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Florida To Build Solar-Powered City

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the sunny-side-of-the-street dept.

Power 195

Mike writes "The sunny state of Florida just announced that they will begin construction this year on the world's first solar-powered city. A collaboration between Florida Power & Light and development firm Kitson & Partners, the 17,000 acre city will generate all of its electrical needs via a 75 megawatt, $300 million solar-powered generator. The city will also use smart grid technology to manage its power and allow all inhabitants of the community to monitor their energy consumption."

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+1 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595833)

I would like to live in what seems to be an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

Re:+1 (2, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595859)

I would like to live in what seems to be an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

Exactly what I was thinking. [wikipedia.org] And it's in Florida, too.

Racoon city (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596181)

is calling you. Don't worry about the underground base, and whatever yuo do...don't look behind you. They'll even provide you with an umbrella for a rainy day.

A new city? (4, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595853)

Do I understand correctly? They want to build a city from scratch?

In that case, why build a massive solar generator instead of fitting the rooftops with solar panels from the start? It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shut down the whole city.

And it would probably save massive amounts of space.

Re:A new city? (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595869)

It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shut down the whole city.

That's disgusting. I hope that the power generator employees won't be doing that on company time.

Re:A new city? (0, Offtopic)

jitterman (987991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596911)

Why is this a troll? If you caught the "nut" instead of "not" misspelling, and want to help someone who was only making a joke get their karma back, mod back up to at least a 0 (sorry dotanchohen, I don't have mod points today or I'd help ya out myself).

Re:A new city? (2, Funny)

jitterman (987991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596935)

Oops, I DID think I saw "-1, troll" -- but still, it was only a joke and undeserving of the label :)

Re:A new city? (2, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597065)

According to the mod history, it was modded Troll then Funny, but Troll has a higher precedence.

Re:A new city? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597033)

Why is this a troll? If you caught the "nut" instead of "not" misspelling, and want to help someone who was only making a joke get their karma back, mod back up to at least a 0 (sorry dotanchohen, I don't have mod points today or I'd help ya out myself).

That's cool, I have the karma to burn. I love it when mods don't get jokes and mod Troll. They spread their ignorance (now other people won't see the joke), which just goes to show that ignorance is easier spread then knowledge, even on /..

Re:A new city? (3, Funny)

Bentov (993323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595915)

Duh....because we all know that a centralized system is much better than a decentralized one...

Re:A new city? (2, Insightful)

bpsbr_ernie (1121681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596341)

This week... next week it will be... decentralize... centralized is to risky/slow/inefficient... whatever the excuse...

Re:A new city? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595925)

I would not assume that they are not planing to use roof tops for solar collection. I suspect that it will look something like a condo type city as we already have a few condo communities the size of cities. Simply adding business spaces into the condominiums is enough to provide employment and you can bet it will be a community largely for retired seniors. Of course the hitch might be if any voting is involved. Then it will take forever to get the ballots right and figure out who cheated just like it did when Bush took office.

Why ground installation? (5, Interesting)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595939)

Several reasons:

(1) Installation on the ground is less expensive than on rooftops.

(2) If you put them on rooftops, all the houses would have to point in the same direction and have the same roof angles to get best efficiency

(3) In hurricane country, you might want to reset the panels horizontal in a storm to avoid damage

I assume they will be tied to the rest of the grid as backup, and to cover cloudy days, ie the city will generate its own power on average, but not necessarily at any given moment.

Re:Why ground installation? (4, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596065)

Photovoltaic systems are generally expensive overall. Usually when they choose where it goes it's been because they did extensive research and simulations [pvsyst.com] to decide on which location to build it, which direction the panels will face, whether the climate conditions will cause problems, etc. If they chose to put it in one centralized location, it's because they did the fucking math and it will pay off.

Disclaimer: My cousin sells photovoltaic systems for a living, I've learned a lot from him while assisting.

Re:Why ground installation? (2)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596479)

$300,000,000 power plant.
20,000 houses.
=> $15,000 per house cost to provide power, up front.

