what?
By Seikatsu on 7/24/2008 11:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
Why is it every single time that you imbeciles try to split hairs, you look more foolish?

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignoramu...


RE: Umm, what?
By foolsgambit11 on 7/25/2008 3:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the humor was a little too high-brow for you. I think he was jokingly conjugating it as a Latin verb.

another example (a real Latin word this time):
cogito = I think
cogitas = you think
cogitat = he/she/it thinks
cogitamus = we think
cogitatus = you (pl.) think
cogitant = they think

Ergo: Cogito ergo sum. (I think therefore I am.) It's been years since I took Latin, so the chart might be slightly off, but I think it's right.


RE: Umm, what?
By snownpaint on 7/25/2008 12:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
Wow... Shame they didn't perfect the Space missions in the 1700's.. By now you would be millions of miles away.. Floating in the dark depths of space, where your voice could not be heard.

P.S. Looking back though history, we are all warmongers. And yes, yesterday is history..


RE: Umm, what?
By geddarkstorm on 7/25/2008 1:38:10 PM , Rating: 2
People always find something to complain about--just like here in regards to putting solar panels in a friggin desert wasteland.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 1:42:58 PM , Rating: 3
> "But electricity consumption is also lower at night."

Lower, but not zero. There is still demand...and what is going to generate it, if the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing?

> "Nobody is saying we should go 100% wind&sun etc."

Unfortunately, quite a few environmentalists are...which explains why they are blocking the construction of any new nuclear, hydro, or coal power plants.


RE: Umm, what?
By Eri Hyva on 7/24/2008 2:10:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lower, but not zero. There is still demand...and what is going to generate it, if the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing?


Nuclear, coal, hydro, natural gas, have you heard of those?
A great success would be to have 10-20% of the MWH production to come from solar and wind. And that's the consensus. (Nighttime MWH usage is 80% of the daytime peak). But that is of course depending on the natural conditions of the area, that is not depending on the borders of countries. Some countries can go higher, some lower.

The sun shines and the wind blows, why not use it?

quote:
Unfortunately, quite a few environmentalists are...which explains why they are blocking the construction of any new nuclear, hydro, or coal power plants


Well, shame on them. Part of the on/off people, they are not thinking realistically.

This new beauty is almost ready here:
http://www.ol3.areva-np.com/
(The Olkiluoto 3 EPR is the world’s first Generation 3 reactor)


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 2:29:52 PM , Rating: 5
> "Nuclear, coal, hydro, natural gas, have you heard of those?"

Given I'd made thousands of posts on this site promoting nuclear power, I'd say the answer is probably yes.

You're still ignoring the fact that mainstream environmental organizations are adamantly opposed to each and every one of the sources you name above.

> "The sun shines and the wind blows, why not use it?"

Primarily because of the staggering monetary cost. There's also the environmental damage to consider. Even ignoring the pollution caused by the production of enough solar panels to wallpaper an area the size of Wales, there is the effect on the site itself. The Sahara has at least as high an animal population as does the Arctic...covering tens of thousands of square miles will cause far more of a disruption than a few isolated derricks or (better yet) a few high-output nuclear plants.


RE: Umm, what?
By heffeque on 7/25/2008 10:22:28 AM , Rating: 3
I think that maybe considering at least _trying_ to contaminate a little less so that earth can withstand our sh¡t a little longer would be a good idea, even if people have to pay a little more for their electricity, don't you think? The more wind power is used, the less nuclear, coal, etc power is used so the less we need to contaminate. Eliminating nuclear, coal, etc power is dumb, but using them the least possible is in my point of view the most intelligent thing governments are doing so that our grandchildren can actually live in a hospitable earth and not in a dumpster.


RE: Umm, what?
By Spuke on 7/25/2008 12:09:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The more wind power is used, the less nuclear, coal, etc power is used so the less we need to contaminate.
But you CAN'T eliminate nuclear, coal and gas with wind and solar power. Something has to provide power on windless and sunless days as well as at night. I just don't understand why people are glossing over this obvious issue. How is this going to be addressed? And what's wrong with asking about how this will be addressed?


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 12:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
The facts don't support your position. We generate far more power today than we did 50 years ago...yet the air and water is much cleaner then than now.

The more wind power we use, the more steel and concrete we need to mine. Per supplied MW, wind turbines require 10X as much steel and 5X as much concrete as nuclear power. Do you really believe there's no environmental cost associated with that?

Nuclear is the cleanest source of energy by far. They generate no air pollution, no carbon emissions, and require far less resources than wind or solar. We have advanced reactor designs on the books, ones that can actually burn the radioactive waste of current reactors. But will we ever build them? As long as public ignorance over nuclear power persists -- the answer is sadly, no.


RE: Umm, what?
By heffeque on 7/26/2008 9:42:34 PM , Rating: 2
Long term, nuclear is the worst by far. Unless of course, fusion technology starts emerging as a possible clean source of power.


