Category Archives: Solar Problems

How Utility Scale Solar Impacts The Land

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The joint study from Stanford University and UC Riverside reads like a report card. The authors recognized that, “solar energy has one of the greatest climate change mitigation potentials” of all renewable energy sources. It can play a leading role in helping the United States reach its’ goal of reducing emissions to 80% of 1990 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This would require covering a great deal of land surface.  Using current technology, close to 71,428 square kilometres  (44,383 sq.  miles), or an area roughly comparable to South Carolina, could be covered with panels. Rebecca R. Hernandez et al examined more than 160 sites in California to find out how utility scale solar impacts the land.
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Proposal For The UK To Expand The Fit Program

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMRenewables produced 25% of UK’s electricity in 2Q. This is more than either coal (20%) or nuclear power (21.5%) generated and 8.6% more than renewables produced the same quarter (April to June) in 2014. The Department of Energy and Climate Change explained the increase as as combination of increased capacity and “higher wind speeds, rainfall and sun hours.” The UK was an attractive place for renewable investment up until the Cameron administration started slashing renewable funding. Now, Instead of cuts, the UK’s Solar Trade Association put forward a proposal for the UK to expand the Fit Program.
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UK Is Capping Subsidies To Solar Farms

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1An article in the Telegraph claims the bill is expected to reach £1.5 billion more than planned by 2020-21. Industry executives have said the government’s “attack on renewables” will send the UK “back to the Dark Ages.” Britain’s new Iron Lady is adamant, as she unveiled the next step. Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, issued a statement saying,“My priorities are clear. We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.” The UK is capping subsidies to solar farms.

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Approving Palen may not have been too Bright

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1In a curious reversal of their decision a year ago, California Energy commissioners (CEC) Karen Douglas and David Hochschild recently approved the Palen solar project. The same “significant and unmitigable impacts” were cited. This project is just as damaging to the area’s cultural resources, which is  why local American Indians oppose the project. Local environmentalists are still opposed. Palen still sits in the middle of a bird migration route and, according to the chapter network director of Audubon California, will incinerate more birds than Ivanpah is doing.  Palen still has a negative impact on the scenic vista. This latest application does emphasize energy storage. Only now it appears the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t approve the solar receiver at the top of the tower.  Approving Palen might not have been too bright, at least not until they get their facts straight.

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