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Power Technology

Florida To Build Solar-Powered City 195

Posted by samzenpus
from the sunny-side-of-the-street dept.
Mike writes "The sunny state of Florida just announced that they will begin construction this year on the world's first solar-powered city. A collaboration between Florida Power & Light and development firm Kitson & Partners, the 17,000 acre city will generate all of its electrical needs via a 75 megawatt, $300 million solar-powered generator. The city will also use smart grid technology to manage its power and allow all inhabitants of the community to monitor their energy consumption."
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Florida To Build Solar-Powered City

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  • +1 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:59AM (#27595833)

    I would like to live in what seems to be an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dotancohen (1015143)

      I would like to live in what seems to be an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

      Exactly what I was thinking. [wikipedia.org] And it's in Florida, too.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Ahh yes, that horribly outdated theme park. when are they going to update it? Last time I was there I though it was more of a museum of old tech.

    • is calling you. Don't worry about the underground base, and whatever yuo do...don't look behind you. They'll even provide you with an umbrella for a rainy day.
  • A new city? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:03AM (#27595853) Journal

    Do I understand correctly? They want to build a city from scratch?

    In that case, why build a massive solar generator instead of fitting the rooftops with solar panels from the start? It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shut down the whole city.

    And it would probably save massive amounts of space.

    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:07AM (#27595869) Homepage

      It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shut down the whole city.

      That's disgusting. I hope that the power generator employees won't be doing that on company time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bentov (993323)
      Duh....because we all know that a centralized system is much better than a decentralized one...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bpsbr_ernie (1121681)
        This week... next week it will be... decentralize... centralized is to risky/slow/inefficient... whatever the excuse...
    • by b4upoo (166390)

      I would not assume that they are not planing to use roof tops for solar collection. I suspect that it will look something like a condo type city as we already have a few condo communities the size of cities. Simply adding business spaces into the condominiums is enough to provide employment and you can bet it will be a community largely for retired seniors. Of course the hitch might be if any voting is involved. Then it will take forever to get the ballots right and figure out who cheated just like it

    • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:16AM (#27595939)

      Several reasons:

      (1) Installation on the ground is less expensive than on rooftops.

      (2) If you put them on rooftops, all the houses would have to point in the same direction and have the same roof angles to get best efficiency

      (3) In hurricane country, you might want to reset the panels horizontal in a storm to avoid damage

      I assume they will be tied to the rest of the grid as backup, and to cover cloudy days, ie the city will generate its own power on average, but not necessarily at any given moment.

      • by Spazztastic (814296) <spazztastic@@@gmail...com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:35AM (#27596065)

        Photovoltaic systems are generally expensive overall. Usually when they choose where it goes it's been because they did extensive research and simulations [pvsyst.com] to decide on which location to build it, which direction the panels will face, whether the climate conditions will cause problems, etc. If they chose to put it in one centralized location, it's because they did the fucking math and it will pay off.

        Disclaimer: My cousin sells photovoltaic systems for a living, I've learned a lot from him while assisting.

      • by Kokuyo (549451) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:46AM (#27596169) Journal

        In Switzerland, when the whole roof is supposed to be fitted with PV, they often do not even build the usual roof but use stronger panels that can be walked on and used as a roof themselves.

        A roof isn't a cheap thing, at least around here, so this method puts the cost of PV a bit in perspective.

        Since this is a city built from scratch, what would stop them from having all rooftops point the same direction?

        Your third point ties into my statement towards your thirst. Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

        Another thing that came to mind, though: Having a big effing generator is all nice and well, but what do they do at night? Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Mendoksou (1480261)

          Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

          True, except Murphy's law dictates that a more expensive roof is more likely to be destroyed.

