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Power Hardware

Germany Sets New Solar Power Record 568

An anonymous reader sends this quote from a Reuters report: "German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity — through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said. The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022. ... The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world's leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed."
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Germany Sets New Solar Power Record

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  • What percentage is generated at midnight?
    • Re:midnight (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:42PM (#40123031)

      What percentage is generated at midnight?

      Midnight isn't the problem; power consumption is quite low then, and only drops more as the clock continues, only to start climbing well after dawn. Power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure has to be built for peak, and that's the problem. Fortunately, a lot of the peak load is during daylight hours. A lot of it is also in the evening as well, but it's not about finding a magic bullet, it's about helping cut back on (not eliminate) the need to use coal or nuclear power.

      • Re:midnight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pentium100 ( 1240090 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:59PM (#40123175)

        Working hours correlate well with sunlight in the summer, but winter is different - short days (less than 8 hours during winter solstice in my country (more north from Germany)) not much light during the days and everybody using more power (lighting) make solar power not practical in winter.

        • Re:midnight (Score:4, Insightful)

          by willy_me ( 212994 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:45PM (#40123481)

          Working hours correlate well with sunlight in the summer, but winter is different - short days (less than 8 hours during winter solstice in my country (more north from Germany)) not much light during the days and everybody using more power (lighting) make solar power not practical in winter.

          Very true. Here in Canada, people often rave about how we could be using solar power; they just don't get it. Solar power is not an efficient solution in Canada, wind power makes far more sense.

          But Germany reaching their goal of solar providing for 1/3 of their power would be an impressive feat. There are plenty of countries that have far more solar potential then Germany. If they can do it, then other countries like Spain should be able to do even more.

      • Midnight isn't the problem; power consumption is quite low then, and only drops more as the clock continues, only to start climbing well after dawn.

        I bet winter is a problem, although maybe not quite so far south as Germany. Power demand is pretty heavy from sunset to sunrise with a big spike in the morning that doesn't tail off until well after 9am, long before the sun is up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ericloewe ( 2129490 )

        Just wait until electric cars become popular. Then we'll have a problem.

      • The problem is that every graph I have seen shows THE peak at about 6pm (in every state in my country it's about 2GW higher than during the daytime peak (at around 10-11am). When people get home from work, and more importantly when the sun is already so low on the horizon even in the favourable times of the year that you won't get much out of your solar plant. I get the feeling that's what the GP was trying to get at.

        Slashdot readership is a lot better than most, but the vast majority of people believe that

    • Re:midnight (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ikihsam'> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:45PM (#40123047) Homepage

      0 of course. That's when they're buying power from France's nukes though. Not to forget that they're already scrambling to find some way to subsidize [] all of this, [] because it cost too much taxpayer money. [] At the end of the day, the government is going off about how it'll pay all for itself, and the public is still left wondering where all the money is coming from, while the euro is tanking, and the economy looks like shit.

      • Re:midnight (Score:5, Informative)

        by Knuckles ( 8964 ) < minus painter> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:32PM (#40123389)

        The German nuclear industry was subsidized by at least 80 billion EUR from 1956 to 2007 (and 3.7 billion in 2006 alone) based on extremely conservative estimates, but likely much more. A study commisioned by Greenpeace arrived at a number of 203.7 billion from 1950 to 2010. According to WP at least, []

        • Re:midnight (Score:5, Insightful)

          by slashrio ( 2584709 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @05:19PM (#40123723)
          Subsidized you say?

          Wait until we start 'subsidizing' the decommissioning of all those nuclear-waste producers...

          For that money we could have reached 100% solar coverage. From the Sahara.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Knuckles ( 8964 )

            Absolutely. Not even the Greenpeace numbers fully account for that. Plus Germany still has no final storage facility for nuclear waste, and the previous attempts at storage (Assen, Gorleben) ended in costly failure. Who knows what an actual final facility might cost over time.

          • by tmosley ( 996283 )
            Right. Sure. We could have gotten 100% of Europe's electricity, shipped it with a 50% loss across half the globe and it would have cost less than a quarter trillion dollars.

            LO fucking L.

