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Power Science

Vatican To Build 100 Megawatt Solar Power Plant 447

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
Karim Y. writes "The Vatican is going solar in a big way. The tiny state recently announced that it intends to spend 660 million dollars to create what will effectively be Europe's largest solar power plant. This massive 100 megawatt photovoltaic installation will provide enough energy to make the Vatican the first solar powered nation state in the world! 'The 100 megawatts unleashed by the station will supply about 40,000 households. That will far outstrip demand by Pope Benedict XVI and the 900 inhabitants of the 0.2 square-mile country nestled across Rome's Tiber River. The plant will cover nine times the needs of Vatican Radio, whose transmission tower is strong enough to reach 35 countries including Asia.'"
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Vatican To Build 100 Megawatt Solar Power Plant

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  • by mhazen (144368) * on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:04PM (#27653909) Homepage

    ...about the Father, the Sun, and the Holy Ghost here.

    • by Brigadier (12956) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:11PM (#27654001)

      ISIAH 60:19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, .......(adlib) yet it shall power your many plasma screens and electric back scratcher..(/adlib)

      • What, no comic book love? This reminds me think of Orion's Sun Disc, from Matt Wagner's Grendel series.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        yet it shall power your many plasma screens and electric back scratcher..

        Why else did God set the Sun in orbit around the Earth?

      • HOT AIR (Score:4, Funny)

        by sanman2 (928866) on Monday April 20, 2009 @08:45PM (#27655225)
        I'm surprised they never thought to harness the prodigious amounts of HOT AIR they produce, to harvest energy from.
        • Re:HOT AIR (Score:5, Funny)

          by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday April 20, 2009 @09:03PM (#27655363)

          No, no, no... this is the Vatican we're talking about here. You're thinking of D.C.

    • by davidwr (791652) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:16PM (#27654043) Homepage Journal

      God got tired of Satan bragging about his "all naturally-environmentally-powered controlled climate system" so he upped the ante a bit.

      • Re:Hotter'N'Hell (Score:4, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:08PM (#27654483) Homepage Journal

        God got tired of Satan

        Just remember, Lucifer means "light-bringer".

    • This is a job for Sol Invictus.
    • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:45PM (#27654303) Journal

      ...about the Father, the Sun, and the Holy Ghost here.

      No, no, no. The correct joke is:

      This gives new meaning to the phrase "For thine is the kingdom and the power...."

      • by ross.w (87751)

        Except Catholics leave out that bit. Now you know why.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          No, Catholics don't leave it out, or at least not when used as part of the mass. They just say it a little differently. The problem is, the Catholic form, "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever," didn't allow me to end with the word "power" and have the fragment make much sense....

          • Re:Insert joke.... (Score:5, Informative)

            by PeterBrett (780946) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @02:17AM (#27656937) Homepage

            Relevant extract from the 1973 ICEL edition of The Roman Missal:

            C: Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Saviour gave us:

            All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trepasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

            C: Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

            All: For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jason Levine (196982)

        Now I have a mental image of the Pope raising a solar panel above his head and saying "I HAVE THE POOOOOWER!" (Yes, my brain is fried and I'm mixing the Pope up with He-Man. Obviously my brain needs sleep. Of course, it would be much more fun to sleep deprive it a bit more and see what else pops up.)

    • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:08PM (#27654481)
      Pope Benedict harnesses Sun. Oracle Buys Sun [slashdot.org]

      Larry Ellison is God?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Pope Benedict harnesses Sun. Oracle Buys Sun [slashdot.org]

        Larry Ellison is God?

        You know what the difference is between God and Larry Ellison?

        God doesn't think he is Larry Ellison.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dbIII (701233)
      Now I understand!
      This is why the Oracle said to buy Sun!
  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by Widowwolf (779548) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:06PM (#27653929) Homepage
    Holy megawatts Batman!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DoctorBit (891714)
      I'm doubtful about the numbers in the summary and title. 100 Megawatts would require over a square mile of collecting area at noon on a cloudless day, yet the entire country is only one fifth that size. Perhaps the power plant is in a neighboring country and the power gets pumped in from across the border?
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

        by erpbridge (64037) <<steve> <at> <erpbridge.com>> on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:56PM (#27654389) Journal

        Read the article. Plant is being constructed a days walk from Rome.

