The Fate of the Ocean

Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Messages
3,026
bigGdelta said:
As an aside do yall remember the dustup where the rich people living on (the name of the island escapes me it was the one from the show Wings) had a problem with a wind farm12 miles out to sea because it would mess up their view? we should build wind farms everywhere on the planet the winds make such feasible and build tide and solaras well. and what is keeping us from building a solar sat at L5? so it costs 100 billion the power is free and it will pay for itself in 20 or 30 years


Martha's Vineyard....

There's a ridge in Southwestern Minnesota which is said to be capable of generating enough power for the entire twin cities area, and in some parts of Texas wind turbines are being interspersed with oil derricks, so the oilmen in that area are not fighting the idea of wind power.

I suspect tidal could cause some potential problems for sea life.
 

Tintenfisch

Architeuthis
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
2,104
We're having some wind-power debates in NZ too - there's been talk over the last few months of putting up a wind-farm near Wellington that would cover the city's entire energy budget, but it's been delayed because the people who live where it would be built think it would be 'ugly.' The selfishness of humanity is astounding sometimes. Which is why, whether the current global warming trends are due to our own activities or not, I think it would be a very good thing for the world if we would at least take the possibility seriously and make a concerted effort to control our potentially dangerous activities long enough to find out. We don't have a particularly stellar history of awareness and concern that our activities on this planet have a way disproportionate effect on everything else.
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Registered
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
4,884
DHyslop said:
Microwaving it back without baking an entire state is still an issue. I think L5 is a less than ideal place for a solar sat, geosysnchronous orbit would be better because it wouldn't have to be constantly tracking and switching receiving stations on the ground. Something that big in GSO would probably be an eyesore, but I could get used to it for clean power :smile:

Now that NASA is building a heavy-lifter again, something like this is back on the table, but serious talk is probably another 50 years distant. Even today it would probably cost a lot more than 100 billion. Maybe between 1 and 10 trillion?

Dan

I coworker of mine was working on solar sats until Regan came in and cancelled the project. Apparently, you can actually keep the beam divergence pretty low from geosync, so that's not too bad, although you probably want to keep people out of an area a few square miles around. Geosync is definitely better, so you're always directly over the receiving station. I guess L4, L5, or L1 is never shadowed, but it's *way* further away, so the beam divergence would be awful.

However, I've heard some pretty compelling arguments that the cost of lifting stuff into orbit is so much higher than, say, laying it out in the desert, that it's pretty much never going to be cost effective to put large areas of solar in orbit when you still have room in the desert, or floating on the ocean, or maybe even as fleets of blimps with solar cells or something. Yeah, in orbit you get no atmospheric loss of the sunlight (but some in getting the collected power back down to earth) but it's so costly to get it up there it's a big issue. You do get to get sunlight that would otherwise be going past the Earth, I guess, but we're not in danger of not having enough incident light in the near term future, we're just not using it well... and if we put black solar panels where we're reflecting a lot of light from the mostly-white desert, that's getting a lot of solar energy that's normally re-radiated to space, too (although on a large scale, that might be a global warming issue, too... I've heard the dumb suggestion that if we floated a bunch of styrofoam on the oceans, we'd reflect more sunlight to offset global warming...)
 

DHyslop

Architeuthis
Registered
Joined
Dec 22, 2004
Messages
1,713
The other thing with wind power is it isn't reliable enough in many places to be anything but supplemental to other sources. I grew up in southern Wisconsin, where the power utility put up a small wind turbine field a few years ago. It provides about 5% of the utility's power, which is actually pretty respectable. The problem is there's a lot of days when they just aren't moving at all.

Ideally, you could have enough wind capacity to only use coal on those days, but then power costs twice as much because you're maintaining twice the facilities....

Dan
 

DHyslop

Architeuthis
Registered
Joined
Dec 22, 2004
Messages
1,713
Good points, Monty.

I think the solarsat option is always something that's been on the more distant horizon for those reasons. Even if cost-to-orbit was a lot cheaper, it still wouldn't be feasible right now just because of where we are in terms of the technology. Its a 50 yr or 100 yr goal. Like mining 3He out of the lunar regolith.

I would think the shadow problem from GSO would be a non-issue because to make it feasible for global power you would probably need more than one anyway--if your recieving station is in west Texas how do you get that energy to Japan?

The problem with laying them out on the desert however is still environmental. Your changing the ecosystem quite a bit when you pave over Arizona with solar panels. Deserts are living, moving things, too. Check out the mega-dunes in Saudi Arabia on Google Earth. You can see places where they've built runways, oil pipelines and highways, all slowly being buried. Solar panels are a lot more expensive than concrete!

Dan
 

Castor

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2003
Messages
283
I've been inspired by talk of solar arrays out at sea, atop old oil derricks. I don't think much was developed from the idea, but I hazzard a guess that it could be revived in a discussion somewhere. It was quite a while ago, and I think the technology has progressed quite a lot. I was a wee lad, wide eyed and ambitious.

Felix.
 

Latest Posts


Top