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Roman_Investor t1_jd8o53d wrote

But the ad on YouTube told me that it would be a bad deal for Maine; surely the energy companies have our best interest at heart. /s


Reckless85 t1_jd8sqvz wrote

Yeah that guy used the word Evah with a hard H. He doesn't just throw those around willy nilly.


MrFittsworth t1_jd9crrv wrote

Lol reading some comments in this thread makes me think that ad actually worked for a lot of people. "who's gonna pay for it?"

All of us and our grandkids if we don't get the fuck out of conventional energy methods ASAP when the planet starts running out of water and food.


goodinyou t1_jda43z1 wrote

I hate those ads with a passion. I didn't care much about the topic until I started getting spammed with these insulting ads on the daily.


higginsp13 t1_jdbfixl wrote

I used to work for the video company that makes those ads 😶‍🌫️ one of the bosses really likes the “bad deal” messaging.


H2Omekanic t1_jdaxzaq wrote

Do you honestly believe solar manufacturers & installers are much better?


H2Omekanic t1_jdaxzw0 wrote

Do you honestly believe solar manufacturers & installers are much better?


MoistLobst3r t1_jd8dqwd wrote

South Korea does this and the solar panels in the middle provide shade for bicycles to ride underneath too. Not saying we'd do that on 95 here but be an added bonus " most bikable state" yayyy

I know there's an up front cost to these investments. The answer to " why does it have to come out of our pockets" is because to advance our society it has to come from somewhere at some point in time and that point is time is now and hopefully the where is us.


metatron207 t1_jd9172u wrote

> why does it have to come out of our pockets

It's either that, or it comes out of the pockets of those who are already wealthy, and they continue to charge us for the privilege of accessing infrastructure that should freely benefit everyone. I'd much rather pay my small part of these costs and have it available to everyone than help the rich get richer.


thehonorablechairman t1_jdbnwsn wrote

What if we took it out of the pockets of the wealthy, but didn't let them continue to charge us? Can we do that one? They've been taking shit out of our pockets for ages now.


rectumish t1_jd9x4jx wrote

I think that would be one heck of a great bike path if we could stop the cars from crashing to the left.


mangoruby t1_jdbcihn wrote

The money comes from the fed who print as needed. Your money and this whole economy is a joke


RobertLeeSwagger t1_jdbp0lq wrote

The new solar incentives in the IRA are pretty substantial so no better time than now.


Norgyort t1_jd8ah6w wrote

I don’t think the median is a good place for solar panels due to safety reasons.

Also not sure how the road dust would impact the efficiency of the panels.

Underground wires is not a bad idea, but there are places where the median is very small. It would also be a lot of work to route the cables over/under intersecting roads and bridges.

Now, what Augusta is doing with the solar panels on the ramp loops is a good idea IMO. We should be putting panels in all of those empty loops throughout the state.


ghostsintherafters t1_jd8sk6d wrote

Booooo! I hate that this is the top comment. Placing solar panels in the median is a brilliant idea and has worked in some of the dirtiest cities in India and Southeast Asia. The best part? Solar power is virtually free and they can't find a way to make it scarce in order to jack up our energy bills. Anyone leading us away from solar power is not our friend and these energy bills are fucking killing us common folk. Solar power in the medians all day, every day. Great idea.


3490goat t1_jd8wwdd wrote

I think the fact that is has worked well for other countries is the best reason to take a good look at the idea. The reality of American excellence has faded over time and we should start again to incorporate great ideas from other countries that work better. America has been surpassed in many areas in the last 40 years and we need to catch up on technology and infrastructure


WalkerBRiley t1_jd9hmki wrote

I think the fact that is has worked well for other countries is the main reason Americans are so against it. If it works somewhere else it can't be good, amirite?


