Spain's Solar Suicide a Warning to the Wise
Incidentally, $26 billion is also the very infamous, much-maligned bid cost for two (2) ACR-1000 CANDUs in Ontario (recent discussion). That is, likewise, a lifetime cost, including all fuel and operations over 60 years. So let's compare: $26 billion for an average output of 450 MW over a 20-25 year lifespan, vs. $26 billion for (2 * 1,200 MWe * 0.95 capacity factor) = 2,280 MW over 60 years, plus some new highway exits (how did that get into the AECL bid anyway). That is, 80-100 TWh (over 20-25 years) vs. 1,200 TWh (over 60 years). Same cost (modulo interest rates and related financial quirks.) _CapacityFactorGreen insanity disease swept over Europe, and has crossed the pond to North America with the election of the Obama / Pelosi reich. As the energy starvation regime tightens its chokehold on American energy via Cap 'N Trade and thousands of other green-insanity regulations, America's overburdened economy will reel.
Until Spain's abrupt collapse, the Iberian nation had been held up as a model for imitating. As it becomes more clear how Spain's energy fanaticism helped bring about its economic downfall, wise analysts will shift focus to other nations that are at risk of repeating Spain's mistakes.
Wind and solar are expensive and unreliable. And yet Obama is willing to push the US economy to the edge by favouring wind and solar over more reliable nuclear and coal. The green objections to nuclear have been largely answered by startling new technologies that improve safety and allow for nuclear waste recycling, conversion, and destruction. Even newer technologies are coming that will be even safer, more economical, quicker to market, and less prone to nuclear weapons proliferation.
So why is the US jumping off the cliff? Because Spain did?
There are many niches where solar energy makes sense. Mostly for small scale applications where connecting to the grid is too expensive or inconvenient. Better batteries would create even more niches for solar energy. But for large and intermediate scale utility power, nuclear (and clean coal IGCC CHP) is the technology of the future.
For small scale power (under 100 MW) cellulosic electricity is beginning to make sense. See Al Fin Energy for more.