Thursday, March 24, 2011

5% of Arizona can power 100% of the US?

Well, kind of.

I saw this on the latest episode of Real Time with Bill Maher (which is a really funny and informative show).  He laid out this statistic claiming solar panels placed in the Arizona desert (where the sun always shines), would provide enough power for the entire United States.

Okay, yeah, that's true if 100% of the power could be transmitted throughout the United States.  Transferring power long distances isn't exactly easy.  Some of the power is lost over long distances, especially when we are talking about the entire US!

This on top of the economic barriers.  One such barrier is the fact we'd need to build an entire infrastructure to handle it.  Lots of cash the government does not have.  Secondly, after such a structure is built, tons of jobs would be lost in power plants throughout the US.  Thirdly, no one would make money from the actual power generation.  The only revenue anyone gets would be from the companies tasked with repairing and maintaining the network itself.

Because everyone has to make money to perpetuate the economy, in addition to the massive technological barriers (which are being worked on), I don't see such a system anytime in the near future, unfortunately.

I still like using water treatment plants, what do you guys think?

22 comments:

  1. We have the same problem in Australia. Practically speaking, the entirety of the country is damn near desert, and yet we haven't turned it into a solar farm simply because the initial costs are massive. It's really, really depressing.
    Hopefully something can be done about this in the near future.

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  2. Its a brilliant idea, just not going to happen with greedy society... Wish the world was more communist for this reason :(

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  3. I've seen that, and also that a tiny percentage of some other state could house all of the US' garbage... however it's just not practical is it?

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  4. I saw a map of this once and the more I think about it, the more my brain hurts because our government has not acted on this.

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  5. so it could generate enough power to power the US. Just a problem with distribution? Interesting.

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  6. Sounds like a good idea, but kinda probably not gonna happen sadly.

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  7. Good stuff man. I love your content!

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  8. it sucks that a system that would be such an easy solution to so many problems wont realistically happen, just because money is involved...

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  9. Really enjoy this blog mate, very interesting

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  10. wind farms are brilliant but no-one wants to use them "oh they spoil the view of fuck all" well enjoy your view when your caving someone elses skull in over the last bit of coal dipshit

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  11. interesting stuff. and i think it will happen eventually, just not for a few decades/century's.

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  12. bah. solar. we need to drill for more damn oil.

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  13. Wow. That's amazing. I think this should be highly considered despite the economic factors. With the japan earthquake it's quite apparent, in my opinion, that we are in need of a couple of focus points for energy, spread out across a nation. If we were to house a few of these solar operations amongst multiple portions of the US, we could quite possibly be well on our way to being more and more self sufficient.

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  14. Very interesting post. Following to see more from you!

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  15. Good point of view. Sounds cool.

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  16. The idea is good but when you really think about it, it's just not worth it.

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  17. Same problem in my region, we have the power to produce energy for the whole italy but there are too many interest in using oil :S
    I hope the Libyan will change some mind.

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  18. That is awesome, maybe not feasible, but awesome anyway!.

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  19. @Alex, I also think that in our deserts many nuclear power plants could be built.. It's just getting the power all the way back to the East coast..

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  20. yep, it's not going to be easy. Now there's a ton of renewed resistance to nuclear, as well. luckily we can always go supercritical :)

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