3490goat t1_jd9itfb wrote

I think that is is attitude a lot of people have. Unfortunately


ralphy1010 t1_jdaewya wrote

I dunno man, I see a lot of European cars on the road everyday. They must be doing something right. /s


Betty2theWhite t1_jdbi15c wrote

People leading you away from just solar panels are your friends. Solar panels can't fix the world right now, we don't have adequate energy storage, especially in Maine where we have massive needs for power at the exact times solar stops producing. The duck curve just doesn't allow for it

In fact I'd argue only adding solar panels wouldn't change prices at all. Power plants are super costly to shut down and start up, and they have set flexibility in how much or little output they can sustain. So we can't just shut them off when the solar panels start producing and turn them back on when we need the power, and it turns out we consume the most power right before and right after solar panels produce.

All a massive solar panel project would do, right now, is flood the market with power at the times we need the least amount of power.

Now lunar panels, that's what we need.


seanwalter54321 t1_jdc19tu wrote

You’ll get downvoted but you seem to be the only one here that knows what they’re talking about. The price per MWH will actually go in the negatives making you have to shut down your main power suppliers when the suns out, then a cloud goes by, these things drop their output by 70% and now all the sudden things need to be up and running again. Without battery storage these things are creating disasters for grid stability.


Betty2theWhite t1_jddgbbd wrote

I did get down voted, but I'm an engineer so I'm used to people only respect my opinions on these matters when they have to pay me for them.


Betty2theWhite t1_jdbi822 wrote

Pretty sure that area doesn't have the snow fall we do.


kirkwooder t1_jdd2hm9 wrote

ikr? Pretty sure MaineDOT actually counts on that median space being available for cost effective snow removal.


[deleted] t1_jd8rxlv wrote



mainething OP t1_jd8tx0f wrote


[deleted] t1_jd8wwr5 wrote



jihadgis t1_jd9qmc8 wrote

I'm not even remotely qualified, but it seems obvious that maintaining several/many solar farms along the median-located transmission line would incur less maintenance costs over time than tending a relatively delicate network over the course of hundreds of linear miles ... in traffic.


jarnhestur t1_jd8gr14 wrote

Yeah. Let’s talk about how great the Chinese power grid is in their rural areas. 😂


Erin-DidYouFindMe t1_jd8ny4a wrote

.... the reason why China is heavily investing into solar is because of their rural issues. Its their solution to it. Because its been repeatedly proven to be way more effective at providing consistent power to the small scale, decentralized rural communities.

You also have the benefit of creating a by-proxy mesh network, which prevents outages like you see in Texas when the centralized infrastructure fails.


jarnhestur t1_jd8omww wrote

Agreed. But taking a single picture of some solar panels stuck on the middle of a random road with no context doesn’t really prove anything.

China’s power grid is a mess, and still relies a lot of coal. Yeah, they are doing solar, but let’s not hold them up as some kind of leader in it. Their rural infrastructure is incredibly archaic.


Erin-DidYouFindMe t1_jd8rmlu wrote

...Not really sure what the issue is?

China went through their industrial revolution 110-or-so years after us. We've had almost a century to expand our infrastructure into our rural communities.

The things you're complaining about - it being a mess (underdevelopment, lack of robust infrastructure) and them using coal - both of those things are solved by the work their doing with solar panels, like in the picture above.

Hope that clarifies. Let me know if you'd like any other information.


jarnhestur t1_jd8xyte wrote

I don't think holding up China as an example of how the US should further develop our power grid is very smart or even applicable.


Erin-DidYouFindMe t1_jd8ypls wrote

China, Korea, Japan, and Nordic Countries are all doing this (or nearly identical) systems, many modeled off of the Chinese model you see above. China is - for all intents and purposes - the most prolific solar producer in the world.

Your feelings about the Chinese are blinding you to the solutions that are being created.


jarnhestur t1_jd99g1q wrote,coal%20investments%20to%20meet%20demand.&text=Two%20months%20of%20scorching%20heatwaves,into%20an%20energy%20security%20crisis.,can%20quickly%20cause%20electricity%20shortages.

China's power grid is an absolute mess. Also, China is one of the worst worst polluters. This isn't a feeling issue - it's a reality issue.


This isn't about solar power - I'm all for solar power. However, holding the Chinese power grid up as what we should be aiming for is... laughable.


