Exelon plans to build solar power plant on Chicago's South Side

An aerial-view rendering of the proposed Exelon Chicago Solar Power Plant. Exelon Corp. Full Story

“Non smoking freedom loving vet”

Since: Apr 08

Chicago

#22 Apr 22, 2009
I remember President Carter favoring solar, then Regan dismantled it.

“Non smoking freedom loving vet”

Since: Apr 08

Chicago

#23 Apr 22, 2009
Umm, Where on the south side??????
Frank

United States

#24 Apr 22, 2009
It makes sense to generate the power where it is used, but we’ve got a lot of roof tops they could do this to, like McCormick Place, or even use the space over a landfill.
tom

Wheeling, IL

#26 Apr 22, 2009
vicky kross wrote:
never mind Chicago come to Roswell New Mexico. We have much more sun than either Germany or Chicago
Leave it to the government to put solar panels in the Windy City, instead of windmills.

“Time to Trim Bushes Overdue”

Since: Dec 07

Chicago

#27 Apr 22, 2009
Keith wrote:
I'm a conservative and I am for taking care of the planet, but our focus should be realistic. There is no way that we will be able to develop 20% of our power from "Renewable Sources" in 11 years. That is a dream. Nuclear could go a long way in helping us to cut carbon emissions, but leave it to "environmentalists" to back us into a corner for energy.
Those on this thread advocating new nuclear plants don't have a clue what they are advocating for.
The same Moody's that was quoted in the solar article puts the price of new nuclear plants at about $8 BILLION per plant -- and that's likely an underestimate given the industry's historic penchant for cost overruns. The two proposed Florida Power and Light nuke plants are coming in at $24 BILLION (THEIR estimate; complete). The fact is that new nuclear plants suffer from the exact same problem that new renewables do: high front end costs. The renewables are superior here because they can be added incrementally as need for power dictates; nukes only come in one size: gigantor. That makes them very inflexible in meeting demand cost effectively.
New nukes will take at LEAST 5 years just for construction -- again given the CURRENT experience with plants under construction in Finland and France. The total timeline for a nuclear plant from concept to flipping the switch was estimated in one 2005 report to reach 17 years!
The reason that the cost for renewables is so high is a self-fulfilling prophecy at this point: you don't build them, you don't lower costs through economies of scale. That keeps upfront costs high, so you don't build them. This is not rational. The fact that solar and wind produce such a small percentage of our power supply is that the facilities have not been built, not because the technologies don't work. No power plant of ANY kind can be faulted for not producing power if it is not constructed first.
Yesterday's news announced that China is planning to build three-times the electrical capacity of its planned new nuclear plants with WIND POWER! Denmark and Germany (and soon Spain) get sizeable percentages of its electrical power from wind; and soon from solar (Spain and Germany). Their economic planners do not seem too worried about renewables not being able to sustain their economies.
For those luddites who still believe that renewables cannot meet the majority of our energy needs, you need to visit this website and read this book (downloadable for FREE): Carbon Free-Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy; www.carbonfreenuclearfree.org
The devils in the details of nuclear power are numerous and overwhelm any sentimental irrationality that would support its continuation. For nuclear power -- the numbers just don't support its use. And we haven't even talked about the environmental and proliferation problems here!

“Time to Trim Bushes Overdue”

Since: Dec 07

Chicago

#28 Apr 22, 2009
Nick wrote:
<quoted text>
Not to mention the amount of energy needed to maintain this solar plant will nearly equal the amount of energy is draws.
I dont even know where to begin with the stupidity of this project.
At least the maintenance will be onsite. The advantage with onsite power is that you reduce your need to reply on the tranmission and distribution grids used by coal and nukes which also require a high degree of maintenance. Worse they can take down whole chunks of service territory when they fail -- as the Eastern Seaboard and Canada found out earlier this decade. Those who were off-grid (using wind/solar) would be unaffected by such blackouts and brownouts.
The trade off is a good one favoring renewables. Better to start using the available local flat-roof acreage than screwing up miles of farmland stringing vulnerable wires.
Kevin

Chicago, IL

#29 Apr 22, 2009
Yeah smart idea. Put a solar plant in a city that is cloudy and has very indirect sunlight like 8 months of the year, rains for at least 1 of those remaining 4 months and doesn't have a lot of daylight hours in the first place. Put the plant in the south and send the electricity here.
MikeW

United States

#30 Apr 22, 2009
Skep Tackle wrote:
I don't see what people are complaining about. As with any new technology the initial cost is high. How many people out there bought a flat panel TV when they were first introduced and paid big bucks for the privilage. I recently bought a 22" F.P. TV for $200.00! The same unit last year was selling for $450.00! With time the technology will be perfected, competition will rise and the cost will come down.
Sadly, that's a common fallacy. Look, solar technology has been around for decades (I played with panels in college in the 70's!). It is very mature, the physics is well understood, and the bottom line is that it's an intrinsically inefficient, expensive way to get energy. If anything, the price for photovoltaic panels will rise in coming years as public-relations gimmicks like this Exelon proposal increase demand.

Solar thermal (heating water to run turbines) is much more practical than photovoltaics, but even better is wind energy. Even though Germany leads the world in solar electricity, they get about 15 times that amount from wind turbines. They only hype solar because photovoltaic manufacturing is a big domestic industry.
Josh at NRDC

New York, NY

#31 Apr 22, 2009
Keith wrote:
I'm a conservative and I am for taking care of the planet, but our focus should be realistic. There is no way that we will be able to develop 20% of our power from "Renewable Sources" in 11 years. That is a dream. Nuclear could go a long way in helping us to cut carbon emissions, but leave it to "environmentalists" to back us into a corner for energy.
Administrator Jackson put out a statement about the "no we can't crowd" today and this statement fits right into it. Renewables are springing up all over the place and making a difference---look at BP's new wind farm in Indiana. They built out a facility with 400 megawatt capacity in less than a year.