          Another thing that came to mind, though: Having a big effing generator is all nice and well, but what do they do at night? Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

          Or during four days of cloud cover during a large hurricane for that matter. My guess is that they are tied into the FPL network and will be powered by one of the Nuclear generators around there. You can't really have an effective dam in Florida, it's too flat, water will just run around it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I doubt you have to deal with hurricanes tearing roofs off of buildings in Switzerland, so it makes sense to spend the money on it. While a great idea in general, in FL it's essentially trying to save yourself from losing money shortly down the road.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dotancohen (1015143)

          Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

          It's Florida. Too flat to use running water to generate electricity, no delta-h.

          • by JWSmythe (446288) * <.jwsmythe. .at. .jwsmythe.com.> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:03AM (#27598803) Homepage Journal

                Actually, wrong.

                I used to live near the Inglis Hydroelectric plant [inglishydropower.com]. The dam was built in 1909, but stopped generating power in 1965. I know there was talk through the 80's and maybe early 90's about restarting it, but it's output was insignificant compared to the nuclear and 4 coal plants of the Florida Power (Now Progress Energy) Crystal River site, just a few miles away. Bah, who needs clean renewable, when we have 4 coal burning plants and a nuclear reactor that's offline most of the time. :)

                The link above indicates that they're trying to bring it back online as a 2 megawatt facility. In comparison, the nuclear plant a few miles away is a 914 megawatt facility. The 4 coal plants there generate 2313 megawatts. Then again, the Crystal River site is the 12th worst polluter in the US. Ahhh, gotta love clean burning coal. {cough}{cough}

                People get bent out of shape about new power plants going in. But, they get even more bent out of shape if you try to put a hydroelectric plant in. Not only does it use the land the plant is on, but it also uses miles upstream that it has to back up for water pressure. There's no "natural" way to do it, you need the differential in water level to make it work. How do you say "We're going to flood this million acres, all of you need to move now. You'll be paid for your property. Have a nice day."

               

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JWSmythe (446288) *

          > Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

          You've never been in a hurricane, have you?

          Leverage doesn't have all that much to do with things getting ripped up. Wind, pressures, and dumb luck have a lot to do with it.

          Hurricanes can be rough. I still prefer them to earthquakes, but, they're rough. I've seen well secured things rip loose. I've also seen things that shouldn't have survived

        • I guess you have never owned a house, have you? What do you do in 10 years when the roof starts leaking? It's pretty expensive to replace even without solar panels on the roof.

        • by compro01 (777531)

          Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

          Nope. Florida is quite flat and low. The highest point (Britton Hill) is only 105M above sea level.

          Topo map [wikimedia.org] (WARNING : 2.5MB SVG image)

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          One side benefit from a roof covered in PV panels is having a 3 to 6 inch airgap between the roof and the PV panels. you lose a huge amount of solar heat gain with that airgap, you also increase the efficiency of the PV panels by giving them a place to dump excess heat into the air.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by krou (1027572)

      Well, they are installing rooftops with solar panels, too. From the CNet article [cnet.com] that the article linked to: "Along with solar panels on the roofs of buildings citywide, it will be a revolutionary leap forward in clean energy for an urban area."

      Besides that fact, if you have a solar generator that supplies electricity to houses, you can then charge those houses for the supply of electricity. Having solar panels for each house effectively means no revenue stream.

      Call my a cynic, but I doubt Florida Power

    • by furby076 (1461805)
      Generator facility can store more power and they can charge you for said energy. Considering how much money they are spending on infrastructure this is not unreasonable. Generator at your house does not give that luxary - though they will probably build it so you can sell excess energy to the electric company.

      A disadvantage of having solar panels at your house - if they break you are responsible for fixing them. At a generator site they are responsible.

      With regards to the failure - unless we are tal
    • by 8tim8 (623968)

      >In that case, why build a massive solar generator instead of fitting the rooftops with solar panels from the start? It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shut down the whole city

      I think a better question might be, "Why build a brand new city in a state with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the US? Do they really need more empty houses?"

      • by ArhcAngel (247594)

        Any project of this scale requires a LONG lead time. This is no exception. The project "started" in 2005 when it made worlds of sense.

        disclaimer - I work for FPL (although this is the first I've heard of this project)

    • by Taibhsear (1286214) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:26AM (#27596525)

      Ah, typos can happen to the best of us. Let me FTFY.

