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Japan opens solar energy parks

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© 2012 AFP

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Solar Park opened on a rainy day, interesting.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Oops!! That should have been TOO early in the morning! Not to, anyway good on Son San for his efforts to bring solar power to the J islands!!!! Banzai!! 万歳‼

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well here goes, a new solar energy park. a sunny resolution for japans energy needs

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Softbank rocks and Tokyo Electric sucks!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Mr. Son should be Japan's next PM!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Michael Craig, Mr.Son is not Japanese, he is of Chinese ancestry, so he has a snow ball chance in HE...of ever becoming any kind of elected official here in Japan, but yes, I think he has more brains than most Japanese politicians all combined.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@export expert. Solar panels still work in the rain.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mr.Son is not Japanese, he is of Chinese ancestry,

Korean, actually. Anyway he is actually kind of popular in Japan (although there are a bunch of moronic uyoku's who hate him for no reason) so he may actually have a chance BUT he is not interested anyway.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oops - Or opposes Any way good start hope JP can catch up with Iceland one day?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Let's put a couple of facts in the story together:

(restart) ending nearly two months in which Japan was nuclear-free.

The government estimates the power provided by renewable energy this year in Japan will attain 2,500 megawatts, the equivalent of two medium-sized nuclear reactors.

All the rationale for more nuclear isn't there as Japan appears to have survived just fine for two months. So that means that with this install the nuclear reactor can be shut down at the end of the year. More installs can thus increase capacity without needing nuclear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Great news.... here is one better. Instead of throwing billions and billions of yen at construction companies when the Government wants to "stimulate" the economy... why don't the put it all towards renewable energy like Solar and Wind? We all know why it goes mainly to construction..... too bad.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It is very sad to see modern countries that have a common history of having been pioneers of the Industrial Age, and then 140 years later, they are still addressing their energy demands by just burning a candle ?? Into sequestrating oxygen while they have the know how for hydrogen energy, wind power, geothermal, of all countries aside Iceland , Japan should be at the forefront of geothermal. (Just shows that politicians make the calls on how the economy will be run, may it be cheap oil and synthesized drugs while they have the capacity to develop and implement the best of the new technologies. Forget the utopia of fusion !! But, because politicians and some pseudo-business people go on to create these gigantic advanced heavy industry to boast their countries fat bank accounts acting like the new shieks of oil, how long will we watch this movie of the internal combustion engine repeated over and over again ? When ? Until he Statue Of Liberty drowns ? The quick buck , like the itchy finger of a gunslinger bandit. Yes, LNG looks nice in 3D logos but it is the same dead, dead-end resource. When will they put it through their Cro-Magnon thick heads !!! All the countries that bring fossil fuel to the world market should start to think to create a world grid. And scheme of implementing what is geographically implementable renewable energies in each participating element of this world project which The Kyoto Accord is !!! A global program to succeed in our evolution on this planet and in the most human way and with the best scientific designs. I know horrible my grammar can be but not as horrific as looking cars speeding home in all the modern cities of the world, day-in day-out. Billions of metal animals breathing vasts amounts of our free oxygen. Completely ignoring climate change issues. I mean Japan thinks that they have so much money that they will start to building Eido v2.0 north of Osaka.....so just on time fro the Tsukiji fish market go under the sea level and allow the fish back to their element. I mean my stance is comical even absurd,, we were Homo Sapiens and became Homo Cretin. Come on Japan be for real come up with the real new wave. Are you guys planning a secret world war, and move your "sacred nation" to better hills ?? And Mr Putin, you have rotting nuclear ships at your docks,,,, are also part of the club allowing secret super radioactive seepage into the ocean waters ? Come on,,, you have enough money, cars, red carpets (inside joke) I am sure Lenin is break dancing !! Enough burning !! I read that 4% of the atmospheric oxygen has been sequestrated with his bad cousin Black Carbon. Come on guys, you can put on a better show !! Besides the way you are running the economy you are only providing the elite, that includes intelligentsia, some soldiers depending on the country, some business buddies, and the masses can just live on the fumes !!! Right,,,,,oxygen is free but once the ocean is so acid that the plankton won't be producing it, will you guys be able to provide enough electronic water splitting plants to allow us to be able to walk around the block with our dog without an oxygen tank, Can you build enough of those plants to compensate for the instinct photosynthetic organisms: kelp forests, the taiga, the rain forests, the blue-green algae. Water splitting is a lot more better then atom splitting !! Obviously,,,,,,,,,,come on ear mark those profits, don't sink them into synthetic islands, and inorganic farmed fish, or plain orgies of ignorance !! Come one be for real !!! You know !! We know !!! Now is high time to talk the real talk no more big gas stuff !!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I agree danalawton , but as yet there are not enough amakudari ex-buraucrats running solar companies..:-)) There are a great many of them connected to / running construction companies however, so billions and billions of our tax yen will continue to be wasted on unnecessary projects ( just this weekend government announced 3 more shinkansen tracks - as if Japan doesn,t have anough railroads ..) Anyway, here is to hoping that alternative energy will go from strength to strength in Japan - go solar!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For that I will forgive Softbank for injecting unsolicited bookmarks into my iPhone's browser.