This country is embracing renewables because they are cheap, scalable, and can deliver NOW (not a decade from now) without the human health and pollution costs inherent in other technologies. I cannot understand the rigid reluctance to move forward with new technologies.
Josh at NRDC

New York, NY

#32 Apr 22, 2009
generalsn1234567 wrote:
Umm, Where on the south side??????
An old industrial site in West Pullman.
Nick

Mundelein, IL

#33 Apr 22, 2009
DaveK17 wrote:
<quoted text>
At least the maintenance will be onsite. The advantage with onsite power is that you reduce your need to reply on the tranmission and distribution grids used by coal and nukes which also require a high degree of maintenance. Worse they can take down whole chunks of service territory when they fail -- as the Eastern Seaboard and Canada found out earlier this decade. Those who were off-grid (using wind/solar) would be unaffected by such blackouts and brownouts.
The trade off is a good one favoring renewables. Better to start using the available local flat-roof acreage than screwing up miles of farmland stringing vulnerable wires.
We would be better off investing in research that leads to more efficient energy.
Monkey See

United States

#34 Apr 22, 2009
Forget the power company. More of this incentive money needs to go to the average home owner. There are already good incentives, but a home solar system is still expensive with the incentives. 2-3 panels on every house in Chicago would be a huge boost to our power supply.

We have the technology for cloudy production and durability to withstand harsh weather. Let the power company worry about installing innovative technology in their current plants and give the people the money to provide a point source energy system.

There is no reason why this cannot become more widespread. Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the Earth's crust, so lets use it. We can put solar panels onto vehicles to increase gas mileage. We can put panels on street lights, parking meters, stoplights, and many other civic structures.

People continue to seek fusion power, but we already have it. The Sun is a giant fusion reactor and bathes us with 30x the 2005 world energy consumption every day, of which only 0.6% stays on Earth. The rest is lost back to space.

Every day we lose almost twice as much energy as contained in the entire world's petroleum reserve. Let's make an effort to really use the Sun.
anonymous

Washington, DC

#35 Apr 22, 2009
Wouldn't the Windy City be better off capturing some of that as energy rather than solar? ;) Chicago isn't exactly known for its sunshine. This also seems like a waste of open space that would be better used as a park or something like that. I like the idea of putting solar panels on top of flat-topped buildings better where they don't take up any extra space. I'm all for alternative energy and applaud the effort, but it seems there are more practical options.
moreofthesame

Chicago, IL

#36 Apr 22, 2009
Wait until the criminals start ripping these off, destroying them or just spray painting their gang logo's on them. I'll bet they didn't factor that into their costs.
Rich

Evergreen Park, IL

#37 Apr 22, 2009
The locals will strip and sell the panels within a week. Go Nuke!
Josh at NRDC

New York, NY

#38 Apr 22, 2009
anonymous wrote:
Wouldn't the Windy City be better off capturing some of that as energy rather than solar? ;) Chicago isn't exactly known for its sunshine. This also seems like a waste of open space that would be better used as a park or something like that. I like the idea of putting solar panels on top of flat-topped buildings better where they don't take up any extra space. I'm all for alternative energy and applaud the effort, but it seems there are more practical options.
Hey folks---no doubt there is potential for wind here in Chicago (no idea why I am coming up as being from CA in the stuff on the left---I am a happy South Sider). There are a number of projects that have been mentioned to capture wind in Lake Michigan. But don't forget, the Windy City nickname is not meteorological in origin. It was a dig by East Coast boosters who questioned Chicago's big plans---folks who probably sounded a lot like the "no we can't crowd" that are out in force on these comment forums.
DennisMS

New York, NY

#39 Apr 22, 2009
I appreciate this potential venture into solar power. Here's hoping the price tag for panels can drop from $6-$10 per watt (including installation) to below $5 per watt by the end of 2010. Such a price would begin to compete with fossil fuels (especially when the costs of pollution are finally included in the equation through a federal cap on carbon emissions).
For info on developments in the solar and other sustainable energy markets, enjoy daily blogs at:
http://www.setenergy.org
Lake County Taxpayer

Rye, NY

#40 Apr 22, 2009
Save my taxes, let them build a nuke plant with their own bucks, about 20 times the KW's per buck. Thousands of times the KW's per acre.

Conserve Indium, no new solar panels!
Get Real

Ashburn, VA

#41 Apr 22, 2009
Cyclone wrote:
Nice move by Exelon. It'll get them attention, and they can put another page on "committing to green energy" in the annual report, but that's about it.
The article draws comparisons to Midwest Generation's Crawford station, which is a 542 MW plant. That's pretty wimpy compared to Exelon's nuclear plants; Braidwood, LaSalle, and Byron are all 2,200+ MW each. Solar panels would be a drop in the bucket, but a very expensive drop.
You want to make a difference? Build a nuclear plant and you could shut down 3 coal plants. Is that the lesser evil of pollution? Who knows?
Not trying to start Obama bashing, but he put a halt to building Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility so many power companies are canceling plans for nuclear plant expansion or construction. If there is no place to store waste we can no longer consider it a viable option for producing electricity.
Get Real

Ashburn, VA

#42 Apr 22, 2009
Cadillac wrote:
In the election I was promised 2 things:
"We will build more nuclear power plants"
and
"I will go through the budget line by line with a scalpel."
.
Seeing Obama didnt even read the 1,100 page stimulous bill before signing it.
.
Im not holding my breath on those nuclear reactors.
See my other comment. He already scrapped plans to finish an almost complete storage facility for nuclear waste.

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