Erin-DidYouFindMe t1_jd9dwti wrote

> This isn't about solar power

That is the topic and I'm not deviating it to argue about something that no one is disagreeing with...

> Holding the Chinese power grid up

No one is doing this.

Saying China is doing a good job at building up their infrastructure isn't saying they have the best grid ever, its just stating a fact that their renewable energy and infrastructure spending is both modern-oriented and proven efficient towards their goal of creating a robust, green power grid. As proven by several European countries, Japan, the US, South Korea, and even super rural places in Africa. China is just doing a lot more of it - in part because they need to, to get off coal and make their grid more robust.

China is also working on curtailment efficiency (Mongolian parts wasted about 10-12% because the solar panels are producing more than the curtailment can handle) and are doing so, in part, by developing a combination of centralized and decentralized "mesh network" solar panel grid system that's shown to be highly effective. A model the US should be more oriented towards.

Again, for a country that went through their industrial revolution 100 years after us - who are, in effect, 100 years behind us in power grid infrastructure building and development.

By... doing things like what is specifically in that picture and in this post.


thehonorablechairman t1_jdbr775 wrote

Yes, China needs to modernize, that's why they're building a shit ton of solar panels, and it seems to be working pretty well so far.

US also needs to modernize, maybe we could also build a shit ton of solar panels, since it seems to be working in other places.


jarnhestur t1_jdcftr3 wrote

Sure - but the point of putting them in the middle of the road and saying that's how Maine should do it doesn't seem to be applicable to me.

Putting power related infrastructure in the middle of a rural road seems like a poor location.

I'm all for solar power, in general, but putting a bunch of panels where cars can hit them seems dumb.


AppexRedditor t1_jd8vd1i wrote

Not sure how this is supposed to convince anyone that putting solar panels in a median is a good idea


HarlemGlobefrotter t1_jd8pcxs wrote

That’s a chart of total installations; that doesn’t disprove the comment about how crappy Chinese rural power is. Just shows they install a lot, which is to be expected given the large urban populace and heavy urban shift since the 1980s.


mhb20002000 t1_jdakdr6 wrote

Considering how many cars end up in the median on a snowy day, putting panels in the median would lead to expensive replacement cost and higher insurance premiums as a state.


GoldenLeftovers t1_jd8ryvy wrote

Safety reasons?


Norgyort t1_jd8t51f wrote

Cars going off the road and crashing into the panels.


GoldenLeftovers t1_jd9bts1 wrote

Better do away with trees, rocks, telephone poles, concrete dividers...

Surely you would crash into a guardrail before hitting the panels


FragilousSpectunkery t1_jd9aohy wrote

There are thousands of trees in the median. Or, are you thinking of the short bit between Gray and NH?


drewteam t1_jd94o0n wrote

Cars go off the road every where... People should slow down and put their phone down.

It's not like it's new, as someone said it works in South Korea. People are the issue. Put the phone down.


MrFittsworth t1_jd9c2c2 wrote

Dust? Are you living in some different part of the state? Where have you seen large dust clouds from the interstate in any season other than a few short weeks in late spring when the salt and sand is dry on the roads?


dinah-fire t1_jdaghrk wrote

Pretty sure that person was responding to the person asking why they don't do that in the southwest.


Betty2theWhite t1_jdbie3v wrote

Dust here could mean air particulates, as in salt/sand, exhaust fumes and residue, or a plethora of others.


MrFittsworth t1_jdcf1vi wrote

Rain washes dust and said dust would have little impact on the efficacy of solar panels en masse in application.


SeawolfGaming t1_jdaxz2r wrote

Underground wires is actually a great idea, it's what they do in Germany and they have an average of 30 minutes of power downtime per year.


_Marat t1_jd8xf37 wrote

>solar power at the 45th parallel



PlentyCommission166 t1_jd8npk4 wrote

I am absolutely baffled why the southwest states don't cover their roads in shaded lanes made of solar panels. It's a win win for drivers in that baked hellscape.


piratecheese13 t1_jd98qlg wrote

Step 1: during the time that we really did need gasoline, gas companies spent a lot of money, knowingly lying.