Way to screw up PR, J-gov! Why didn't you scream from the bottom of your old, dusty, dehydrated lungs about this law, instead of that mindless drivel about "needing nuclear energy for the economy"? Now the world knows you for your saliva-ridden propaganda mumbo-jumbo instead of this modern and magnificient law!

Waltery, Iceland came up with the idea of using geothermal energy first, so J-gov cannot use it anymore.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Congratulations to Japan. This is a way to go!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Finally good news!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Did AFP do the math? Capacity of 2500MW is an actual average of only 250-300MW, or about a tenth of a nuclear plant. If all that was actually solar anyway. For 2500MW solar, you would need about 100sq km of panel, which is not very likely and that number includes wind and other plants as well.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Michael Craig

Japanese telecommunications Softbank chief Masayoshi Son, opposed to nuclear energy since a powerful earthquake and tsunami last year that crippled reactor cooling systems, said the company had plans for 11 solar or windpower centres in Japan.

Until now Mr. Son has not built any solar park

4 ( +6 / -2 )

basroil. How about concentrating optics solar systems and horizontal roof top wind turbines for Japan? With concentrating optics solar, Japan would need much less area to produce the same amount of energy. Why did you not suggest this instead of deriding solar energy and promoting your beloved nuclear energy?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Elbuda Mexicano

After reading some of your comments, i definitely have to say: You are Mr. Intelligent. Why don't you go for PM or President?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

OnniyamaJul. 02, 2012 - 02:39PM JST

basroil. How about concentrating optics solar systems and horizontal roof top wind turbines for Japan? With concentrating optics solar, Japan would need much less area to produce the same amount of energy.

Actually it's LESS efficient, marginally cheaper, and using liquid sodium or molten metal. For concentrated solar, you can expect perhaps 80% of the energy being reflected onto a concentrator tower. That energy is then converted to electricity the same way as in nuclear, and with the temperatures involved in the turbine loop, you would get perhaps 40% efficiency from that. Total efficiency is about 33% for a good tower, but due to design, about half the land is unused at any one time (average, actual calculations are more difficult). So you are looking at about 15% rather than about 18% you can get with expensive panels. Since the sun can only provide 1367W/m^2 (average), concentrated is actually less effective.

Additionally, due to Japan's geography, it would be exceedingly difficult to produce enough energy. You can't exactly have something as bright as the sun near populated areas after all. The only place with working solar concentrator towers is Spain, where they have flat areas hundreds of kilometers in size.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Forgot to explain the liquid sodium and molten metal bits. The first is that should containment fail for a sodium one, you can get a massive explosion. For molten metal, you use either mercury or lead, both of which are very toxic and as a concentrator tower is very vulnerable to sabotage, and that amount of mercury or lead released near cities would cause thousands of times more health problems than even coal.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Love your stuff basroil but...

Since the sun can only provide 1367W/m^2 (average), concentrated is actually less effective.