So we're now looking at the power plant longevity to see if electric bills will be $1000 a year, or $3000 a year, to make up for the up-front investment. How long is the lifetime of a plant like this (ask your cousin!), I'm sure it's better than rooftop PVs (20-30 years).

Re:Why ground installation? (3, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596613)

How long is the lifetime of a plant like this

It depends on what they use. If they cheap out, it could be less than 10 years. If they go with the good stuff, 25 to 30 years. Here's a list of the solar cell types. [dmsolar.com]

Re:Why ground installation? (3, Informative)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596169)

In Switzerland, when the whole roof is supposed to be fitted with PV, they often do not even build the usual roof but use stronger panels that can be walked on and used as a roof themselves.

A roof isn't a cheap thing, at least around here, so this method puts the cost of PV a bit in perspective.

Since this is a city built from scratch, what would stop them from having all rooftops point the same direction?

Your third point ties into my statement towards your thirst. Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

Another thing that came to mind, though: Having a big effing generator is all nice and well, but what do they do at night? Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

Re:Why ground installation? (2, Interesting)

Mendoksou (1480261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596553)

Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

True, except Murphy's law dictates that a more expensive roof is more likely to be destroyed.

Another thing that came to mind, though: Having a big effing generator is all nice and well, but what do they do at night? Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

Or during four days of cloud cover during a large hurricane for that matter. My guess is that they are tied into the FPL network and will be powered by one of the Nuclear generators around there. You can't really have an effective dam in Florida, it's too flat, water will just run around it.

Re:Why ground installation? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27597077)

I doubt you have to deal with hurricanes tearing roofs off of buildings in Switzerland, so it makes sense to spend the money on it. While a great idea in general, in FL it's essentially trying to save yourself from losing money shortly down the road.

Re:Why ground installation? (2, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597097)

Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

It's Florida. Too flat to use running water to generate electricity, no delta-h.

Re:A new city? (2, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596145)

Well, they are installing rooftops with solar panels, too. From the CNet article [cnet.com] that the article linked to: "Along with solar panels on the roofs of buildings citywide, it will be a revolutionary leap forward in clean energy for an urban area."

Besides that fact, if you have a solar generator that supplies electricity to houses, you can then charge those houses for the supply of electricity. Having solar panels for each house effectively means no revenue stream.

Call my a cynic, but I doubt Florida Power & Light and Kitson & Partners would have been keen to take part in the project without some sort of return. Florida Power & Light are investing $350 million to build the plant, so they'll want something back!

Re:A new city? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596219)

No there not building a new city.

They are taking a town in Desoto county and Re - Wiring it with Smart Grid Tech and putting this Solar farm right outside the town.

Re:A new city? (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596233)

Generator facility can store more power and they can charge you for said energy. Considering how much money they are spending on infrastructure this is not unreasonable. Generator at your house does not give that luxary - though they will probably build it so you can sell excess energy to the electric company.

A disadvantage of having solar panels at your house - if they break you are responsible for fixing them. At a generator site they are responsible.

With regards to the failure - unless we are talking about massive, catastrophic failure I would think the engineers would build in multiple redundencies in case something happens.

Pro's and cons to everything.

Re:A new city? (1)

8tim8 (623968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596245)

>In that case, why build a massive solar generator instead of fitting the rooftops with solar panels from the start? It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shut down the whole city

I think a better question might be, "Why build a brand new city in a state with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the US? Do they really need more empty houses?"

Re:A new city? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596961)

Any project of this scale requires a LONG lead time. This is no exception. The project "started" in 2005 when it made worlds of sense.

disclaimer - I work for FPL (although this is the first I've heard of this project)

Re:A new city? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596435)

Hurricanes in Florida rip solar panels off roofs routinely. If the whole city were 100% reliant on them, they'd be in a tighter spot than usual during hurricane season.

Re:A new city? (3, Funny)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596525)

Ah, typos can happen to the best of us. Let me FTFY.

It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shot down the whole city.