        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

          by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Monday April 20, 2009 @10:45PM (#27656003) Journal
          I think it has something to do with statistics. Sort of like, with 1/2 square mile in land area, the Vatican has an average of two popes per square mile. This is more papal density than it ever had, even during the Borgia regime.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

        by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:03PM (#27654443)

        I'm doubtful about the numbers in the summary and title. 100 Megawatts would require over a square mile of collecting area at noon on a cloudless day, yet the entire country is only one fifth that size. Perhaps the power plant is in a neighboring country and the power gets pumped in from across the border?

        The project is on the same 740 acre (~1.15 sq. mi.) extraterritorial holding on which the Vatican Radio's transmitters are located. Its in the secord paragraph of TFA.

        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

          by dargaud (518470) <[ten.duagradg] [ta] [2todhsals]> on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @04:45AM (#27657507) Homepage
          Oh yes, Vatican radio... The most powerful radio in the world (after some cold war ultra-low freq submarine comm systems). Also cause of many cancers in the villagers living near the gigantic antennas, but it is absolute taboo to talk about those stats in Italy. There is much to comment here, from the need to have such a gospel sending device, to the fact that you want to hide a dangerous antenna with 'green solar energy'.

          Note that I'm not exaggerating: it takes a good half hour to drive around the antenna.

      • Perhaps the power plant is in the [wikipedia.org] neighbouring country...

        Fixed that for you.

      • by dinther (738910)

        Mod up this guy! Just my point too. What a joke

  • by shogun (657) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:06PM (#27653931)

    Now that we've dealt with that...

  • by Fuzzlekits (909093) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:06PM (#27653937)
    So, how exactly are we planning to run them six million over budget, here?
  • Where it is going.
    • by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:11PM (#27653997)

      Putting Jesus through college?

    • by religious freak (1005821) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:38PM (#27654249)
      The Catholic church is widely regarded to be the most wealthy organization in the world, by a long shot.

      Personally, I'm happy to see them put it to work a bit, especially after seeing the Cuzco Church of Santo Domingo literally COVERED in gold and silver and the royal grandeur that is Saint Peter's Square. Add together the rest of the real estate, hard assets, art, donations, low cost of labor, etc, etc and you have a truly mighty organization that can do a lot more than it is. I swear, I saw both Cuzco and the Vatican years ago, and the wealth still boggles my mind.

      Personally, I'm happy to see that money actually doing something other than contributing to opulence. I think they should be doing much more of this investment.
      • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Monday April 20, 2009 @08:02PM (#27654879) Journal
        It's something I often wonder about, actually: what's their excuse for anything beyond utilitarian buildings and equipment?

        I'm sure it's fun having huge chunks of gold around the place, but when their religious text contains categorical denunciation of wealth it strikes me as odd.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I'm sure it's fun having huge chunks of gold around the place, but when their religious text contains categorical denunciation of wealth it strikes me as odd.

          Ahem...

          "And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head."

          "And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It's something I often wonder about, actually: what's their excuse for anything beyond utilitarian buildings and equipment?

          I can't say for Catholics, but Russian (and, so far as I know, other) Orthodox churches are even more lavishly decorated, and there the explanation is that it is to better highlight the glory of God, particularly to laity. So priests don't go around in gold-trimmed clothing all the time, but only when they perform priestly services. All the wealth is seen as belonging to God, ultimately, not to his servants.

          Of course, this doesn't stop the Russian Patriarch from riding around on the best car money can buy..

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Idiomatick (976696)
        Uhhh walmart made 405Billion dollars last year. Unless you just assume all the stuff the catholic church owns are priceless you are way off. They have the most wealth that is not producing maybe. But that is like seeing a guy smoking weed out of a 100$ bill and assuming he's richer than the guy with a 500$ car from 1988.