Step 2: when you cultivate a group of people who believe lies, they become galvanized against the truth

Step 3: the people who are most easily convinced of these lies are the also the kind of people who believe the world should never change. These are the people who believe you can get back to five cents a gallon. These the people it’s hardest to convince that solar panels are no longer full of super Duper unrecyclable poison.


ralphy1010 t1_jdaefd2 wrote

no, now it's they just think the solar looks ugly and that is their reason for not wanting it. Or windmills kill birds as if they suddenly care about birds.

The reality is most of the baby boomers are simply being selfish and trying to take as much as they can up to the very last moment of their lives. They truly don't care what happens after they are gone as long as their gas is cheap and the market is good enough to supplement the pathetic amount of money they set aside for their retirements. They've learned nothing from the last 50 years of history so there is no reason to expect them to change now.


SemaphoreBingo t1_jd8yy0c wrote

> I am absolutely baffled why the southwest states don't cover their roads in shaded lanes made of solar panels



im_a_zoe t1_jd8oh9q wrote

Solar panels lose efficiency at high temperatures, the dry environment creates a lot of dust which requires near constant cleaning of panels, and the spread-out nature of infrastructure in the southwest would drive up transmission and maintenance costs as well.


monsterscallinghome t1_jdacoau wrote

Fuck, just the parking lots could make a massive difference. And people would stop getting 3rd degree burns from their steering wheels.


toodrinkmin t1_jdcp8f6 wrote

I recently moved from Arizona, and this has been becoming a thing more and more in recent years down there.


SkiingAway t1_jdazaav wrote

Because it's a pretty terrible idea when you've got a fuckton of empty land to work with, and virtually nowhere does it make sense unless you wanted to build a canopy anyway.

You're introducing large additional costs and complexity for no reason.

  • An overhead structure is a lot of additional....structure, that you didn't need vs just....putting the things on/near the ground.

  • $ to build.

  • $ to maintain - structure has to be maintained, crews working on the structure or panels now need to care about fall protection, traffic, access, you'll have lots of lane closures for structure work, and so on.

  • Increased safety risks

  • Your overhead structure has to be supported. Which means support posts. Line the interstate with phone poles every 50ft and you'll have a lot more crash deaths. (small) road signs + light posts are designed to breakaway because they're not supporting anything - can't do that with a structure.

  • Increased damage/failure rates

  • now you've got car crashes regularly damaging sections of your overhead structure. You see how fucked up guardrails get, imagine if each one of those crashes took out some big overhead structure that collapsed on top of the roadway and cars.

  • Road debris and pollution will collect on the panels and reduce efficiency.

  • If you're doing it anywhere populated, now any taller buildings/new development going up in the future are likely going to slash output on nearby sections of panels.


If you want economically efficient power, it should look like this: Luz del Norte. Anything else is wasting money and efficiency for no reason. Especially not in a world where we can't produce enough solar panels to meet demand - which means they should be getting installed in the most optimal sites with the highest production efficiency first.

Or watch the video of construction (spanish but you don't really need the words):

And compare the low complexity of doing that vs the complexity of trying to build vast overhead structures over roadways.


GrowFreeFood t1_jd9inum wrote

I suggested this the other day and someone said it was the dumbest idea they ever heard. People's brains are bad


rectumish t1_jd9xjnl wrote

they could have given you a polite explanation.


rectumish t1_jd9xe1g wrote

Believe it or not it can get too hot to generate solar power with our existing technology.


liteagilid t1_jda87cv wrote

That or just cover that part of New Mexico where they tested atom bombs. Could power every city from Denver west


MapoTofuWithRice t1_jd8x7xm wrote

Building things over highways is expensive and performing maintenance on delicate electrical equipment over a highway is especially so.


Lawlcat t1_jd8bzbk wrote

Solar panels in the median of the highway? This is some "solar freakin roadways" dipshittery


WalkerBRiley t1_jd9hfqk wrote

Difference is this makes sense whereas his idea did not. He wanted to convert the roads themselves into solar panels.