In other news... (0, Flamebait)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595871)

...its dark at night.

Re:In other news... (2, Informative)

bumby (589283) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596031)

Re:In other news... (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596109)

Which for a whole city's worth of electricity usage is currently unfeasible if you don't have a mountain lake nearby.

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596225)

Isn't thermal storage one of the options? One that actually makes sense in case of a solar power plant? (With the obvious requirement of ditching photovoltaics for solar thermal power generator, of course.)

Re:In other news... (2, Informative)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596345)

You would indeed have to generate thermal solar power, store it and convert it into electricity later on. The main drawback with using molten salt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_energy_storage#Molten_salt_technology), which is one of the few viable options for electricity generation, is its high maintenance (as it's rather corrosive), and if it solidifies you're fucked as it takes a long time to liquify the entire circulation.
Another option is vanadium redox-flow batteries, (http://www.vrbpower.com/docs/casestudies/VRB%20-%20Installation%20at%20Riso%20for%20characterisation%20measurements.pdf), but they are not really commercially viable for such large projects and are still in the demo phase.

What I think'll happen is that they produce (during the daytime) enough energy to cover the average daily use (thereby feeding energy into the grid), and at night draw power from the normal electricity grid.

If they don't do that they're likely to be a bunch of PR-people making up stories.

What is amazing (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596197)

is that it would be cheaper to that place to run a solar THERMAL generator. It would allow easy storage of heat (they use OIL for transfer medium; relatively trivial to store). But instead, they are taking the most expensive form of electricity there is; Solar PV.

I would love to know why dems are pushing wind and solar PV, when Solar PV is the most expensive option and wind can not be used as base power except with EXPENSIVE storage. Geo-thermal can serve as base power and solar thermal allows relatively cheap base power (solar thermal is cheaper than coal, but once you add storage, it is more expensive; but not by much).

golf carts too? (2, Interesting)

tresstatus (260408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595877)

will it be like one of those crazy retirement communities in florida where everyone drives golf carts? what will happen at night when all of those old farts plug their golf carts in? 8)

Re:golf carts too? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596305)

They roll up the sidewalks at dusk... not much need for night power.

However, lots of old codgers do head out for the golf course pre-dawn, will need to do something to supply them...

Re:golf carts too? (2, Interesting)

tresstatus (260408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596517)

have you ever been to one of those cities? they don't use the golf carts to go play golf. they drive them up and down the roads. walgreens has tiny parking places for them. they all have tiny garages for them. http://www.worldofstock.com/closeups/TRO1636.php [worldofstock.com]

how much does the sprayed on 'atmoshere' cost? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595881)

& why is it not discussed/registering in with 'stuff that matters'?

Air Conditioning? (4, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595897)

Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

Hopefully they'll take advantage of highly-efficient ground source heat pumps [wikipedia.org] since the water table is probably very high in the Ft. Meyers area.

Re:Air Conditioning? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595953)

It is warm here in Florida - and my family uses AC pretty much year round. The funny thing is that it isn't nearly as sunny as I thought it would be. We had many, many more days of sun per year when we were in Arizona. And there it got cool in the winter, though it was a bit hotter in the summer.
 
So this does bring up some interesting issues. I can't imagine they could get by purely on solar alone unless they have some truly massive battery capacity that could allow them to run for days without generating new power. And of course the ability to generate a lot of surplus power when it is sunny.
 
I do think a possible use for this kind of thing that is going to be needed in Florida if the population here keeps growing is desalination plants. We use a lot of electricity and a lot of water and right now I don't know how they plan to keep up on the water side.

Re:Air Conditioning? (2, Insightful)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596105)

I think the amount of sun you guys get in Ft. Meyers is mitigated by the incredible thunderstorms that roll from there down through Alligator Alley toward Ft. Lauderdale. My parents live full time in Naples, FL (about 20 minutes south of Ft. Meyers for those not familiar) and virtually every time we have visited it has been sunny and really hot in the morning, and then incredibly cloudy and eventually stormy in the afternoon. You can almost set your watch that there will be a storm sometime between 2 pm and 5 pm with torrential downpours. The only time of the year this doesn't happen is when it is slightly cooler during the winter - which also happens to be their busy tourist season.