        Not that I don't appreciate all the art, I frigging loved my trip to Rome and taking a tour of the vatican you definately get the feeling that they have more culture and art than most coun
    • by ZosX (517789)

      Well, Hell. This is at least on topic (sorta):

      -

      Controversy

      The Vatican Bank is said to be a successful and profitable bank. By the 1990s, the Bank had invested somewhere over US$10 billion in foreign companies. In 1968 Vatican authorities hired Michele Sindona as a financial advisor, despite Sindona's questionable past. It was Sindona who was chiefly responsible for the massive influx of money when he began laundering the Gambino crime family's heroin monies (taking a 50% cut) through a shell corporation "Ma

    • it down that big cesspool we call Congress here in the states. At least the Vatican isn't building war machines with it. They are one of the largest charities in the world taking care of more people regardless of politics. Can't say that about any government. How much is poured into the UN and for what good? Yeah they have had their bad times but what organization throughout the history of man hasn't? At least they move forward.

      They run nearly 6000 hospitals, 9000 orphanages, and tens of thousands of

  • by Rei (128717) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:07PM (#27653955) Homepage

    If they need extra power on certain days, they could just have the sun stop in the sky [biblegateway.com] for a while.

    • by ZosX (517789)

      A funny joke, but a disturbing quote. There was a russian that wrote a length about this. I believe the book was called "Worlds in Collision." I have a copy laying around somewhere. A bunch of cultures apparently all talked about the same event happening, though nobody really seems to know what happened. Anyone know what I'm talking about and have any ideas? I know its off topic and all, but I've been thinking about this and you mentioned it. The book proposes the idea that venus collided with earth at this

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fm6 (162816)

        You're thinking of Immanuel Velikovsky. He started out as a Jungian Psychotherapist. Jungians are fond of spinning theories about myths and their historical origins. The history IV needed to make his theories work included a lot of near collisions between Earth and other planets. When told that this totally contradicted current physical theory, IV just went and invented his own "science" of planetary cosmology.

        This "science" has always had a huge following, despite it's sheer aburdity. Perhaps it's the viv

  • by B5_geek (638928) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:14PM (#27654025)

    So it appears that the Marketing department has won once again. After ~2000 years they have decided to 'freshen things up a little'. Looks like Buddy Christ lost.

    So now that the Vatican is a Solar sect, does that mean using sunblock SPF-50 is a sin?
    Skin cancer the new stigmata?

    Remember kids; everything old is new again, I'm just waiting for my Leisure Suits to come back into style.

  • It's like raaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiaaaaaaaan....

  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:16PM (#27654055) Homepage Journal

    As I recall (and Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] backs it up, FWIW), Vatican Radio may not be such a good example of a successful, well-received project. It takes a lot of juice to pump a radio signal from Italy to Asia, and from what I've heard, the folks who live nearby aren't too happy about it. Take the debate over cell phone (non-ionizing) radiation, and multiply it by a few megawatts.

    OTOH, maybe it's a final solution to the problem: buy out everyone living near the tower, and replace the whole swath of land with solar concentrators. It's, um, brilliant!

  • by arizwebfoot (1228544) * on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:17PM (#27654057)
    And all this time I thought the Vatican ran on a 12 volt Interstate Battery recharged by some monk on a bicycle.

    Whew, thanks for the correction.
  • by jayke (1531583) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:20PM (#27654079)
    Asia is not a country, you silly people! You're thinking of Africa.

    Regards,
    Sarah P.
  • Sell juice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AutoReg (1140805) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:28PM (#27654139)
    I'm guessing that Vatican City is connected to Italy's power grid - passing the collection plate isn't the only way to make $$.
  • by btempleton (149110) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:35PM (#27654219) Homepage

    Solar PV is one of the least efficient ways to take money and make the world greener. As a charitable organization, the Vatican could get 50x the MWH offsets per buck by giving away efficient lighting, or if that is too abstract it could get 3x the MWH offset per dollar by buying new fridges for the poor who have old fridges from 1990 and earlier. Those fridges from the past use 2-3 times the energy per year that a modern one does, and so it is much greener if the Vatican buys them for the poor and uses grid power itself rather than putting up wasteful solar panels.

    • by hey! (33014) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:49PM (#27654337) Homepage Journal

      Except that they can't recoup costs by giving away efficient appliances and bulbs, because they aren't a utility, nor are they a government with enough electricity users and a regulated utility to play those kinds of financial games.