      It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shot down the whole city.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      They call it a "city," but it looks to me like just another housing development (with a solar-energy gimmick, as opposed to a golf-course gimmick).
  • golf carts too? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tresstatus (260408)
    will it be like one of those crazy retirement communities in florida where everyone drives golf carts? what will happen at night when all of those old farts plug their golf carts in? 8)
    • They roll up the sidewalks at dusk... not much need for night power.

      However, lots of old codgers do head out for the golf course pre-dawn, will need to do something to supply them...
  • Air Conditioning? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Muad'Dave (255648) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:11AM (#27595897) Homepage

    Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

    Hopefully they'll take advantage of highly-efficient ground source heat pumps [wikipedia.org] since the water table is probably very high in the Ft. Meyers area.

    • It is warm here in Florida - and my family uses AC pretty much year round. The funny thing is that it isn't nearly as sunny as I thought it would be. We had many, many more days of sun per year when we were in Arizona. And there it got cool in the winter, though it was a bit hotter in the summer.

      So this does bring up some interesting issues. I can't imagine they could get by purely on solar alone unless they have some truly massive battery capacity that could allow them to run for days without g

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fprintf (82740)

        I think the amount of sun you guys get in Ft. Meyers is mitigated by the incredible thunderstorms that roll from there down through Alligator Alley toward Ft. Lauderdale. My parents live full time in Naples, FL (about 20 minutes south of Ft. Meyers for those not familiar) and virtually every time we have visited it has been sunny and really hot in the morning, and then incredibly cloudy and eventually stormy in the afternoon. You can almost set your watch that there will be a storm sometime between 2 pm and

      • This isn't about a "high concept" purely solar community, this is about getting federal subsidies for using alternative energy. They're going to go for maximum ROI, try to get a systemwide (covering their coal, gas and nuclear facilities) tax break in exchange for building this "significant" alternative energy project, so of course it's going to be as minimal as possible to still get the maximal benefits... I don't think much battery capacity is on the plans here, they'll just use the grid.
    • Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

      Hopefully they'll take advantage of highly-efficient ground source heat pumps [wikipedia.org] since the water table is probably very high in the Ft. Meyers area.

      There is groundwater in Ft. Myers, but it isn't as attractive for heat pumping as in other areas. Close to the coast, it's salt water intruded. Further inland, it periodically drops pretty far below ground due to aggressive pumping for irrigation (same source of the salt-water intrusion problem), and the final kicker is that groundwater temp is the annual average temp, which is only about 68 degrees, an o.k. heat sink, but not highly attractive the way ground-water cooling would be in, say, Minnesota.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      The water table is within 10' (3 meters) of the surface throughout all of the Florida peninsula per a tour at hemmingway's house. It is for that reason that hemmingway's house was one of the FEW that has a basement.

      Apparently, doing geo-thermal HAS a major issue there. The problem is that water is cooler underground which retards microbial growth. Add heat constantly, and all the fertilizers that Florida used on sugar, oranges, etc and you have a REAL issue with growth in your drinking water. As such, a n
    • by baffled (1034554)
      That's a great point. It'd probably be a more efficient use of funds to implement a municipal-scale ground source heat pump distribution network.

      Photoelectric takes a long time to pay for itself. GSHP are relatively cheap - the expensive part is the digging. Distribute that cost among the community and I'd be surprised if the bang per buck wasn't many times better than PE.
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:59AM (#27596995) Homepage

      Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

      Modern folks think they are required to have air conditioning, sure. But I grew up in Jacksonville (Florida) in the 60's and 70's - and houses with air conditioning were the exception, not the norm. People got along just fine without it. We didn't have older folk or kids keeling over from the heat. Nobody panicked when it got over 75 F.
       
      What changed in Florida was four things: 1) Cutting down all the shade trees when building new developments. 2) Building standard ranch tract houses rather than houses suited to the climate. 3) Massive waves of 'immigrants' and retirees from colder areas of the country who were unused to the heat. 4) Ongoing marketing by AC companies that AC was 'required' to be modern and up-to-date.