I like it down there, just not sure I could take not being able to swim in my pool after work every day because it is storming outside. Oh, and the streets that all look the same with a Pulbix or Walgreens on every other corner, and there are no curves to be found anywhere - no wonder Harleys are so popular.

Re:Air Conditioning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596141)

Wow, who would have thought a desert state would have more sun than one with a sub-tropical climate. Maybe you haven't noticed, but FL is very green. Those plants get a lot of water, and it's not all irrigation systems. There's a reason we call the summer "rainy season", but what people fail to realize is the t-storms last 30 minutes and then it's clear skies and sun. If it wasn't, out solar system wouldn't work very well.

If your family is using AC all year round, something is wrong. I'm in Tampa and the only time AC is needed is late spring through to early fall, and most of that is for humidity control, not dropping the temperature. Maybe your parents are those that don't know how to used those square glass things covering holes in the wall?

You're right about water. Tampa bay is over populated and cannot cope with further development. We are running short of water in this area, I can't even wash the car with a bucket of water legally.

Re:Air Conditioning? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596287)

This isn't about a "high concept" purely solar community, this is about getting federal subsidies for using alternative energy. They're going to go for maximum ROI, try to get a systemwide (covering their coal, gas and nuclear facilities) tax break in exchange for building this "significant" alternative energy project, so of course it's going to be as minimal as possible to still get the maximal benefits... I don't think much battery capacity is on the plans here, they'll just use the grid.

Re:Air Conditioning? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596265)

Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

Hopefully they'll take advantage of highly-efficient ground source heat pumps [wikipedia.org] since the water table is probably very high in the Ft. Meyers area.

There is groundwater in Ft. Myers, but it isn't as attractive for heat pumping as in other areas. Close to the coast, it's salt water intruded. Further inland, it periodically drops pretty far below ground due to aggressive pumping for irrigation (same source of the salt-water intrusion problem), and the final kicker is that groundwater temp is the annual average temp, which is only about 68 degrees, an o.k. heat sink, but not highly attractive the way ground-water cooling would be in, say, Minnesota.

Re:Air Conditioning? (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596279)

The water table is within 10' (3 meters) of the surface throughout all of the Florida peninsula per a tour at hemmingway's house. It is for that reason that hemmingway's house was one of the FEW that has a basement.

Apparently, doing geo-thermal HAS a major issue there. The problem is that water is cooler underground which retards microbial growth. Add heat constantly, and all the fertilizers that Florida used on sugar, oranges, etc and you have a REAL issue with growth in your drinking water. As such, a number of the counties NOW control that VERY closely. The reason that I know about this, is that my father lives in Palm city and I suggested that to him to lower his AC bill. He told me all the above.

Re:Air Conditioning? (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596901)

That's a great point. It'd probably be a more efficient use of funds to implement a municipal-scale ground source heat pump distribution network.

Photoelectric takes a long time to pay for itself. GSHP are relatively cheap - the expensive part is the digging. Distribute that cost among the community and I'd be surprised if the bang per buck wasn't many times better than PE.

Re:Air Conditioning? (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596995)

Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

Modern folks think they are required to have air conditioning, sure. But I grew up in Jacksonville (Florida) in the 60's and 70's - and houses with air conditioning were the exception, not the norm. People got along just fine without it. We didn't have older folk or kids keeling over from the heat. Nobody panicked when it got over 75 F.
 
What changed in Florida was four things: 1) Cutting down all the shade trees when building new developments. 2) Building standard ranch tract houses rather than houses suited to the climate. 3) Massive waves of 'immigrants' and retirees from colder areas of the country who were unused to the heat. 4) Ongoing marketing by AC companies that AC was 'required' to be modern and up-to-date.

Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (3, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595919)

Okay, solar-powered city!

But let's see how much this is going to cost John Q. Resident.