      So, unless there's untapped oil reserves sitting under Rome, this is just about the only way for them to get into the energy game, once they've replace all their own light bulbs.

      Also, catching the tech wave is all about timing and positioning too. There's always going to be some folks who try too early, and others that think the ones catching the wave are too early. Somebody's got to try early, because the technology won't really be practical until there have been a few failures.

    • Sure? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by feranick (858651)
      Quote: "Solar PV is one of the least efficient ways to take money and make the world greener." I would like to see some reference to that claim, because it's totally wrong. PV solar is getting VERY close to the tipping point of being economically viable (2015 projected date), when compared with fossile based technologies. It's the ONLY green technology (besides, conservation) to be that close.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by philipgar (595691)
        Ever hear of nuclear power? What about hydroelectric? Both are relatively green, and are economically viable. Also they don't have the problem of failing to generate electricity at night, or when there are too many clouds out, and can be used to generate the power grids base load.

        Phil
    • by Firethorn (177587)

      As a charitable organization, the Vatican could get 50x the MWH offsets per buck by giving away efficient lighting,

      The thing that gets me about this is that people will tell me about all the ways to save power, and my response is usually 'already done'. I'm at the point that to be more energy efficient would involve either extreme sacrifice - like keeping my house at 40F during the winter even when I'm home, or just plain rebuilding my house.

      Once they've already updated their appliances and lighting, what's left?

      Sure, there's still a good deal that can be done on the appliance side. However, the population of the USA

  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:43PM (#27654283) Homepage Journal
    In Vatican, sun orbit YOU!
  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:46PM (#27654317)

    Damnit, there goes the production capacity of Nanosolar Inc. for ANOTHER two years. Cheap solar cell retail availability gets shooooved to the right to ------> 2012.

    <Godwin>First those damn Germans bought up all their production, attempting to perpetuate their Fourth Reich!<tinfoilhat>Now it's a conspiracy to preempt and prevent micro-generation!</tinfoilhat></Godwin>

  • Death Star (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:05PM (#27654453)

    Of course, with the pope's uncanny resemblance to Emperor Palpatine, I can't resist the thought of hearing, upon completion of the 100 MegaWatt facility, the words: "NOW YOU WILL WITNESS THE POWER OF THIS FULLY OPERATIONAL BATTLE STATION!"...

  • Maybe with all those page hits, the hamster got tired. No wonder they need a solar plant

  • ... the Vatican is building a solar power plant in Italian territory, subsidized by Italian money, to export energy to Italy? That seems like a good deal.
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:21PM (#27654605) Journal

    > The Vatican is going solar in a big way. The tiny state recently announced that it intends to spend 660 million dollars to create what will effectively be Europe's largest solar power plant.

    For only 6 million dollars more they can add an option to generate power from the conversion of pure evil.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:33PM (#27654699)

    I know there are batteries but what size of batteries or what storage setup would be employed in banking the power captured during the day for use during night time?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Why bank it in batteries when you can bank it a bank? I.E. sell the excess power during the day, with the cash thus received purchase whatever power is required at night.

  • BOLGIAS 8 AND 9, Rome, Monday — The Vatican intends to build the biggest renewable energy plant in Europe, running solely on guilt [today.com].

    "Now is the time to strike," said Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, governor of Vatican City. "The financial crisis has unleashed huge and renewable sources of guilt, which in the long run will reap incomparable rewards for the Church."

    Italy has a binding target for renewable energy consumption of 17 percent. The Vatican will export energy to Italy, powered by raw guilt from the largely Catholic populace. "So far it's proven indefinitely renewable."

    Pope Benedict XVI has been outspoken on environmental issues. "The destruction of the environment, its improper or selfish use and the violent hoarding of the Earth's resources cause grievances, conflicts and wars, precisely because they are the consequences of an inhumane concept of development. You should FEEL BAD about that. And give us money."

    The plant will be topped up at night by Dante-esque treadmills walked by priests sent back for kiddy-fiddling. "We feel terrible, terrible," said Fr O'Pederast. "I mean, we got caught."

  • by zzyber (1537283) on Monday April 20, 2009 @08:24PM (#27655063)
    What do you think it takes to power a private hotline to God ?!

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