The Basic Idea: Put a couple hundred mirrors in the desert and hook them up to motors that keep them perpetually reflecting sunlight at a specific point. That point, of course, gets extremely hot, and that heat can then be converted into electricity. It's a fantastic idea...fairly low-tech, and it can use existing electrical-generation equipment and even store power (as heat) for use at night!
The Problem: People who fly sophisticated fighter jets in intricate and dangerous patterns aren't big fans of being blinded by a square mile of mirrored earth.
The Result: Nellis Air Force Base (who we've mentioned several times in more positive connections with solar power projects) is asking the BLM to deny an application by SolarReserve to build a $700 M solar tower power plant on it's (extremely sunny) land. Nellis, of course, has no problem with solar power, and actually has the US's largest current solar installation (as of mid-2009.) But coating its land in mirrors turned out to be too much for the base.
The Air Force, in fact, is not saying precisely why they don't want the power plant. They say it could interfere with radar systems, but, more importantly, there are other reasons...all of which are classified. Col. Howard D. Belote, installation commander at Nellis said, "Because of the sensitivity [of information], I can't tell them why. Unfortunately for them and us, there's stuff on the Nevada testing range we don't tell anyone about."
We assume it has something to do with the aliens.
But it just goes to show, there are a lot of unforeseen obstacles in this new world of renewable power generation. We're going to have to be ready for them.
Via Washington Post
written by David, June 22, 2009
written by Fred, July 01, 2009
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