$300 million divided by say 20,000 residents is $15K/resident. Add in the cost of money and amortization and you're talking at least $2,200 a year.

Plus they need to build a regular power station to handle 100% of the load for when it gets cloudy and rainy, which in Florida is a non-negligible part of the time. Plus the power lines to bring in all that power to the city. No, you can't assume the rest of their system has that much extra capacity in lines or generators.

It's not a terribly attractive deal for the actual ratepayers.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (0)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596047)

$300 million divided by say 20,000 residents is $15K/resident.

15K is honestly not that much money and why do you think the resident will be responsible for this money upfront? The entire project is a business venture. Sure, the resident will pay more than that over time, but communities are created all the time(see apartments) with the return on the investment being met 10-20 years out.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596063)

You seem to have forgotten that this is a -new- city, not an old one being revamped. This simply means that each house is an additional $15k (average) to buy. It's not like there are current residents being taxed $15k just to continue living there.

The fact that it's expensive is an attraction for the people in this community, not a negative.

BTW, if you'd read the article, you wouldn't have had to guess at the number of residents... You'd know it to be 19,500.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (3, Informative)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596091)

Actually it isn't $2,200 a year, it is under $1140 a year at 6.5% interest for 30 years (the usual home loan term). You must also consider that Florida has some very favorable rebates for Solar and there are some Federal tax credits too. In summer my electric bill is more than $100, so paying $95 for solar before rebates and tax credits will be almost the same amount as coal. Personally I would rather get my energy from solar. If it lasts more than 30 years it is free, if it doesn't then oh well, same price as coal. Sure, there are some other alternate energy sources, but I commend the experiment.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596149)

Well, since the fee is per resident, an average household will be paying something like 2.3 times that value, or north of $2500/yr. Also, the cost to generate and distribute electricity is only about 25%-30% fuel costs, the rest is maintenance and transmission. One would hope the maintenance would be less than a traditional plant, but (no I didn't RTFA) if there is a steam cycle involved it may not vary much from fossil fuel. If you bank on transmission and administration being set at 50% of the cost, and the plant and fuel being zero, you'd be at $50 admin + $210 solar = $260.

Is that bad? Not necessarily. It's just more expensive in the current energy climate. Now if they can incorporate lower energy technologies to reduce the demand and sell the surplus, or pair it with a small nuclear facility (constant source plus daytime peaking power from solar) they might be onto something.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597147)

You're fudging the numbers. You have to borrow TODAY, and the loan can't go out for 30 years as the panels are unlikely to last that long. I assumed they'd last 20 years, so you're perpetually paying $2,200 a year at least. And you can't count subsidies or rebates or tax credits as that's just robbing everyone else to subsidize you, or if every place had these panels you'd just be robbing yourself. And Florida doesn't use coal very much, mostly very expensive natural gas to run the generators. And yes, you forgot the cost of those generators and power lines.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596209)

They don't need to build a regular power station. They can just tap into the grid like everyone else.

Also, while your amortization is a bit high, you have to realize that $2200/year is not such a huge amount of money for Florida, under last year's energy prices. As a New Englander, I only turn on the air conditioning in one or two rooms part time for maybe six weeks out of the year, but Floridians don't have that option. For them air conditioning is like heating is for us. I'll bet a lot of folks in Miami use electric heaters in one or two rooms in the middle of winter, but have whole house air conditioning. Up here, we do the opposite. We've got a couple of teeny window air conditioners, but run our central heating system nine months out of the year.

Also, you have to figure in probable energy prices after the economic recovery kicks in. It's like a futures market. This would be a great time to lock in most of your energy prices for the next decade or two.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597217)

You're fudging. You can't just tap into the grid, most places have negative extra capacity. Even if you did there's a cost involved.
And having to run AC a lot is not a plus for your side, it just jacks up the amount of solar panels needed. It's basically insane to collect electricity at 15% efficiency to run individual AC units when a solar boiler could collect 100% to make chilled water at more than triple the efficiency. Madness.