            The mods who deemed the above post "insightful" are blithering idiots. You might have been able to provide enough power for Berlin for as much, but not all of Europe. Nevermind that the first time the cable gets cut by some idiot or terrorist the whole continent would be in the stone age.
            • by chrb ( 1083577 )

              We could have gotten 100% of Europe's electricity

              He didn't say 100% of Europe's electricity - he was referring to Germany's (nuclear generated?) electricity. 203.7 billion Euros ($255 billion) would buy a lot of solar panels. I don't know if that would be enough to match whatever German electricity production figure the OP was referring to, perhaps someone will work it out.

              shipped it with a 50% loss across half the globe

              No, 15%: []

              An organization called DESERTEC [] is promoting a plan to use concentrating solar power in sunny Mediterranean countries, and high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission lines (figure 25.7) to deliver the power to cloudier northern parts. HVDC technology has been in use since 1954 to transmit power both through overhead lines and through submarine cables (such as the interconnector between France and England). It is already used to transmit electricity over 1000-km distances in South Africa, China, America, Canada, Brazil, and Congo. A typical 500 kV line can transmit a power of 2 GW. A pair of HVDC lines in Brazil transmits 6.3 GW.

              HVDC is preferred over traditional high-voltage AC lines because less physical hardware is needed, less land area is needed, and the power losses of HVDC are smaller. The power losses on a 3500 km-long HVDC line, including conversion from AC to DC and back, would be about 15%. A further advantage of HVDC systems is that they help stabilize the electricity networks to which they are connected.

        • Re:midnight (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ikihsam'> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @06:39PM (#40124313) Homepage

          Wait did you just quote Greenpeace? The same group that opposes any form of nuclear power whatsoever? Ah I thought you did. Now remind me that even with these subsidies how much the power in germany works out to via nuclear? I'm sure it'll be somewhere in the 0.06-0.012c/KWH range, and solar will be in the 0.40-0.90c/KWH range. I mean in Greece it hit an earth shattering $1.20/KWH for just wind, solar did hit 0.80c/KWH.

        • Re:midnight (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @06:45PM (#40124353)

          The German nuclear industry was subsidized by at least 80 billion EUR from 1956 to 2007 (and 3.7 billion in 2006 alone) based on extremely conservative estimates, but likely much more. A study commisioned by Greenpeace arrived at a number of 203.7 billion from 1950 to 2010. According to WP at least, []

          Care to add up the numbers we've spent on the military during that same time frame as in percentage of the budget compared to Germany? If we spent the same percentage on the military as Germany and took the savings and spent it on alternative energy we'd have such an energy glut we'd be powering Canada and Mexico as well and trying to figure out how to export electricity to Europe. Fiscal will is all that has held us back. Germany has it we don't.

        • by slb ( 72208 ) *
          Even if we take at face value your Greenpeace studies, these subsidies are ridiculous compared to those of solar energy. 200G € sound like a lot, but in 2010, nuclear accounted for 22.5% of electric power while solar only 4%. Now the subsidies for solar amounted to more than 50G € in ten years and the comitments for the lifetime of these obsolete and inneficient solar pannels are more than 50G €. Of course if you had been honest you could have compared the ratio of subsidies per kWh which (a
        • Let's just look at that 3.7 billion figure for 2006. I couldn't find a figure for 2006, but in 2010 nuclear power accounted for 22.4% of the total electricity consumption in Germany. I couldn't find the 2010 figure for electricity consumption, but in 2008 it was 544,500,000MWh, and I doubt it's decreased since then so I'll use that figure. That works out at 121,968,000MWh of nuclear power consumed. So, 3.7 billion Euros subsidising 122 billion kWh of electricity, works out at about 3.3 eurocents per kWh
      • Re:midnight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:34PM (#40123405) Homepage Journal

        Actually France has been struggling to meet peak demand with nuclear in recent years due to the hot summers we have been enjoying. Nuclear plants need to dump a lot of heat and when the ambient temperature gets too high they either have to drop to idle mode or dump hot water into lakes and streams, killing off the local wildlife and generally trashing the environment.

        Of course this flaw does not mean nuclear is useless. I'm not a nuke-you-mentalist who writes off every other technology because it isn't perfect. However, this does highlight solar PV's strength - you get the most power when you need it.