RE: Umm, what?
By snownpaint on 7/25/2008 12:27:03 PM , Rating: 2
I agree on diversifying our power sources.. I'm not a big fan of Coal or Oil.. Dirty, terrible to mine/drill, and there are better uses for it. Hydro, is good if done right and not over done on a river.. Tidal seemed feasible, for small power usage and in desalination for 3rd world countries. Wind is OK, but iffy.

If solar can power the day, lets do it. The Sun does that now. If it is a money issue, that hasn't stopped us form spending billions/trillions in the past. Panama Canal( many ships don't fit it anymore) Interstate system, Space race, etc..

Use the power of suns.. Solar during the day, Fusion during the night and as backup.

Finally, I would like to see a ban on plastics and plastic packaging. The real damage will not come from carbon, but poly**. You may scoff at this line, but think back on it 30 years from now.


RE: Umm, what?
By gamerk2 on 7/24/2008 1:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
A: People tend to be sleeping when its dark
B: The energy can be stored, and even the moon gives of some light (and thus, some power).

I live in a solar powered house, and even during storms lasting 2-3 days, have NEVER lost power, because even bad weather gives us enough power. The challange is to make sure adequate reserves/backups are kept just in case.

We could do the same thing in Nevada if we wanted to, but few are actually serious about solving our oil problems.


RE: Umm, what?
By xRyanCat on 7/24/2008 4:10:56 PM , Rating: 3
How would you store energy like this?

I thought it's impossible to store that much energy with current technology. I thought power grids were an "always on" thing and the excess is just expelled as heat or something other.

Of course if someone could explain in detail, that would be great!


RE: Umm, what?
By juuvan on 7/25/2008 1:38:28 AM , Rating: 2
Energy storage in the massive scale solar heat plant has couple of alternatives. First and obvious one is to storage the heat into phase shift or chemical process. The second one is to bind it as a thermal energy into a vast mass of umm.. mass. Third is little more out there, but some argue achieveable in the not-so-distant future; -superconductor storage where the energy is stored into magnetic field.

Storing just the heat is viable only when used to supply energy for central heating systems. I think before the superconductors are there the best option is to break water into oxygen and nitrogen and the use fuel cells to burn it back to water. The process is theory selfcontained and the technology is available. This also gives a solution to masher2 night time problems.

I agree that the biggest proble is political, as it's been some 15 years when I first saw somebody to came out with this idea.


RE: Umm, what?
By Jim28 on 7/24/2008 11:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
You don't hardly use anything that needs electricity then. Saying that solar panels can produce of the moon is absurd, you MIGHT get a few microwatts, and the moon is not always up.

Also saying a solar powered house can last 2-3 days without light is also absurd. Sure it can if you don't turn anything on! Solar Tres, one of the most effecient solar power station to date, and one of the biggest uses molten salt as energy storage and it STILL only has enough storage to meet the next day. Two days without the sun, no lights.(Actually one night and a few hours during the next daylight cycle and the lights go off.)


RE: Umm, what?
By drebo on 7/25/2008 1:02:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
A: People tend to be sleeping when its dark


"People" are not the only things in the world that use electricity.

Take, for instance, the vast intarwebs upon which we are communicating now. They never sleep.

Food processing plants during harvest never sleep.

The list goes on. Just because "people are sleeping" does not mean that they are not using power. 6 degrees, remember?


RE: Umm, what?
By Spuke on 7/25/2008 1:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A: People tend to be sleeping when its dark
That's such a retarded statement. LOL! Do you even own or rent a home/apartment? What do you think the refrigerator runs off of when you're sleeping? How about the A/C or the heater? How about traffic lights? The world doesn't stop just because your eyes are closed. What an ego!


RE: Umm, what?
By Nik00117 on 7/24/2008 2:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure they would of thought of this already, batteries.

However one concern of mine is a terrioist one. I wouldn't place all my eggs in this one basket for several reasons.

1. Saraha isn't that hard of a place to get into
2. You create all of europes power in one place, and it only takes one bomb to knock it out.

However if the experts are wise they will spread it out, maybe make 20-25 different locations. Putting them all in one place is asking for trouble. I could just imagine the impact that a bomb at the right place of this would have. Its a bit risky, but I think if everything is figured out right it could work.

And concerning the 70billion dollar price tag. My family spends roughly 150 bucks a month on power, considering that the avg individual uses 40 bucks a month of power, europe has 500 mill poeple your looking at 20 billion a month, even if this project costs 140 billion it would only take 7 months to pay if off.

By avg individual I mean as he works, plays, sleeps etc. I don't suspect 40 dollars a month is too much money for a normal person to consume. And I understand many poeple will use more then 40 and many will use less. However thats a fact of life.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 2:55:27 PM , Rating: 2
> "And concerning the 70billion dollar price tag"

The article is a bit misleading. It's not $70B to power all Europe with solar cells. It's $70B to build transmission lines to carry 10% of the power Europe needs. The cost of the solar cells to build that array would be a hundred times higher.

> "I'm sure they would of thought of this already, batteries."

Battery storage of the amounts of power required just isn't feasible. From a cost perspective alone, the price would be more than 10 times as expensive as the solar cells themselves.