And playing the futures market does not make a watt-hour of renewable energy or save anybody a penny-- it just moves some money from one set of gamblers to others.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596211)

For me living and paying taxes in Florida ($1700 property taxes,) the most unattractive part is building a brand new city instead of retrofitting an existing one. I would like to see the tax money used on this project benefit existing residents who have paid into the system, not new residents moving into brand new homes.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596215)

The thinking behind subsidized alternative energy is to get it "out of the hole" and into the mainstream.

If you took away all of the federally sponsored sweet deals going to big oil (like the Iraq War?), "alternative" energy would be in much better shape than it is.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596407)

Here's a thought: Maybe they actually did the math. Maybe they did the math in a much more indepth analysis than you did. But then again - this is Slashdot. Everyone here is a genious who knows much better after 30 seconds than the people who've worked on the projects for months and years.

Re:Let's actually DO THE MATH on this one (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597031)

Ah, no. This is the same company that did the math for putting up wind turbines at their nuclear plant, saw the dismal numbers, and went ahead and BUILT THEM ANYWAY. Even though there is not a single spot in Florida that's consistently windy enough to even approach break-even.

Photovoltaics will be cost-effective as soon as you see non-govt, non-utility folks putting their money into them with no muni bonds, legislative mandates or tax incentives. Not any decade anytime soon.

florida? (1)

MagicMerlin (576324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595929)

As a long time florida resident, wont it be alronic when a (ha ha ha) hurricane rolls through...

Re:florida? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596497)

The problem with hurricane belt of the USA is that it seems lots of the houses were built by the first two little pigs.

Close to my home.. (2, Informative)

zepo1a (958353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595933)

This is about 10-15 miles from my home in Arcadia, FL.

Most of the Babcock Ranch is swamp land, nature preserve (They do tours there, alligators, FL. panthers, etc..). I am guessing that is why the requirement for Solar power there, as there was a lot of stink locally when it was sold about what they would actually be allowed to do with the land. I look forward to moving there (if I can afford it!)

Re:Close to my home.. (0, Flamebait)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595969)

Holy Shit! you have computers in arcadia?

last time I drove through (quickly) I could swear I heard banjo music!

And all that stink, locally, is swamp gas.

Re:Close to my home.. (1)

zepo1a (958353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595995)

No..that would be Mariachi music, not banjos! The gangstas here roll with their cars bass thumping to La Cucaracha. :)

Re:Close to my home.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596185)

That would be in town Arcadia. Outside of town there is PLENTY of banjo music. Trust me, I lived there for 3 years.

Re:Close to my home.. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596151)

And all that stink, locally, is swamp gas.

They actually build a natural gas pipeline through there to feed a "clean" electric generator station not far away... maybe you found a leak?

Re:Close to my home.. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596175)

You'd be better off to buy a foreclosed house in Port Charlotte, take the money left over and buy your own (federally subsidized) solar power system.

The only reason FPL is even talking about this is because of subsidies.

I have seen this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595943)

Will the city planners take into account the threat of Italian terrorists? I will not move my wife and daughters to a city that is foolishly left prone to nefarious Italian attacks, not in this day and age when eternal vigilance is necessary.

Hey wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595951)

Isn't FP&L one of the companies that was just discovered to have been penetrated by the Chinese and Russians? I'm thinking it might be prudent to secure the system before adding things like smart grid, which essentially creates a point of entry to the system from every meter. But then I'm just a stupid security guy for a power company. What do I know?

As blogged in the Times greenblog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595961)

Also blogged in the NY times greenblog [nytimes.com]

It's easy to build a solar powered city. (2, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595971)

Start with wooden buildings and dirt roads. Add some cows, some pigs, chickens...

The almighty sun will make the plants grow and with those you can feed the animals and the people.

And you got a solar powered city.

You can have bees for the candles to read at night. The honey is a bonus.

I tried that (4, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596253)

But the beez fly around crazy when you light them and don't last very long at all. Perhaps it would be smarter to use the wax, that burns. If you put some kind of wick in it you could have a very controable burn. Might patent it!