        • Re:midnight (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:44PM (#40123471)

          However, this does highlight solar PV's strength - you get the most power when you need it.

          People have to remember that many parts of the world (Germany, especially) actually uses *more* energy in the winter (and it's more important that it be available - AC for the most part is a modern convenience, but heat it necessary to survive), it's just not traditionally via electricity generation. Natural gas and heating oil are also non-renewable hydrocarbon-based energy sources. A long term solution to power needs to replace *all* form of non-renewable, CO2-generating energy...

          • Re:midnight (Score:4, Informative)

            by fritsd ( 924429 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:56PM (#40123561) Journal
            "Passivhaus" [] is a German word.
            There is still an enormous amount of "low-hanging-fruit" in energy conservation by better insulation with modern materials.

            A long term solution to power needs to replace *all* form of non-renewable, CO2-generating energy...

            Yes, agreed. And also better storage technology is needed, especially with intermittant renewables such as solar and wind.

            • Re:midnight (Score:5, Informative)

              by ThePeices ( 635180 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @05:53PM (#40123903)

              The technology is here already, molten salt thermal storage.

              We just need to build a utility grade facility to get the engineering challenges ironed out and to measure the real world performance of a full scale system.

              Countries like Australia could be 100% solar with 24/7 electricity generation by coupling solar thermal concentrators with molten salt storage, by using some of the vast tracts of high sunshine hour desert land in the outback.

    • That's not the problem since the consumption is low then.
      The problem will be in the winter months in the morning and the evening, when the sun isn't shining and electric heating is running in some places. Well, last winter showed that this mostly becomes a problem in France, since they get power from Germany at these times, and use a lot of electric heating because of the low state-controlled electricity prices.
      While I am ok with the switch to solar power in principle, it just does not work that easily
  • It's Just Gigawatts (Score:4, Informative)

    by Savantissimo ( 893682 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:40PM (#40123011) Journal

    It's just gigawatts, not gigawatts per hour.

    • It's just gigawatts, not gigawatts per hour.

      I was thinking that. Maybe they meant that average power output, over one hour, was 22 GW?

    • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:50PM (#40123093)

      A lot of people seem to intuitively like to think of energy capacity in terms of energy generated per hour, which seems to be what causes the confusion. You can use Joules per hour, but J aren't used conventionally in electricity generation; instead watt-hours, kilowatt-hours, and gigawatt-hours are used. But then if you want to talk about energy generation per unit time, you'd talk about how many gigawatt-hours per hour are being generated, GW*hr/hr. Which is of course just gigawatts. But now you have something that doesn't sound like "energy per hour" again, unless you know that a watt is a unit of power, and that power is already energy over time.

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Why do these anecdotal "people" find it easier to visualize "energy per unit of time" than "power"?

        One joule is one watt times one second? It's more relatable for most people to visualize one watt for one hour than one watt for one second. A joule is a ridiculously small unit of energy. One joule is 2.78x1E-7 kWh - if the electric bill they receive says they used 1000 kWh, that's 3.6 million joules. If they pay for electricity, they're more used to the unit kWh.

        • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @05:59PM (#40123961)

          I'm not arguing specifically for Joules, just that in most cases when a rate is used, it's explicit: miles-per-hour, km/hr, m^3/s. Power is a somewhat odd case because a derived unit, J/s, is given its own name, W, which wraps the fact that it's a rate into the unit, "burying" the per-unit-time portion of the unit, rather than keeping it explicitly written out as in km/hr or m^3/s.

        • You said it yourself. They are more used to the unit kWh. Most people either did not take physics in school or do not remember it. Most do not know the difference between kW and kWh (they will say kilowatt-hour but then shorten it to kilowatt later in the conversation). Not defending TFS or TFA, they should get it right. But the parent is right in that most people think in terms of energy per unit time, mainly because that is what they pay for.
        • 1000kWh is actually 3.6 billion Joules. (Or 3.6 milliard Joules if you're using that logical European system which no one in the US understands.)

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:41PM (#40123021)

    That's awesome! For summer...

