“When we hear of vast numbers of scientists endorsing Michael Mann’s famous ‘hockey stick’ graph… What we don’t hear is that the vast, vast majority of them never sought access to the specific data and algorithms claimed to support it (much of which was actively withheld from the scientific community at large). They did not independently evaluate either Mann’s claims or the specific, technical objections raised against them by a few critics who were able to wrest those data and algorithms from Mann’s clenched fist over a period of years. Neither had the scientific media performed any independent, critical review when reporting on such issues for over a decade, most of them simply not being equipped to do so.”
Renewable energy generates a larger portion of the world’s electricity each year. But in relative terms, solar power generation is hardly a blip on the energy screen despite its long history of technological development.
In this Part I, we review the standard taxonomy of central solar power generating plants by focusing our attention on solar thermal technologies and demonstration projects. The technologies are reasonably well defined yet two formidable hurdles remain: large-scale energy storage technologies and first costs on the order of $5,000/kW, the same cost range as a Generation III+ nuclear plant.
Future posts will explore a number of interesting commercial projects that have either recently or will soon break ground and the latest developments in hybrid projects that combine many of the available solar energy conversion technologies with conventional fossil-fueled technologies.…