The description of Atlantropa in the linked article clearly notes besides hydroelectric power generation, the dam was meant to lower the sea level by more than 600 feet in order to create more land in the basin. A dam collapse would have been catastrophic.
You realize that our electrical problems could be solved in 5-10 hard working years.
This makes me think that maybe our current solar panels aren't as bad as they seem. Or we're really using them wrong.
I favor orbital generation, which mitigates all of these.
That's astounding. I mean, just a take look around you. Where's all the ecology gone?
Assuming that it is - which has yet to be evaulated in each case - what would we lose if we plant these solar cells in a desert where noone really lives now?
Desert doesn't mean the same as 'no ecology'. Its in fact more fragile that other ecologies, dependent upon scare resources and balanced with a very predictable annual cycle of sun and moisture.
Square kilometers of solar panels blotting out the light is a vast disruption of the desert ecosystem. There is no need to evaluate its impact on the ecosystem. Complete disruption is the result.
Compare with Thorium reactors for instance, which could supply all our power needs for centuries, with negligible impact on the ecosystem. That's the tradeoff.
With AC transmission at 60 Hz, the wavelength is 5000 km. Things get complicated when you approach that distance.
Also, with maximum peak voltage limited by arcing, DC uses the wires more efficiently because it's constantly at peak voltage, rather than oscillating up to it.
Also, AC current creates a varying magnetic field that pushes the current flow away from the center of the wire, so only the outer region gets used, increasing resistive losses. It's not a huge effect at 60 Hz, but it makes some difference.