Lawlcat t1_jd9hs8c wrote

This doesn't make sense either. There's a reason those medians exist. Safety. They have wide medians, cable barriers, jersey barriers, etc designed to protect cars from crossing over. Imagine a small family sedan crossing into the median now, they get beheaded by solar panels as they crash through them. Or if they are raised up, now you've got a forest of metal poles to smash in and through.

And that's not including the need to clean them from salt, dust, brake dust, exhaust fume collections, etc. It's a maintenance nightmare alone.

We don't need long ass narrow panels like this. We just need a few acres scattered about with correctly oriented solar panels and you'll get as much if not far more yield than this bullshit idea. And you don't have any of those previous problems. This very much is "Solar freaking roadwards" shit


zebrastarz t1_jd9nah0 wrote

There are already medians with trees, man, you're very much just naysaying.


Trilliam_West t1_jd9p4ok wrote

Dear God, I remember getting called a shill for big oil because I pointed out a few of the issues with putting solar panels flat on the ground and driving over them would cause.


iceflame1211 t1_jd8gnxk wrote

My first thought lmao. Loved that video back in the day


GRADIUSIC_CYBER t1_jd9kz7a wrote

or we could build one nuclear power plant and get 10x the power


p6one6 t1_jda8i2g wrote

Nuclear power in Maine is unlikely for the next decade or two due to an older generation that fears radioactive waste. While the storage can take minimal space and secure, there's a desire for other sources that might create more pollution and hazard waste that will eventually need to be taken care of. But the pollution is not expected to be an issue far beyond our time. The other side of it is the generation(supply) industry is deregulated in Maine which makes nuclear susceptible to risk when natural gas prices go low and take away the demand for the more stable nuclear supply. Nuclear is a source you want to keep running constantly and Maine's setup does not promote that.


oldncrusty68 t1_jdahl4a wrote

It might be when the government threatened to turn lake region into a nuclear waste dump that turned us off from “clean” nuclear energy.


GRADIUSIC_CYBER t1_jdakw9h wrote

nuclear just has bad messaging imo.

I mean, we literally are driving tanker trucks all over New England to fill people's fuel oil tanks. I think people are just afraid of the unknown / outside entities / change. So instead we'll just keep spending a shit ton on heating and electricity.


Fireonpoopdick t1_jdb2byg wrote

Once again it is the old and ignorant that keep the young and bright from making the world better, from even trying, they are so old and afraid of everything they don't want to fund the next generation to build the future, they just want to build their little castles and hold onto what little wealth they have for dear life.

It just seems like if we had invested in manufacturing of renewables a decade or two ago we could be the worlds leader again as a country, not that we did a great job last time but we did make some progress, I just don't get why everyone who's older is now so afraid to move forward and build a future their children, it has felt like my whole life the older generations gave up in like the 70s and then just ran off 50s nostalgia since the 80s, and now it's just nothing but fear and confusion.


PolarBlueberry t1_jdacnyf wrote

This is the cause of New England’s energy problems. They closed down the nuclear reactors and never replaced them. Upgrade and reopen Maine Yankee, Vermont Yankee, etc and you’d see our rates go down with a “clean” and reliable energy source.


StarbeamII t1_jdbd68e wrote

The only US nuclear power plant under construction (Vogtle 3 and 4 in Georgia) will cost more than $30 billion for 2234MW and has taken over 13 years to build. Hinkley Point C in the UK will cost £32.7 billion for 3200MW and will take over 11 years to build. Right now it's straight up not a feasible solution unless you can get the costs and time way down.

Solar and wind, even with batteries, are a fraction of the cost.


GRADIUSIC_CYBER t1_jdbfimo wrote

I think if we built a bunch of nuclear plants, the cost would be less. and if they weren't criminally mismanaged like vogtle and vc summer (literally, in the case of vc summer) it's certainly possible, plenty of other countries have built new reactors in the last 40 years.

also I don't think cost is the number one obstacle. New England already has the most expensive electricity in the nation, (outside of Hawaii where you don't need heat or air conditioning), and we refuse to do collectively agree to do anything about it.