Missing from the Mockups (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595973)

I dont see any of the diesel big-rigs that are traitionally required to bring food and other resources into a city.

FPL (1)

mastersro (962860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595979)

FPL aims to raise electricity base rate by $1 billion "FPL spokesman Mayco Villafaña said the base rate is currently $39.31. If the request is granted, the base rate next year will be $51.71. That's a 31 percent increase." No wonder they have 100 lobbiests in Tallahassee

Clearly beurocrats thought up this one (1)

ugen (93902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596013)

1) Who thinks building *another* city, reclaiming natural resources, open space, building roads and infrastructure over them is a good idea? It is a great boon to various construction businesses though. And that crazy "green" stuff - well, it will get them some federal grants and easier approval. Then when all said and done, it will turn out that there is some technical issue with the solar generator and they'll just build the standard coal powered station or some such. Temporarily ;)

2) Personally, I would not want to live in a place where people are known as *inhabitants of the community*. But hey, I bet some enjoy being treated as lab rats.

Why solar power (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596039)

Why not gas from all the decomposing old people?

Homesteaders? (1)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596077)

Fascinating. I wonder if they need homesteaders. I've always thought about moving to Tampa/St. Petersburg area...

Re:Homesteaders? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596131)

Just around the corner from Babcock is Lehigh Acres, you can pick up houses there for $30K now, one of the most under-occupied cities in the SouthEast. The whole inland area there is in a serious housing over-supply.

Tampa/St. Pete is a couple of hours North of Babcock.

ummmm? (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596083)

how are they going generate baseline power with solar energy only? get rain for a week and city will be sure to go black

Re:ummmm? (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596261)

According to this: http://www.babcockranchflorida.com/innovationvideo.asp [babcockranchflorida.com] By consuming less KW hours than the solar facilities located on the property will produce, Babcock Ranch will become the first city in the world powered by clean, renewable solar energy.

I interpret this to mean: while on average they produce more than they need - they trade their surplus when they have excess production for energy from the grid when they don't have enough. So they'll have a normal grid connection for the trading.

how much did the 'big spam bust' cost? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596097)

& why do we get even more spam now? maybe hillary can go tough on them, like the pirates?

I love this excerpt from the article.... (0)

mcwop (31034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596117)

What do you think - would you move to this solar-powered city?

I think, that I would never move to Florida even if you paid me to.

Where?!? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596143)

TFA just says Florida, but where in Florida? It's been a while since I lived there, but pretty much everything below the pan handle is already just one big city with the Glades breaking things up.

Maybe in the middle of the pan handle where I-10 cuts through to go from Tallahassee to Jacksonville? There seems to be a lot of open land there, but that's just what I've seen from the interstate.

Unless they use eminent domain or some other legal BS, the land itself will be a fortune. I see this "plan" dieing quietly.

Awesome! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596163)

It's about time, that a city comes into its own and has a power grid which is self sustaining, even though it is still plugged into the regular power grid we know and loathe.
If anything happens locally, the main power grid kicks in, if the main power grid has problems, it does not wipe out a whole city's power!

This is a win win situation for all parties involved and will also help create more jobs...
a local city power plant instead of the federal/privatized power plant.

I just hope that the city does not buckle under pressure from the power company to do their own thing
and follow standards that might jeopardize their independence from the main power source.

Hopefully all other major cities will follow if this is successful and long gone will be those problems of power grid blackouts!

Interesting (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596227)

It will be interesting to see how this experiment works out. While I hope it will be successful I suspect it will produce mixed results. The amount of power they are generating sounds fairly low for the size of the city (unless the population density is very low) and I'm guessing that the cars and most of the space heating won't be electric (but the cooling probably will be).

Solar power is great but it's probably not going to be how we generate most of our power in the next 100 years. We really need to start some serious investment into fission and fusion.

second life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596241)

Someone needs to tell them, that just because they've made it in second life doesn't make it real.

