- Germany Added 543 MW of Solar Power Capacity in July
- Softbank and Mitsui Co. Plan to Built Largest Solar Power Plant in Japan
- 100-MW Solar Power Plant for California Central Valley
- Wishful Thinking about Rape, and Global Warming, Too
Posted: 08 Sep 2012 02:15 PM PDT
According to Matt McDermott of Treehugger: “[In] the first half of 2012 Germany has installed just over 4.37 gigawatts of grid-tied solar power. Remarkably just about 1.8 GW of that happened in June alone (perhaps even more remarkable, this isn’t even a record amount for one month in Germany).”
The amount of solar power capacity added in June was much more than July’s, but July’s was still impressive. July’s addition brings Germany’s total installed capacity for the first half of 2012 to 4,900 MW (4.9 GW).
In the first half of 2011, 2.285 GW was added – 2.6 GW (or 53%) less than the first half of 2012.
Thus, the total of all solar power plants subsidized by the Renewable Energy Resources Act up to July 31, 2012 is a total of 29.7 GW.
This year’s rapid solar development can be partly attributed to changes in subsidies that took effect in that period. But it’s also clearly due to the rapidly falling price of solar.
As of April 1, the German federal government made drastic one-time cuts for rooftop PV panel systems and redefined the performance classes (cutting subsidies for larger solar projects). Therefore, at the end of June, there were important subsidy transition periods for larger plants, which is probably why there was a sharp increase in additional installations.
Until the end of September, operators of large solar power plants will still have time to connect their plants and profit from the old remuneration regulation.
Posted: 08 Sep 2012 01:44 PM PDT
The plant will be located in Tottori prefecture in the city of Yonago and is expected to be commissioned by July next year. Construction of the Tottori plant will start from next month. The project is to be financed partly by the equity from both the companies and partly from project finance schemes.
Earlier this year, Softbank also made announcement for its plan to build a 111-MW solar power plant in Hokkaido, with expected commissioning in 2014. According to the reports, Softbank plans to invest in about 230 MW in the renewable energy sector. This decision is believed to be a part of the country's plan to reduce the dependence on nuclear energy by about 20-25% by 2030, something Softbank’s CEO is very supportive of.
The launch of the comprehensive feed-in-tariff scheme in July, wherein regional power utilities can buy power from renewable energy suppliers at a pre-determined price for up to 20 years, has attracted many companies to invest in Japan's renewable energy sector.
According to a recent estimate by the government, Japan would require an investment of about $637.4 billion in renewable energy by 2030 to completely eliminate the country’s dependence on nuclear power.
It seems construction of mega-scale solar power plants is underway in the unused industrial complexes in Japan, amid expectations that renewable energy may rule the country's total energy mix, especially after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Image Source: IntelFree Press
The views presented in the above article are author's personal views only.
Posted: 08 Sep 2012 01:38 PM PDT
“We are very pleased to be working again with PG&E to deliver cost-competitive solar power at a 100 megawatt scale, while creating jobs and economic opportunity for the local community,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower President, Regions.
There seems to be a wide variation in the average number homes believed to be powered by one megawatt of power. For example, in Texas, a solar project was said to have the capacity to power 127 homes per MW, 167, or 700.
For the Central Valley project, another source said the 36,000 homes powered figure came from Pacific Gas and Electric. Hopefully, this number is accurate — they are a leading utility company, so it would be a little surprising if they didn’t know these scenarios.
Over seventy million dollars is expected to be added to the Kings County economy, and about 200 jobs for the construction phase. The unemployment rate in the county was reported to be over seventeen percent in April of 2012.
Image Credit: Jake Richardson
Posted: 08 Sep 2012 04:00 AM PDT
Rights, Rape, and the Equal Right to Science
If you want to sum up the consequences of willful ignorance on women’s rights in two words, it’s hard to do better than U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R-Missouri) did when he used the phrase “legitimate rape.”
Those two simple words lead into a labyrinth of twisted reasoning worthy of the Minotaur’s maze, so for now let’s just focus on one aspect, and that is the right to partake equally in the advances of modern science.
Akin brought up the concept of legitimate rape as a matter of settled science while trying to explain why he believes that conception rarely if ever follows from an act of rape.
Vanessa Heggie of the Guardian points out that “legitimate rape” once did have a firm grounding in science, at least insofar as the scientists of 13th century England were capable of understanding how female reproductive organs function.
Heggie notes that even as recently as 1814, medical texts persisted in linking pleasure (in other words, consent) with conception:
“For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place. So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, it is not likely she would become pregnant.”
A woman gets pregnant after being raped, therefore she consented, therefore no rape occurred. Even Monty Python couldn’t do justice to that argument.
Nowadays, of course, most people know better. For those that don’t, it’s just a matter of wishful thinking: thinking that pregnancy is a condition that women can easily avoid by refraining from engaging in sex for pleasure.
In this formulation, there is no need for contraceptives of any kind, let alone access to routine and safe early-term abortion procedures performed by licensed medical professionals. All that is necessary is for women to not have sex for pleasure unless they really do want to get pregnant. So simple!
That’s what you get when you base 21st-century women’s health policies on 13th-century science.
Wishful Thinking about Climate Change
Would it surprise you to know that Akin applies the same thought process to climate change? Over at Grist, senior editor Lisa Hymes notes that Akin’s website provides a page on global warming that expends a lot of two-dollar words to reach a two-bit conclusion, aptly expressed by Akin on the floor of the House in 2009:
“In Missouri, when we go from winter to spring, that's a good climate change. I don't want to stop that climate change, you know. So, and who in the world would want to put politicians in charge of the weather anyway? What a dumb idea.”
Unfortunately, Akin has plenty of company at the upper reaches of his own party, as demonstrated by an article titled Top 5 Craziest Things GOP Contenders Said on Climate in 2011 by Joe Romm of Climate Progress.
Whether they laugh it off as a joke or couch it in science-y (Hymes’s word) language that refers to no science at all, supporters of the denialist position are engaging in the same kind of wishful thinking behind “legitimate rape,” and, for that matter, creation “science” – facts, schmacts.
It’s one thing to ignore the science of the 21st century as a matter of personal opinion, but for policymakers charged with the well-being of a nation, the bar for professionalism should be set much higher.
Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
Note: here’s that link to related stories on Important Media.
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