    I don't know how many of you have been to Germany, but it has a LONG winter, with heavy clouds going well into spring. Some places on earth it makes sense to try to fall back so heavily on solar, but Germany is not that place. They are SCREWED come the next long winter. They are either going to be paying out the nose for France's nuclear power, or having quite a lot of rolling blackouts...

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:47PM (#40123065)

      Germany has a long term plan to eliminate the long winter problem:

      Global Warming.

      • by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:16PM (#40123293)

        As opposed to US politics, there is a consensus in German politics. Namely that politics is for the benefit of the people and society. Business is a part of that society, not the other way around.

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        Germany has a long term plan to eliminate the long winter problem: Global Warming.

        I'm not sure that's going to pan out. Solar panels generate power from light, not heat. (adding heat actually reduces the amount of power they can generate)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:49PM (#40123081)

      Sorry to disappoint you - sentences exactly like this have been spewing from the nuclear industry since the decision. Coupled with many scenarios of doom that would happen as soon as the first nuclear power generators were disconnected. Coupled with how the power price would immediately increase (it fell since then, even though the industry tried to keep it up).

      And you know what - nothing happened. Germany is happily exporting power (even to the french with all their nuclear power. Because on really hot and cold days they do not have enough capacity. Kind of funny when thinking about it ) - and there are even some gas power plants that are being abandoned because we still have too much capacity (they are not viable at the current power prices).

      So - no, we are not screwed in the next long winter, we will not be needing french nuclear power and we certainly won't be seing rolling blackouts.

      • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:17PM (#40123305)
        It's premature to say what the net effect will be. There are time when Germany has a net surplus and exports to France (because Russian natural gas is more expensive than surplus German electricity). There are also times when Germany imports French power because French nukes keep cranking out the power around the clock and their economy is in the tank compared to Germany's.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @05:04PM (#40123613)

          People should also pay attention to the effect of energy prices: Germany has high electricity prices. If electricity is used for heat, it's in low-energy (well-insulated) houses and with heat pumps. France has cheap electricity. The pressure to use the electricity efficiently isn't there, so the French have much less insulated houses and resistive electric heating, which is less efficient than heat pumps, is ubiquitous. In cold winters, France has energy shortages, in spite of the numerous nuclear power plants. Their cheap electricity policy has caused a very seasonal energy need, for which nuclear power is far from ideal. To meet peak demand, they have to build so much capacity that they end up having to sell the surplus very cheaply most of the time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This winter, dispite germany having shut down nuclear reactors, it was france importing electricity from germany. Not the other way around. the french have a bigger problem with cold winters, since they are using electrical heating excessively

      Link regarding france importing electricity from germany:

    • I don't know how many of you have been to Germany, but it has a nighttime too.

  • There is no such thing as GW/hr. Maybe they hit 22 GW of solar power. For how long? How much energy was actually delivered?
    • Well, it the 22 GW was the average output over some hour, then it's:

      (2.2E10 Watts ) * (3.6E3 seconds) = 7.92E13 Joules.

      I think.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shoten ( 260439 )

      Actually, there is such a thing as GW/hr. Look at your electric bill...the measurement unit used there is kWh, or "kilowatt hour." One thousand of those is a GWh, or gigawatt hour. But that's a measure akin to volume; what is being discussed here is more like flow, so it's not accurate to call it that. Unless they're monkeying with the math...saying that a car reached "300 miles" in speed, letting us insert the "per hour" in our minds when in reality it went 15 MPH for 20 hours. More likely, they're ju

      • Sorry, but you are wrong. Energy (in MKS units) is measured in joules, where 1 joule = 1 kgm^2/s^2. A watt is a unit of power (P=dE/dt) so 1 watt = 1 joule/s. A kilowatt hour is = (1000 j/s)(3600 s) = 3,600,000 joules. A kWhr (or a GWhr) is a unit of energy. A GW/hr is the unit that would be associated with the time rate of change of power, which is not a physical quantity of any interest here. So, yes, nonsense units.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Shoten ( 260439 )

          No...because what they are talking about here is generation capacity. Generation capacity isn't measured in terms of units alone, but in terms of rate of delivery. This is important because generation and load have to stay in balance; that's a HUGE challenge with renewable resources like solar and wind, where environmental factors can cause generation to drop with little or no warning. It's also a challenge because peak load is what the grid has to be able to support; there are no significant resources a

      • So multiplication is the same as division?

      • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:55PM (#40123549)

        No, you're completely wrong. In fact, it's difficult to even parse what you're trying to say.

        Yes, there are units called "kilowatt-hours". Really, that's just a kilowatt multiplied by an hour. The existence of such a unit has absolutely no bearing on this discussion, since we're talking about "gigawatts per hour". To put it in units more familiar to you, the phrase "miles per hour" makes perfect sense. But the phrase "mile-hours" is basically meaningless.*

        A gigawatt per hour isn't a unit of "flow". It would be more akin to a unit of acceleration. If your power plant generates 5 GW/hr, then that would mean it starts off generating nothing, and after an hour its producing 5 GW, and after 2 hours it's producing 10 GW, and so on. That's clearly not what the summary is trying to suggest.

        *Before anyone gets pedantic, yes, GW/hr and miles*hours and cubits*Rankine/Farads are all meaningful in the mathematical sense. But in the practical sense, they're meaningless.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:46PM (#40123059)
    Unless there is a way of storing the energy generated, the capacity of solar plants cannot be included in the calculation of capacity to meet peak demand. In other words, even if the solar at peak could meet all your needs, you still can't retire any of the old plants, because the solar capacity is useless when the sun isn't shining.
    And by the way, hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy storage media... meaning it could very well be used to store solar energy.
    • by mmmmbeer ( 107215 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:50PM (#40123099)

      That's why they do, indeed, build in ways of storing the energy. In fact, they do the same with every other type of power plant, so they can run at only peak efficiency. []

    • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:51PM (#40123117)

      Why does everyone think that renewable energy sources will be the first technology ever that works completely the first time, solving all the problems right out of the gate? Nothing else has ever worked that way. You have to start somewhere...meeting a significant part of the needed generation part of the time is the first step to doing it much of the time. And then comes most of the time, and then maybe, heaven forbid, all of the time. Not all phones are VOIP yet either; that doesn't mean that VOIP is a failure as a technology. They haven't started blowing up their CTs and other fossil-based generation facilities just yet...

      • Because oil is money, thats why.
      • by robinjo ( 15698 )

        Why does everyone think that renewable energy sources will be the first technology ever that works completely the first time, solving all the problems right out of the gate?

        Gosh, well, where do I start?

        1. We all have to pay big and mandatory subsidies. Those subsidies are the main reason, why renewables are being built.
        2. When the renewables are built and operational, they don't solve the problem, which is energy production 24/7 based on demand.
        3. Renewables have the right to sell their energy even when there's no demand, but not an obligation to produce, when it is needed.
        4. Renewables cause disruption in the power grid.
        5. Renewables are marketed as a replacement for proven a

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      even if the solar at peak could meet all your needs, you still can't retire any of the old plants, because the solar capacity is useless when the sun isn't shining.

      True, but you could keep the old plants mostly idle on sunny days, and save fuel and/or reduce pollution that way.

      I agree that in the long run we need a efficient energy-storage solution, though.

    • You are half right. There are three types of solar power. You have PV panels which, as you say, provide whatever power is available from the sun at that instant and have no storage. Then you have solar thermal which can run all night because is stores energy in molten salt. Finally you have solar heating for water and buildings, which stores energy in said water or building.

      You also have to remember that cooling is a major use of electricity in many countries. Since temperature is strongly correlated with light levels solar PV is actually ideal for covering peak demand in many places.

    • Hydrogen is the absolutely the WORST way to go. Costly to seperate from H2O. Fuel Cells remain costly, so you have to burn as an ICE or a thermal system. Far cheaper to convert excess electricity to heat and then feed that into a thermal system. Back it up with Natural gas.
  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:54PM (#40123127)

    Maybe they mean Gigawatt hours, rather than gigawatts per hour

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:55PM (#40123139)

    As I understand it, Germany's Feed In Tariff on green energy is almost the retail price of power (they buy energy produced by solar panels at hugely subsidized prices and charge consumers the tariff to cover it).

    Oh, and combine this with other generation systems? Good luck with that; taking half your generating capacity offline for an hour or two (but not every day, and not always half) is a major problem.

