Ever wondered about how the pylon distribution transformer on the pole near your home is made? (inareas with underground power they are mounted on slabs) They have to be robust - ten years or more in fifty below to one hundred and twenty degree weather living through storms and taking lighting strikes. They've been around for a long time, but just work.
Oh .. and the sizing may be wrong if you and some of your neighbors plug in your electric cars at the same time...
Robert I. McDonald1*, Joseph Fargione2, Joe Kiesecker3, William M. Miller4, Jimmie Powell5
1 Worldwide Office, The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America, 2 Central Region, The Nature Conservancy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America, 3 Rocky Mountain Region, The Nature Conservancy, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America, 4 Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America, 5Worldwide Office, The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America
Abstract Concern over climate change has led the U.S. to consider a cap-and-trade system to regulate emissions. Here we illustrate the land-use impact to U.S. habitat types of new energy development resulting from different U.S. energy policies. We estimated the total new land area needed by 2030 to produce energy, under current law and under various cap-and-trade policies, and then partitioned the area impacted among habitat types with geospatial data on the feasibility of production. The land-use intensity of different energy production techniques varies over three orders of magnitude, from 1.9–2.8 km2/TW hr/yr for nuclear power to 788–1000 km2/TW hr/yr for biodiesel from soy. In all scenarios, temperate deciduous forests and temperate grasslands will be most impacted by future energy development, although the magnitude of impact by wind, biomass, and coal to different habitat types is policy-specific. Regardless of the existence or structure of a cap-and-trade bill, at least 206,000 km2 will be impacted without substantial increases in energy efficiency, which saves at least 7.6 km2 per TW hr of electricity conserved annually and 27.5 km2 per TW hr of liquid fuels conserved annually. Climate policy that reduces carbon dioxide emissions may increase the areal impact of energy, although the magnitude of this potential side effect may be substantially mitigated by increases in energy efficiency. The possibility of widespread energy sprawl increases the need for energy conservation, appropriate siting, sustainable production practices, and compensatory mitigation offsets.
It is interesting to look at population density vs per capital power consumption for various countries. The diagonals represent constant energy density in watts/meter2.
It is apparent land is at a premium for alternate energy in some countries ... wind farms are often only a handful of watts/meter2 of ground area. Factoring in conversion efficiency, solar is south of 50 watts/meter2 in the best locations. Choosing wisely is important.