      • Re:Air Conditioning? (Score:5, Informative)

        by wrook (134116) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:04AM (#27597967) Homepage

        Yeah, I have to agree with this. I'm living in Shizuoka prefecture in Japan and it gets "Florida hot" and then some (I lived in Tallahassee for a year when I was a kid). In the school where I work we *do* have air conditioning. It's set at 28 degrees C. I don't have air conditioning in my house. I use a hand fan during the day and an electric fan at night. If it's really hot I wear a wet bandana on my head. You get used to the heat. Hell, it's barely even warm here compared to places like India.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by zurkog (96881)

        Modern folks think they are required to have air conditioning

        Tallahassee resident and former South Florida resident here. Sure, A/C isn't required. Neither is an internet connection. Neither is electricity, if you want to debate the meaning of "required". But all of those are necessary for modern life. Summers in Florida without A/C consist primarily of sitting on a porch, fanning yourself and drinking iced tea. It makes for a nice "Andy Griffith" tableau, but for those of us not benefiting from coastal breezes (like Jacksonville), we'd rather get some work don

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by DerekLyons (302214)

          Modern folks think they are required to have air conditioning

          Tallahassee resident and former South Florida resident here. Sure, A/C isn't required. Neither is an internet connection. Neither is electricity, if you want to debate the meaning of "required". But all of those are necessary for modern life.

          In other words, you want to handwave the definition of 'required' until you can force AC into it. (Or less politely, bullshit.)

          Summers in Florida without A/C consist primarily of sitting on a

  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:13AM (#27595919)

    Okay, solar-powered city!

    But let's see how much this is going to cost John Q. Resident.

    $300 million divided by say 20,000 residents is $15K/resident. Add in the cost of money and amortization and you're talking at least $2,200 a year.

    Plus they need to build a regular power station to handle 100% of the load for when it gets cloudy and rainy, which in Florida is a non-negligible part of the time. Plus the power lines to bring in all that power to the city. No, you can't assume the rest of their system has that much extra capacity in lines or generators.

    It's not a terribly attractive deal for the actual ratepayers.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      You seem to have forgotten that this is a -new- city, not an old one being revamped. This simply means that each house is an additional $15k (average) to buy. It's not like there are current residents being taxed $15k just to continue living there.

      The fact that it's expensive is an attraction for the people in this community, not a negative.

      BTW, if you'd read the article, you wouldn't have had to guess at the number of residents... You'd know it to be 19,500.

    • by datapharmer (1099455) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:37AM (#27596091) Homepage
      Actually it isn't $2,200 a year, it is under $1140 a year at 6.5% interest for 30 years (the usual home loan term). You must also consider that Florida has some very favorable rebates for Solar and there are some Federal tax credits too. In summer my electric bill is more than $100, so paying $95 for solar before rebates and tax credits will be almost the same amount as coal. Personally I would rather get my energy from solar. If it lasts more than 30 years it is free, if it doesn't then oh well, same price as coal. Sure, there are some other alternate energy sources, but I commend the experiment.
      • Well, since the fee is per resident, an average household will be paying something like 2.3 times that value, or north of $2500/yr. Also, the cost to generate and distribute electricity is only about 25%-30% fuel costs, the rest is maintenance and transmission. One would hope the maintenance would be less than a traditional plant, but (no I didn't RTFA) if there is a steam cycle involved it may not vary much from fossil fuel. If you bank on transmission and administration being set at 50% of the cost, and

      • You're fudging the numbers. You have to borrow TODAY, and the loan can't go out for 30 years as the panels are unlikely to last that long. I assumed they'd last 20 years, so you're perpetually paying $2,200 a year at least. And you can't count subsidies or rebates or tax credits as that's just robbing everyone else to subsidize you, or if every place had these panels you'd just be robbing yourself. And Florida doesn't use coal very much, mostly very expensive natural gas to run the generators. And yes

    • by hey! (33014)

      They don't need to build a regular power station. They can just tap into the grid like everyone else.