  • December (Score:5, Informative)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:03PM (#40123203)

    Talk to me in December when the sun is low on the horizon and there is a a major storm passing through Germany. How is that different than the quoted article?
    1. Sun being lower produces less solar power.
    2. Storms block most of the sun decreasing output of solar power plants
    3. Snow accumulation can completely stop solar power production.
    4. Winter causes higher demand for electrical heat.
    5. Darker skies cause more use of lighting.

    Taking the increased usage and decreased production into account power production from solar plants could easily drop from 1/3 or requirements to 5%. Instead of touting the optimal power output on a clear sky cool day they need to look at the worst case scenario. The issue with solar power is that you can not turn it on when you need it and that will never change.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's when the wind mills might come in handy...
      Nothing like a good storm to turn them blades...

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      If come winter Germany is crippled by blackouts or utterly dependent on imported electricity I'm sure someone will post a story about it. On the other than if nothing bad happens and the grid works perfectly we probably won't hear anything. Well, fear not, I'll post a story about it, and link back to this story and your comment.

      One of us is going to look stupid in about six months.

  • I don't read German, but Google Translate does. Looks like energy costs have gone up by 57% in the past decade; taxes on energy have gone up 1000% in the last 15 years.

    "The de-industrialization has already begun," Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warned in an interview with the Handelsblatt. []


  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:26PM (#40123357) Journal
    you have storage. What is needed is to push electric cars that plug-in and give back. To really do that, they should have capacitors, not batteries.

    In addition, a very smart move is to have cheap batteries and thermal storage. With thermal storage, you can change excess electricity into heat (alabit at a loss of efficiency), and then convert again back to electricity as needed. The real advantage is that Natural Gas (including coal converted to methane) can be burned on those days when AE and the storage does not meet demands. In fact, the ideal situation is if you have days in which you KNOW ahead of time that it will likely need extra energy (such as hot days to run ACs), you heat the thermal at night and use that as well as the NG.
    • A next-gen grid like Germany is aiming to have will be able to move power from sunlit areas to cloudy areas and from windy areas to calm areas. A large distributed power grid capable of smart utilization in addition to these smart devices adjusting their usage will go a LONG way. Too many people forget completely about the significant gains that can be made simply by having intelligence applied to grid for the 1st time.

      Power storage is not as huge of an issue as people like to make it into-- promoted as an

  • ...against tsunamis? Think of all the children who might be exposed to toxic chemicals should one of them fall over!

  • Surely I am not the only person who noticed the journalist
    measured energy in kw/h.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @06:01PM (#40123985)

    22 GW of power produced during very favorable periods. I would be MUCH more interested to find how much the MEAN power over the course of a full year is, and how large a fraction of 22 GW is. I imagine a pretty goddam small fraction. For half of every day, solar power is zero. For many days of the year that are completely overcast, solar power is reduced to a very small part of nominal noonday.

    I.e., annual solar energy production is a much more meaningful measurement than PEAK solar power production.

  • by Brad1138 ( 590148 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:27PM (#40126055)
    For over 18 Deloreans...
  • by SpaghettiPattern ( 609814 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:21AM (#40126297)
    A while back I saw the same error where some derivative of W/s was argued.

    In short:
    1. Power is expressed in Watt and is a measure of what capability. Think of erected penis size or how good a lover you could be.
    2. Energy is expressed in Joule and is a measure of how long power is delivered. Think of how good a lover you actually are (or erected penis size multiplied by time for that matter.)
    3. A huge erected penis isn't useful for copulation if it can't stay that way for long.
    4. A smaller erected penis with more stamina might satisfy more.
    5. However, a very small erected penis perhaps requires a prohibitively long period of time to deliver pleasure as that may induce boredom.
    6. "22 gigawatts of electricity per hour" is pretty much meaningless. Erected penis size divided by time doesn't make any sense, does it?
    7. I really cannot explain the concept of power vs. energy any clearer.
    8. Now that you're armed with correct knowledge of physics you can approach the girl and show off you savoir-fair.
    9. Don't forget flowers and chocolates.
    10. Keep e low nerd profile and limit yourself to 3 pens/pencils in your shirt pocket.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr