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I'm not a huge fan of the format of the article, but I am a huge fan of a solar plant that has sufficient storage (and mindset) to provide power when the sun isn't shining. The more like this, the better, imo.



That also irked me. I like memes probably more than the next guy, but the way it's been used here seems distasteful.


It might be more robust, cheaper and lighter on resources to just build a global electricity network, so there's always daylight powering the grid somewhere. Although for small, remote islands, batteries are probably a reasonable alternative.


The Pacific Ocean is pretty vast. When it's noon in Hawaii, there's not a lot of land area condusive to solar generation.

A global grid would be an immense coordination problem with tremendous costs. Some form of storage local to each grid is likely to be more cost effective. There are so many storage options, something should be appropriate as the need becomes real: pumped hydro / other mechanical, battery, synthgas (maybe), heat, pressure.


We have gone at most 580km/360mi with an undersea cable 95.8% efficient, €600m, 700 MW capacity https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NorNed

Repeat that cable 9.6 times over 3,459 miles from London to New York would be 66% efficient and cost €5.8b.

If energy is $0.05/kwh in London and you can sell it around the retail rate of $0.12/kwh in New York, your cable will make around $20k/hour ($0.028/kwh,after cable losses). Your cable will pay for itself after 33 years of complete capacity saturation.

With free energy at one side and retail prices on the other, the payoff time narrows to less than 8 years.

This calculation leaves out so much but it was a fun thought experiment.


Yeah, if we ever come to putting little artificial solar gen islands in the Pacific, nice clean synthetic gasoline being shipped from them would be awesome. (Generated from atmospheric carbon dioxide and water.)


Even if it only reduces storage demands it seems potentially worthy.

May I add a proposal to convert the mediteranian sea into a pumped hydro storage with long-term capabilities? It would need the same dam as the Atlantropa, but possibly less extreme.

There are some basins around northern Africa that might be amenable to slight terraforming, or just a re-activation of Operation Plowshare to blow a cavern which has it's rubble content lifted out and then used for subsurface pumped hydro.

Alternatively plan to collapse the cavern roof into itself after filtering persistent radionuclides and waiting for short half-life isotopes to decay. Collapse via conventional quarry techniques (a circle of drilled wells filled with ANFO?) or iteratively with robots that go out towards the center and drill to blast this off somewhat continuously. Then use a nearby water reservoir to pump in-between. Salt content shouldn't matter much except corrosion protection techniques.




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