Green energy: Make it so

Speaking of “global warming”, an  interesting article caught my eye recently.

It seems that Arizona has mandated that 15% of it’s electricity must come from green energy by 2025.  Given that Arizona is mostly a desert with lots of sun, you would think that this would be an ideal spot for vast solar energy farms.  Well, not exactly.

Utility-scale solar power works by generating steam that spins turbines.  Cooling the system at the end of the process consumes almost twice as much water per megawatt hour as coal-fired power plants that use the same cooling technology…

Thus, there is a small problem.  Deserts are notorious for their lack of water.  A 2009 study by the Congressional Research Service found that,

…a solar expansion in the southwest…could consume as much as 1% of the state’s finite water resources within a few years.


John Jarvis, now Mr. Obama’s National Park Service director, warned in a memo last year that a green boom in the southwest could “strain limited water resources already under pressure from urbanization, irrigation expansion, commercial interests and mining.”

Eventually, technology will allow us to become less dependent on “foreign oil”, but, trying to jam green energy down our throats before then is nothing short of stupid.  Particularly when no one seems to be even remotely interested in the consequences.

17 replies
  1. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    There are not too many alternatives in AZ to make electricity. It may be instructive to report where the water to cool the 3 nuclear power plants in AZ is coming from. It's good to have some "vision" and flexibility!

  2. scottm
    scottm says:

    We are talking about 2025!  A lot can happen between now and then, another form of alternative energy could come into use by then.  Or maybe we can pretend there is no global warming and there is a limitless supply of oil.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      Nor do we want to pretend there is significant anthropogenic global warming and no artificial (read it political) limits on the development of domestic oil supplies.  😉

  3. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Fusion!  At the break even point now, and nowhere to go but up!  If it's good enough for the sun….

  4. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    We don't have an energy production problem- we've got an energy consumption problem.  Barry should lead by example; turn the thermostat down and stop running around the white house in his underwear, StayCations, no golf cart, turn down the God-Like reverberating echo machine and turn off the teleprompter, make congress and senate hacks fly coach, trade in the Caddy for an Up-Armored Chevy Volt…

  5. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    Universal interconnectivity, loosely defined, "states that everything in our meaningful life is inextricably connected, that things correspond to one another."  Dependence on oil becomes a dependence on water? Our society requires the production of energy. Which form is going to require the least amount of natural resources to produce?

    Anima mundi, the soul of the world…if you believe in this concept, then anima mundi affects every living and non-living thing on this planet. Only in our arrogance would human beings believe that we could change nature's course.  Nature's course is more likely to change us.  Everything we do/create (solar panels in the desert that require scarce water to generate power) is just a reaction.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      The next wars will be fought over water, not oil.  Despite the abundance of water on Earth, only a small percentage (around 3%) of it is of drinking quality.  Much energy will be consumed to convert salt water to fresh.  Using up such a resource to produce "clean" energy might be highly counterproductive, which is a politic way of saying "stupid".


      The being said, we should all live by the old latin adage, semper ubi sub ubi (always wear under wear – truly bad translation)!

  6. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    If anybody checked, electricity from solar panels can be generated (the preferred way) by direct conversion. Generating steam to spin a turbine using solar is "dumb".

    • scottm
      scottm says:

      Well Sammy before I can comment on that I'll have to consult with the Republicans foremost authority on global warming and green energy…Rush Limbaugh.

  7. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    "The rest of the world" is already doing all that: solar farms, wind farms, biomass even nuclear. But, since this item doesn't fit the agenda, we need not look at what others are doing.

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