That's the solar constant at the Earth's orbit, at noon on a clear you can get half that on the ground.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Star-vikingJul. 02, 2012 - 08:37PM JST

That's the solar constant at the Earth's orbit, at noon on a clear you can get half that on the ground.

I know, but it's bad enough having to tell people that their solar panel ideas will cover all the arable land in Japan, no need to tell them it's actually twice that (or about a quarter of all of Japan).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

basroil. What do you do? Research everyones ideas and pick out all the potential faults with them. I mean, you cant be an expert in every field. Can you find any fault with horizontal wind turbines on the tops of buildings in cities? I am sure you will. If it is not nuclear, it is a bad idea right?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Molten salt via the Spain system might work if the reflectors were on rooftops pointing to a tower. That way no new available space is required. They're just reflectors after all.

Also so many commercial buildings are flat roofed, making them green gardens would be a realistic option albeit a lot of renovation as well but that would reduce load and air conditioning requirements with a side benefit of food.

Convert deep lake water cooling to ocean cooling for cities by the ocean to reduce their air conditioning as well. It all helps.

Given how the renewable energy coming online plus what's available will overcome the difference in nuclear there is no reason to choose nuclear in such an earthquake prone country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OnniyamaJul. 02, 2012 - 08:53PM JST

Can you find any fault with horizontal wind turbines on the tops of buildings in cities? I am sure you will. If it is not nuclear, it is a bad idea right?

Main two are noise pollution and reliability problems (off center intermittent forces and weak center shaft). Nuclear also has issues, I've mentioned many time that all energy sources have problems. I just don't see why people ignore everything else because one topic is popular.

What do you do? Research everyones ideas and pick out all the potential faults with them

I'm an engineer, that's what I've been trained to do. I can't fix all the problems, but I can tell you where they likely are.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sf2kJul. 02, 2012 - 08:54PM JST

Molten salt via the Spain system might work if the reflectors were on rooftops pointing to a tower. That way no new available space is required. They're just reflectors after all.

Again, you don't want a second sun in a city, it's simply dangerous, especially with tons of molten soduim flying everywhere.

Also so many commercial buildings are flat roofed, making them green gardens would be a realistic option albeit a lot of renovation as well but that would reduce load and air conditioning requirements with a side benefit of food.

One idea I can actually agree with entirely with no faults (though insurance companies HATE it).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Looking at Molten Salt it is a proven technology that is safe and is not explosive. http://tinyurl.com/7vg2m6c

MOLTEN SALT REACTORS

The molten salts considered for MSRs are chemically stable. They do not react rapidly with moisture or air. Their chemical inertness precludes accidents that are due to chemical interaction. There is no fire hazard or explosion hazard. They are also compatible and are non-corrosive with respect to suitable structural materials. The experience with the MSRE has shown that high-nickel alloys, combined with adequate oxidation potential balancing of the salt, can result in low corrosion of the structural materials.

The molten salts considered for the MSR are stable to high temperatures at low pressures. This feature allows for high efficiency with no extreme safety demands from the structure materials. Being a liquid system at low-pressure eliminates the storage of potential energy or other risk of an energetic burst or explosion. Molten salts are often used in industry as heat transfer media for their inertness and safety. There is ample experience in handling molten salts.

Small spills are not a source of a major accident as there are no violent reactions that can accompany a spill. As a spill occurs, the salt is spread out and cools more efficiently than in the insulated pipes. The salt freezes in place without spreading and is available for recovery operation. The freezing process is inherent and passive. Should there be some residual heat sources in the salt, it will stay molten until it reaches a configuration in which the thermodynamic equilibrium brings it to a freeze.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Details specific to Spain solar molten salt. Also of a parabolic design

http://www.technologyreview.com/microsites/spain/solar/docs/TR_Spain_solar.pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sf2kJul. 02, 2012 - 09:19PM JST

Details specific to Spain solar molten salt. Also of a parabolic design

http://www.technologyreview.com/microsites/spain/solar/docs/TR_Spain_solar.pdf

Doesn't mention sodium salts, and last I heard they wanted to use molten metalic sodium due to a lack of corrosion and easier to draw energy from it. Molten salt is fine, but metalic sodium is dangerous stuff, just look at the Monju experiment. Especially if you use steam instead of gas turbines to reduce cost (and increase explosive power, enough to make the hydrogen blasts at fukushima look like firecrackers)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Solar panels still work in the rain.

