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Posted Tue Jun 2 2009: from CNET:
Nobel laureate: Wind is not the future
While the Obama administration has expressed increasing hopes that wind power will play a key role in America's future energy system, one of the world's leading scientists is ruling out the technology. Jack Steinberger, the 1968 Nobel Prize winner in physics and director of CERN's particle-physics laboratory, spoke at a conference of Nobel laureates at the 350-year-old Royal Society in London last week.... The reason? Wind power still requires backup power when the wind isn't blowing, and that decreases its contribution to emissions reductions.... On the other hand, solar thermal power--where collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors and lenses to produce electric power and heat--is already economical and can handle the storage problem, he said. The heat produced can be stored, enabling solar thermal plants to produce electricity during hours without sunlight. Steinberger now wants funding for a big pilot project. The idea is to link solar thermal power from Northern Africa to Europe via high-voltage undersea cables. The proposed 3- to 3.5-gigawatt power plant would cost an estimated $32 billion to build.
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'Doc Jim says:
$32 billion would buy a lot of small home wind generators.
Big thinkers often still think big centralized energy is the only way to go. Smaller decentralized systems have an important place in the next couple of decades. But then, the Docs haven't won a Nobel.

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