I do support a combination of renewables and nuclear.


snowswolfxiii t1_jdcj0ka wrote

A combination is key, I think. Renewables have the obvious pro of being renewable, but there's no denying their own climate and eco risks, let alone the fact that they aren't very efficient at generating said power.

While Nuclear is long lasting, powerful, and extremely efficient; the cons are obvious.

It's too bad we weren't able to create a couple of sub-orbital nuclear power plants. If we had a way to transfer the energy to earth, moving nuclear power off-planet could be a huge win. If something goes wrong, just kick that baby out to the cosmos and drop another quadrillion on a new one. Obviously nothing could go wrong.


Betty2theWhite t1_jdbh3wq wrote

Pretty sure you could get the time and cost way down by reestablishing maine Yankee and not building from scratch.

Solar and wind have time and costs associated as well, and adding in batteries to combat Maines duck curve would add a metric fuck ton of cost, if it was even feasible.


PurpleDancer t1_jdakrqb wrote

The numbers seem to show that solar is cheaper per kwh

Edit: ok downvotes, do you think I'm just making this up?

This wikipedia page captures numerous methods of measuring it and you can see the variety of results. There's only one study where solar is considered more expensive than nuclear (ipcc 2014 which was before solar panel prices dropped like a stone)

Levelized cost of energy seems to be the common metric


GRADIUSIC_CYBER t1_jdalsqc wrote

Covering the interstate with solar panels doesn't really seem feasible, and I doubt there's going to be enough people in support of cutting down more trees to put in solar. At the moment solar makes the most sense for people putting it on their roof, assuming they have good location / roof angle and the $$$ to install.

Maybe we could generate clean electricity elsewhere where it's more practical and just bring the power in with new transmission lines /s

Don't underestimate how much some people hate change: Displeasure with solar projects at Interstate 95 interchanges prompts Augusta officials to seek additional regulations


Rippedyanu1 t1_jdb9y8a wrote

They show that when you hide the cost of infrastructure upgrades and new power stations, and regular replacement.


snowswolfxiii t1_jdcj3zj wrote

Gonna need to ask you to post those number, chief.


PurpleDancer t1_jdcldbp wrote

This wikipedia page captures numerous methods of measuring it and you can see the variety of results. There's only one study where solar is considered more expensive than nuclear (ipcc 2014 which was before solar panel prices dropped like a stone)

Levelized cost of energy seems to be the common metric


snowswolfxiii t1_jdcnn89 wrote

I think the reason you're getting downvoted is that 'the numbers' don't really conclude anything. Literally the moment you read beyond the numbers, it becomes apparent that it's all just on-paper theory and doesn't mean anything.

Did you read the massive disclaimer?

>Real life costs can diverge significantly from those estimates.


>Olkiluoto block 3, which achieved first criticality in late 2021 had an overnight cost to the construction consortium (the utility paid a fixed price agreed to when the deal was signed of only 3.2 billion euros) of €8.5 billion and a net electricity capacity of 1.6 gigawatt or €5310 per kilowatt of capacity.[16] Meanwhile Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Canada had an overnight cost of CA$5.117 billion for a net electric capacity of 3512 Megawatts or CA$1,457 per Kilowatt of capacity. The oft cited figure of CA$14.319 billion - which works out to CA$4,077 per kilowatt of capacity - includes interest (a particularly high cost in this case as the utility had to borrow at market rates and had to absorb the cost of delays in construction) and is thus not an "overnight cost".


>The first German Offshore Wind Park Alpha Ventus Offshore Wind Farm with a nameplate capacity of 60 MW cost €250 million (after an initial estimate of €190 million).[21] In 2012 it produced 268 Gigawatt-hours of electricity, achieving a capacity factor of just over 50%.[22] If the overnight cost is calculated for the nameplate capacity, it works out to €4167 per Kilowatt whereas if one takes into account the capacity factor, the figure needs to be roughly doubled.