      Also, while your amortization is a bit high, you have to realize that $2200/year is not such a huge amount of money for Florida, under last year's energy prices. As a New Englander, I only turn on the air conditioning in one or two rooms part time for maybe six weeks out of the year, but Floridians don't have that option. For them air conditioning is like heating is for us. I'll bet a lot of folks in Mia

      • You're fudging. You can't just tap into the grid, most places have negative extra capacity. Even if you did there's a cost involved.
        And having to run AC a lot is not a plus for your side, it just jacks up the amount of solar panels needed. It's basically insane to collect electricity at 15% efficiency to run individual AC units when a solar boiler could collect 100% to make chilled water at more than triple the efficiency. Madness.

        And playing the futures market does not make a watt-hour of renewable en

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        They don't need to build a regular power station. They can just tap into the grid like everyone else.

        No one needs a power station anywhere, "the grid" is magic!

    • by DrWho520 (655973)
      For me living and paying taxes in Florida ($1700 property taxes,) the most unattractive part is building a brand new city instead of retrofitting an existing one. I would like to see the tax money used on this project benefit existing residents who have paid into the system, not new residents moving into brand new homes.
      • by HanClinto (621615)
        Nono -- you forget, it's ::green:: to live in a disposable society, rather than trying to recycle or re-use old homes. Screw the older homes, we can throw those in the landfill -- this is PROGRESS!
    • The thinking behind subsidized alternative energy is to get it "out of the hole" and into the mainstream.

      If you took away all of the federally sponsored sweet deals going to big oil (like the Iraq War?), "alternative" energy would be in much better shape than it is.
    • Here's a thought: Maybe they actually did the math. Maybe they did the math in a much more indepth analysis than you did. But then again - this is Slashdot. Everyone here is a genious who knows much better after 30 seconds than the people who've worked on the projects for months and years.

      • Ah, no. This is the same company that did the math for putting up wind turbines at their nuclear plant, saw the dismal numbers, and went ahead and BUILT THEM ANYWAY. Even though there is not a single spot in Florida that's consistently windy enough to even approach break-even.

        Photovoltaics will be cost-effective as soon as you see non-govt, non-utility folks putting their money into them with no muni bonds, legislative mandates or tax incentives. Not any decade anytime soon.

  • Close to my home.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by zepo1a (958353)
    This is about 10-15 miles from my home in Arcadia, FL.

    Most of the Babcock Ranch is swamp land, nature preserve (They do tours there, alligators, FL. panthers, etc..). I am guessing that is why the requirement for Solar power there, as there was a lot of stink locally when it was sold about what they would actually be allowed to do with the land. I look forward to moving there (if I can afford it!)
    • You'd be better off to buy a foreclosed house in Port Charlotte, take the money left over and buy your own (federally subsidized) solar power system.

      The only reason FPL is even talking about this is because of subsidies.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Great - so Southern FL loses more of it's already alarmingly shrunken natural habitat, places more strain on it's limited water supplies, some developer pockets big bucks in subsidies from the the taxpayers, and we get what...? Yet another development that's planned and promised to be great and wonderful and new, and ends up being just more crowding and cookie cutter ticky tacky - but with solar panels.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:19AM (#27595971)

    Start with wooden buildings and dirt roads. Add some cows, some pigs, chickens...

    The almighty sun will make the plants grow and with those you can feed the animals and the people.

    And you got a solar powered city.

    You can have bees for the candles to read at night. The honey is a bonus.

  • I dont see any of the diesel big-rigs that are traitionally required to bring food and other resources into a city.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:30AM (#27596039)

    Why not gas from all the decomposing old people?

  • Fascinating. I wonder if they need homesteaders. I've always thought about moving to Tampa/St. Petersburg area...

    • Just around the corner from Babcock is Lehigh Acres, you can pick up houses there for $30K now, one of the most under-occupied cities in the SouthEast. The whole inland area there is in a serious housing over-supply.

