Solar and Wind Energy: Value in Restating the Obvious about Renewables
- May 21, 2013
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George Orwell once said “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”
In this vein, here is Kevin Bullis in today’s MIT Technology Review:
Siemens says it would make sense to build solar power plants in sunny countries in Europe rather than in cloudy ones. And wind turbines should be built in windy places.
These blindingly obvious suggestions run contrary to what’s actually happening. For example, a solar panel in Spain generates about twice as much electricity as the same-size solar panel in Germany
This graph makes it rather clear that some European countries simply aren’t well suited to solar, while some are:
This idea, that you build wind farms where it is windy and solar panels where it is sunny is a curiously controversial one. Some would even lobby accusations of you being “anti-renewables” if you put it forward. However it seems a rather obvious and hard to argue you with point of view. The “success” of solar power in Germany however has succeeded in convincing many that we can simply ignore these fundamental issues. And this is a serious problem.