RE: Umm, what?
By initialised on 7/24/2008 3:34:01 PM , Rating: 2
You don't use conventional batteries, you hollow out a mountain and create a pair of reservoirs, one above the other, during times of surplus energy is used to pump the water up to the top and during times of high demand the water is released through turbines. It's tried and tested technology and is in use in most developed countries.


RE: Umm, what?
By initialised on 7/24/2008 3:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
An alternative is to use the energy to separate H20 then store the hydrogen for use in H2 powered fuel cells. Trouble is the Sahara doesn't have much water, that's why they call it a desert so this would be done in coastal regions with also reduces transportation costs.


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/24/2008 4:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
What you're describing is pumped-storage hydroelectric. It is indeed one of the most practical forms of energy storage...the only problems are that it requires a vast amount of water, and it is only only cost-effective where nature has conveniently provided you a height differential between a couple large natural reservoirs.

The Sahara would be a very poor place for such, due both to the terrain and the hot, dry air (which would lead to energy losses of 30% or so from evaporation). Piping the electricity elsewhere would be a better option...but I'm sure environmentalists would oppose the creation of any new hydro reservoirs.


RE: Umm, what?
By 306maxi on 7/24/2008 5:27:14 PM , Rating: 2
This is exactly what is done at Electric Mountain in North Wales. Works very well. But we have the terrain and it's not dry so it would work.


RE: Umm, what?
By Jim28 on 7/24/2008 11:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
What batteries might those be?

Gee let me run down to the store and pick up a 10MW tiple A battery for my remote control. How much are they? $1.95?


RE: Umm, what?
By initialised on 7/24/2008 3:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
Every heard of batteries and super capacitors?

The plan sounds ideal especially for silicon based solar tech since The Sahara is the base material for solar cells. It could also be a way of civilising Africa and providing a valuable resource in areas with little else to offer the global economy


RE: Umm, what?
By BeastieBoy on 7/25/2008 4:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
When it's dark, people are in bed and factories are closed. We don't need as much power during these times. The good thing about solar is that it works best when you need it most (weather permitting).


RE: Umm, what?
By Spuke on 7/25/2008 1:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When it's dark, people are in bed and factories are closed.
Yes, you are right. The world shuts down when we're sleeping. The refrigerator turns off, the heater and A/C turn off. Food processing and car plants shutdown. Traffic lights turn off. People that work at night don't actually go to work. Yeah, nothing runs at night.


RE: Umm, what?
By Penti on 7/26/2008 2:26:01 AM , Rating: 2
Haha.

Plants and other factories run all night. But stuff like offices and stores don't. Small factories don't run a night either. Any how usage is lower during the night.


RE: Umm, what?
By charlesH on 7/25/2008 1:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
Masher,

You are a very effective advocate for nuclear power. I too favor nuclear power.

I would like to make you (and other readers) aware of a superior nuclear power based of a thorium/uranium fuel cycle (LFTR liquid fluoride thorium reactor). This technology is far superior to the uranium/plutonium light water reactor is common use today.

This technology was demonstrate in the 50's and 60's but was abandoned because it was much harder to produce weapons grade material (compared to uranium/plutonium). The military considerations favored the uranium fuel cycle.

More specifically LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactors) compared to uranium reactors burn fuel 100x more efficiently without reprocessing, result in ~100x less waste and are inherently safer and should cost less to build.

In addition, since LFTR is a high temp low pressure process it can use water or air cooling. Thus Ut/Nv etc, where water is scarce, could replace it's coal fired plants with low cost, clean thorium power plants. Much more cost effective and reliable than the wind and solar plants that California is building. (fyi, California's electricity currently costs 2x Utah's and they are on a path to keep it that way.)

Comparison: Uranium vs Thorium Based Nuclear Power

Uranium/plutonium LWR : Thorium/uranium LFTR

Fuel Reserves (relative) __________________ 1 : 100 (1000s yrs)
Fuel Mining Waste Volume (relative) ____ 1000 : 1
Fuel Burning Efficiency _______________ ~1% : >95%
Radioactive Waste Volume (relative) ______ 40 : 1
Radioactive Waste Isolation Period __10000yrs : 80% 10yrs, 20% 300yrs

Plant Cost (relative) _____________________ 1 : <1
Plant Thermal Efficiency _____________ ~33% : ~50%
Cooling Requirements _______________ Water : Water or Air
Plant Safety _______________________ Good : Very Good
Weapons Grade Material Production ____ Yes : No(very hard)
Burn Existing Nuclear Waste ___________ No : Yes
Development Status _______ Commercial Now : Demonstrated

for more info see

http://www.energyfromthorium.com/

forum

http://www.energyfromthorium.com/forum/

presentation

http://www.energyfromthorium.com/ppt/thoriumVsUran...

charlesH (BS Physics)
Orem, Utah


RE: Umm, what?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2008 2:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you Charles. I too have pointed out the thorium fuel cycle in the past, particularly when people erronously claim uranium stocks will limit our use of nuclear energy.

If you're interested in innovative nuclear designs, I suggest you take a look at the 'Rubbiatron', Nobel-winning physicist Carl Rubbia's Accelerator-Driven Reactor:

http://einstein.unh.edu/FWHersman/energy_amplifier...


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