They also work at night, but like a rainy day they don't get any significant energy. I've had them and they suck in less than ideal conditions and their rated power is subject to the undisclosed efficiency factor which significantly reduces the output power from the rated power they are sold with. I hope the country adopts them but they are a waste of money for the householder. No ROI.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love how when making any statements I get auto -1, even if agreeing with a good idea like green-roofs.

Solar has it's place in power production. However, that place is nowhere near the need for base-load power systems like nuclear and coal. You can tone down the sting of peak power prices, but you can't really use it for anything else.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

A couple of caveats are in order. First, read that first paragraph: "required to buy at fixed price" means this system wouldn't pass muster in a normal economic system. Don't be surprised if the business entities involved start having problems making their books balance. We have a similar system with our electric utility here in Utah in which customers are encouraged to purchase blocks of "sustainable" power at a rate that turns out to be higher than the highest base rate. The concern is that there will be no choice sometime in the future. Second, there have been several references to Spain concerning technical aspects but not to the economic viability of their "green energy" systems. In short, it has been disastrous and has been contributing to their economic problems.

Better idea: Let companies such as Honda have at it but without the mandates. Right now, a Honda generator is worth its weight in gold on the east side of the US where a derecho storm system wiped out several thousand square miles of electric service territory. Maybe these companies can produce household solar and wind generators including air compressors?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jerome_from_Utah

A couple of caveats are in order. First, read that first paragraph: "required to buy at fixed price" means this system wouldn't pass muster in a normal economic system.

How is that any different than any other power sources (such as nuclear, coal etc) receiving tons of subsidies? How is it any different than the fact that consumers will ultimately have to pay the price for nuclear waste storage, nuclear accident clean-up, nuclear plant decommissioning, etc?

Obviously there is the problem that companies may get lazy and get less competitive. But those companies will likely bankrupt sooner or later as they already have. But it's their OWN FAULT for being lazy and non-competitive.

The whole idea is that as renewables spread more and more, they will get cheaper and cheaper and pretty soon they wouldn't need FIT anymore.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Thomas AndersonJul. 04, 2012 - 11:41AM JST

How is that any different than any other power sources (such as nuclear, coal etc) receiving tons of subsidies? How is it any different than the fact that consumers will ultimately have to pay the price for nuclear waste storage, nuclear accident clean-up, nuclear plant decommissioning, etc?

Scale and type. Coal gets no subsidies in Japan. Nuclear gets 12% reduction in tax. Solar gets 30-40% reduction plus a mandate that CONSUMERS purchase the excess generation at five times the actual value. The nuclear subsidies from government in form of tax reductions (not actual financing once the plant is built) are in the billions of yen a year. The solar panel subsidies in the form of taxes, if at 25% total generation that nuclear was, would be in the trillions of yen a year, and the subsidies payed by people would be in the thousands or tens of thousands of trillions of yen (likely the former, unless power companies make subsidiary companies to "purchase" from, in which case it would be the latter). Each year people would be paying 1% of GDP or more in solar rebates alone. Even the most ridiculously overestimated costs for cleanup are far less than that per year.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Jerome_from_UtahJul. 04, 2012 - 10:58AM JST

Maybe these companies can produce household solar and wind generators including air compressors?

What is it with people and compressed air? Even in engineering impossible best conditions you need several million cubic meters of air compressed at higher pressures than safely possible just to keep wind production at a stable level. Compressed air is not a viable solution even at theoretical levels, much less with our knowledge of materials engineering. If you were to say flywheel generators, perhaps, as they are easy to make and store a lot of energy (you can even use depleted uranium if you want to put it somewhere other than tanks and bullets), though they do tend to have drawbacks like energy dissipation and either complex flywheel compartments or high torques that can destroy a generator.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

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