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Solar Power Begins to Shine as Environmental Benefits Pay Off

mdsolar (1045926) writes | about 5 months ago

2

mdsolar (1045926) writes ""Amid polemics over rising electricity prices in Europe and the level of green energy subsidies in various countries, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the growth in clean-energy generation is a huge success story.

Solar photovoltaic generation, known as PV, like wind power before it, is coming into the mainstream — at great environmental benefit.

Based on comparative life-cycle analyses of power sources, “PV electricity contributes 96 percent to 98 percent less greenhouse gases than electricity generated from 100 percent coal and 92 percent to 96 percent less greenhouse gases than the European electricity mix,” said Carol Olson, a researcher at the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands.

Photovoltaic generation offers several additional environmental advantages, Ms. Olson said in an interview.

“Compared with electricity from coal, PV electricity over its lifetime uses 86 to 89 percent less water, occupies or transforms over 80 percent less land, presents approximately 95 percent lower toxicity to humans, contributes 92 to 97 percent less to acid rain, and 97 to 98 percent less to marine eutrophication,” she said. Eutrophication is the discharge of excess nutrients that causes algal blooms.""

Link to Original Source

2 comments

How much power? (1)

mi (197448) | about 5 months ago | (#45396783)

the growth in clean-energy generation is a huge success story.

What is the share of the total electricity produced in the world (or even just in Europe, or even Western Europe only), that's produced by solar? Don't we need to know a method's market-share — and be impressed — before we can agree on whether or not the method is "a huge success"?

The write-up is silent on this matter — despite providing many other (meaningless) figures. The article itself is a little better: Germany, which is "the leader" in solar adoption, derives a whopping 7% of its power from solar.

Sorry, 7% does not strike me as "huge success" — if the idea were truly sound, there wouldn't have been a need for a government subsidy of it...

And then the article offers this awesome gem:

Since then, feed-in tariffs have been one of the main drivers of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The other has been reduced industrial activity resulting from economic recession. Between them, they appear to have been remarkably effective.

See, taxes — necessary to subsidize the inefficient methods like solar — not only help make energy generation less polluting, by suppressing economic growth they also contribute even more to the environment. Woo-hoo!

Re:How much power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45397003)

See, taxes — necessary to subsidize the inefficient methods like solar — not only help make energy generation less polluting, by suppressing economic growth they also contribute even more to the environment. Woo-hoo!

That's right, exponential growth has limits. One of them leads to a recession every now and then. Get used to it, they will probably be more frequent as population (and standard of living) rise worldwide. Meanwhile PV power will continue, even if there is a coal mine strike or another oil embargo. I'd rather live on 7% of my current power usage (rationed...) than no power at all.

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