Oh florida :\ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596495)

"The solar energy will be drawn from a fat, texas-tourist's sun-burned leathery ass. You know, like the ones you see on the cover of Orlando post cards."

Calling florida solar panel users: (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596513)

I assume you can rig these things to be armored against flying debris and high wind for hurricane season...right? Or is it just accepted that every so often you're gonna need to replace one?

Hmmm, great idea....... -but- ..... (1)

Slugster (635830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596543)

They might as well buy out and raze some existing city and build it on the oceanfront--because if they charge property taxes that actually cover the construction costs, only multi-millionaires will be able to afford to live there anyway.


...
"Modern living with clean efficient power! Act now, for a limited time, get a free Tesla roadster with purchase of any home..."
~

This just screams "tourist trap" (1)

fallenmink (1405303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596645)

Is it just me, or are we (Floridians) trying too hard to bring more visitors to the state? A large sum of Florida's economy runs on tourism, the entire state is a tourist trap! I know recently the numbers of tourists coming to the state has gone down, which seems to me as reason to justify the money being spent to build this city, but not a good one. This city just begs for tourism, a city running on sun in the sunshine state? Fits with the theme, no? Although we can only wait and see what happens with this city, if it was intended as a tourist trap, I see it ultimately failing in the long run.

Re:This just screams "tourist trap" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596709)

Correction- as long as they have alligator heads and alligator claw back-scratchers and boiled peanuts, it will never fail.

Re:This just screams "tourist trap" (1)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597241)

I want to move there and live there, but immigration would be an issue I assume (as a Canadian). So i'll probably have to wait until retirement and live their P/T like all the other snowbirds :)

By the numbers... (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596667)

They want to build 19,500 houses and create 20,000 jobs?

Playing with numbers for a second... assuming there are 2.5 people living in each home and the community is equally spread across all age groups with an average life expectancy of 75 years then the school systems will have 650 kids in every grade level and they'll need to have enough space for 8,500 k-12 students. At a seemingly reasonable ratio 12 students per teacher, this is ~700 teachers who (if paid $35k/yr) will draw $25M in salaries, which will cost each of the 19,500 homeowners a cost of $1300/yr.

I don't really know how this compares to other places... but this seems sort of reasonable. I just wonder if the kids growing up here will go off to college and get a shock from all the bricks and "20th Century" living.

Regardless, this is progress and that is a good thing! Hooray.

I have lived in Florida all my life... (1)

Mo0o (1499045) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596675)

I think this is an interesting concept except for the fact that hurricanes are a beast down here. Storms can get really bad too and I am curious as to how things will hold up during the storms.

I can't imagine Solar Power being a good idea when we have constant storms... and at unpredicitable times. One minute it will be raining, the other the sun is out shining bright. And this happens on and off all day. How do you cope with this? Solar Power does not work as well in cloudy weather and we get a lot of it regardless of our "Sunshine State" name.

I am worried and actually pretty interested all at the same time. I'm not sure who would want to live in a Solar Powered City as it is probably not as good as having good ol' fashion eletrcitiy... But FPL is a very good company and I respect them a lot. I'd say give them a shot.

More real estate -- Just what FL needs... (3, Insightful)

Ruvim (889012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596691)

While overall this being a good idea, with so many vacancies in FL now, do they really need more real estate?

They Should Try This Out In Sim City First... (1)

Mo0o (1499045) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596893)

They should try putting this in Sim City first and see how well it does vs Godzilla... If successfull, then I think Florida has a chance!

Why? (4, Insightful)

spike2131 (468840) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597003)

Why build a new city in Florida when all the ones they already have are chock full of empty, foreclosed houses? Its a lot more green to live in the places you've already built than it is to build new places. Putting solar panels on your new city doesn't change that equation.

Gonna be dark at night (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27597103)

The better get some solar powered flash-lights for use at night.

does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27597251)

I'd like to know just how much energy will be required to build an entire city? In addition to solar, they'd have to stick pipes up everyone's backside and collect methane to come near to the energy break-even point.

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