- inefficient solar cells: the power plants do not use photovoltaic cells, they are thermal power plants using mirrors to heat up a special heating fluid, very efficient
- energy storage over night: this problem is addressed by huge salt tanks that can store heat with minimum losses over longer periods of time
- unstable region: this is North Africa, not Middle East. Also, plants will be distributed over several countries, and energy production is part of a larger plan that does not only involve solar power from Africa
- single technology: as said, the solar plants are part of a larger concept that also involves many different forms of renewable energy involving a Europe-wide "grid" that connects also with wind power in different parts of Northern and Western Europe and hydro power in the alpine regions of Central Europe
Lots of questions are also answered at Desertec's FAQ
However, this does not change the issue that nuclear energy poses an additional danger to mankind that could be avoided if we instead invested more in other, more environment friendly ways to create energy. I am not in favour of immediately shutting down existing nuclear plants as one of my parent posts suggests ("lights going out
Going back to the original article: the environment friendly aspect of this approach is that it actually is a good complement for the renewable energy sources that do not provide a reliable stream of energy. At least for the moment. And therefore it is a nice thing to experiment with it.
Even though I am thousands of kilometers away, it is still recommended to not eat mushrooms more than a couple of times a year, and I want a better future for my own children.
Are you sure that recommendation is based on good science? Or is it like the Vaccine scare here in the USA about Thermisol? That has parents not vaccinating their kids even with thermisol free vaccines.
There is still a warning of the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection here and here discouraging the consumption of certain very popular types of mushrooms that still have a CS-137 contamination of over 1000 Becquerel per kilogram more than 20 years after the catastrophe and thousands of kilometers away from the site. A single serving of 200g mushrooms will result in a contamination of 0.01 milisievert, equalling a typical long-distance flight. The maximum allowed exposure in Germany is 1 mS alltogether, including X-ray treatment and natural sources.
Have you looked at the DESERTEC concept at all? It answers a lot of the issues you are raising with solar energy. True, it is visionary, but it is also backed by several studies and major institutions.
but i know you won't listen to reason, you've been spoon fed this nonsense for years. i'll just wait for your lights to go out.
Where is the "reason" you are offering? I could argue the same "spoon feeding" for your argumentation ("nuclear power is save"). Maybe we Europeans are more careful with such statements, being closer to Chernobyl. Even though I am thousands of kilometers away, it is still recommended to not eat mushrooms more than a couple of times a year, and I want a better future for my own children.
Regarding research spendings I could quickly find this resource, which has a really amazing chart: http://www.solarpowerrocks.com/solar-trends/a-sick-graph-iraq-war-spending-vs-spending-on-renewable-energy/, showing that US research spendings on solar energy are still only half of those on nuclear energy despite the fact that you claim that there is essentially no research on nuclear energy! ; figures are from National Council for Science and the Environment.
Nuclear power is inherently dangerous, we do not know how to deal with the waste, the nuclear fossil fuel will last only a couple of decades, and huge power plants are as inefficient as it gets because of the long distances electricity is transported. By contrast, distributed generation of electricity as proposed by the article is much more efficient, because it happens very close to the consumer.
Solar-based energy is technically possible for Europe even with a 24/7 load. The initiative "Desertec" is following this approach, and there are several studies showing the feasability, financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety, see http://www.desertec.org/en/concept/studies/ . The reasons why this initiative might still fail are purely political, and for me, this is no excuse.
For the record; I am a researcher working in the Semantic Web area, and I am primary developer of the system IkeWiki and the reasoning language Xcerpt. Since this discussion seems to pop up again and again on Slashdot, I didn't want to add comments to the same issues (trust, search) again. But your comment might add something new to the discussion:
Without knowing the details of your circumstances, it sounds like, maybe, the real point is that what you want is an object oriented database rather than relational one. RDF allows for much more of an object oriented design than a traditional RDBMS does.
In principle, you are right. But there is an important difference between RDF and Object Oriented Databases: while OO DBMS require that the data always conforms to a strict, pre-defined schema, RDF data is semi-structured and can be very flexibly extended. To give an example: in an OO DBMS, it is a problem if a person is defined only by first name and last name, and someone else wants to add a "friend" relationship to this person that is not foreseen in the schema. With RDF, this is not an issue: programs and repositories that were designed just for first name/last name will equally well work in the presence of a "friend" property. In a Web environment, chaotic as it is, this is a crucial property.