      Tampa/St. Pete is a couple of hours North of Babcock.
  • how are they going generate baseline power with solar energy only? get rain for a week and city will be sure to go black
    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      According to this: http://www.babcockranchflorida.com/innovationvideo.asp [babcockranchflorida.com] By consuming less KW hours than the solar facilities located on the property will produce, Babcock Ranch will become the first city in the world powered by clean, renewable solar energy.

      I interpret this to mean: while on average they produce more than they need - they trade their surplus when they have excess production for energy from the grid when they don't have enough. So they'll have a normal grid connection for the trading.

  • It's about time, that a city comes into its own and has a power grid which is self sustaining, even though it is still plugged into the regular power grid we know and loathe.
    If anything happens locally, the main power grid kicks in, if the main power grid has problems, it does not wipe out a whole city's power!

    This is a win win situation for all parties involved and will also help create more jobs...
    a local city power plant instead of the federal/privatized power plant.

    I just hope that the city does not buc

  • It will be interesting to see how this experiment works out. While I hope it will be successful I suspect it will produce mixed results. The amount of power they are generating sounds fairly low for the size of the city (unless the population density is very low) and I'm guessing that the cars and most of the space heating won't be electric (but the cooling probably will be).

    Solar power is great but it's probably not going to be how we generate most of our power in the next 100 years. We really need to star

  • They might as well buy out and raze some existing city and build it on the oceanfront--because if they charge property taxes that actually cover the construction costs, only multi-millionaires will be able to afford to live there anyway.


    ...
    "Modern living with clean efficient power! Act now, for a limited time, get a free Tesla roadster with purchase of any home..."
    ~
  • They want to build 19,500 houses and create 20,000 jobs?

    Playing with numbers for a second... assuming there are 2.5 people living in each home and the community is equally spread across all age groups with an average life expectancy of 75 years then the school systems will have 650 kids in every grade level and they'll need to have enough space for 8,500 k-12 students. At a seemingly reasonable ratio 12 students per teacher, this is ~700 teachers who (if paid $35k/yr) will draw $25M in salaries, which wi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      "..At a seemingly reasonable ratio 12 students per teache"

      HAHAHAHAHAha

  • by Ruvim (889012) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:36AM (#27596691)

    While overall this being a good idea, with so many vacancies in FL now, do they really need more real estate?

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spike2131 (468840) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:00AM (#27597003) Homepage

    Why build a new city in Florida when all the ones they already have are chock full of empty, foreclosed houses? Its a lot more green to live in the places you've already built than it is to build new places. Putting solar panels on your new city doesn't change that equation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Uhm, because it's not "chock full of empty, foreclosed houses" and the population is continuously rising. Perhaps you are confusing Florida with Detroit?
  • The better get some solar powered flash-lights for use at night.
  • Underwater (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:12AM (#27597189)
    Perhaps Florida should plan for hydro power instead, given the projected rise in sea level? http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/florida.shtml [geology.com]
  • As someone who grew up in Florida, I wonder did these guys forget something? How do you hurricane proof solar panels??? You can't exactly put steel reinforced concrete in front of them to block incoming projectiles that fly around during a hurricane. Solar panels might make sense in the Mojave desert but not so sure about Florida where the entire state is at risk of being hit by a hurricane every year. I guess they can swap the panels out for wind generators during a hurricane. Maybe a tidal generator
  • It's a resort.
  • Dubai was building something like this to show how futuristic they are. But I think its been slowed down due to the plunge in oil profits.
  • by MikeURL (890801)
    Nothing about the whole project sounds sustainable to me. When I think of sustainable I think of a system that will keep working even if Peak Oil occurs. This development would have to turn off the power every time it is cloudy. The very first serious storm could destroy the panels and then they are all done. So this means that it is only sustainable in the context of an ongoing supply of cheap energy via oil.

    I HAVE heard ideas that sound like they could last a very long time. Building solar collect

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