>The Lieberose Photovoltaic Park - one of the largest in Germany - had a nameplate capacity at opening of 52.79 Megawatt and cost some €160 million to build[28][29] or €3031 per kilowatt. With a yearly output of some 52 Gigawatt-hours (equivalent to just over 5.9 Megawatts) it has a capacity factor just over 11%. The €160 million figure was again cited when the solar park was sold in 2010.[30]
>The world's largest solar farm to date (2022) in Rajasthan, India - Bhadla Solar Park - has a total nameplate capacity of 2255 Megawatts and cost a total of 98.5 billion Indian rupees to build.[31] This works out to roughly 43681 rupees per kilowatt.


>As can be seen by these numbers, costs vary wildly even for the same source of electricity from place to place or time to time and depending on whether interest is included in total cost. Furthermore, capacity factors and the intermittency of certain power sources further complicate calculations. Another issue that is often omitted in discussions is the lifespan of various power plants - some of the oldest hydropower plants have existed for over a century, and nuclear power plants going on five or six decades of continuous operation are no rarity. However, many wind turbines of the first generation have already been torn down as they can no longer compete with more modern wind turbines and/or no longer fit into the current regulatory environment. Some of them were not even twenty-five years old. Solar panels exhibit a certain aging, which limits their useful lifetime, but real world data does not yet exist for the expected lifetime of the latest models.

Edit to conclude: Not to discount you coming back and posting this. Greatly appreciated and respected that you did!


PurpleDancer t1_jdcs27i wrote

Thanks. I recognize that this is tricky territory with lots of ifs ands and buts. I'm not really qualified to wade through it and figure out whether any particular method is properly accounting for interests rates, length of power plant service, etc... It requires experts who study this stuff to draw the conclusions. Unfortunately I don't know how to spot who the experts are who have all the knowledge to pull it all together and make sense of it. (For instance the numbers you just cited seem to be about construction costs and not ongoing generation costs)

So I'm using heuristics, like how often I see solar win in the comparisons by various studies, whether I seem to be looking at a source written by the solar/nuclear industry (and promptly discount them because they will be incintivized to use the metric that makes them look best). Another heuristic I use is how much China and India are investing. They are obviously building a massive power system for a developing population, China especially can do darn near whatever it wants without a democratically driven safety bureaucracy. Yet they seem to be investing in solar more than nuclear by a huge margin and that makes sense to me if solar is indeed cheaper over the long haul (though the lack of a rural power grid might be the reason which complicates comparisons to the US which has a complete grid).


snowswolfxiii t1_jddl4xf wrote

For what it's worth, since you've extrapolated on your initial comment, it has become starkly apparent that you've put more thought into all of this than your original comment suggested.

It is a very tricky and nuanced subject, which only compounds the moment it leaves a vacuum and starts interacting with literally everything else outside of 'power production security'.

While I hear you on not being qualified to draw conclusions; I also find it to be a dangerous slope to leave all of the thinking to those specialized in it. As you mentioned, they have their own biases, agendas, heuristics, and blind spots; and they always seem to have a bit more sway on policy than voters. (This should be a bit of a universal rule, imo.

Lastly, I have my own biases against solar and wind, largely because of the zealotry surrounding them. I'm seeing it dwindle, thankfully, but for a while there was a vast majority of Pro-Greens that would ardently deny S/W's own eco and climate impacts. (Among many other negatives in the background of the industry.)

Lastly, I do think Maintenance, construction, and all surrounding costs could be considered. As well as the spacial costs for recycling/discarding non-salvageable products. (Solar panels, wind blades, nuclear waste, carbon waste, etc etc)

I have more to add, but my break is over, so I'll cut this short. Hopefully as we move forward, we can figure out the best way to approach these issues. Thanks for a great exchange! Peace and prosperity to you.


Runnah5555 t1_jd8944j wrote

No matter what happens, the end user will get screwed while those at the top get even richer.


Famous_Quality_5931 t1_jd8fbyq wrote

Yea but go out and vote on this because I think we’d all enjoy getting a little less fucked than we are now.


kjimdandy t1_jd9p6eb wrote

who proofed this graphic?


MapoTofuWithRice t1_jd8wraw wrote

This /r/forwardsfromgrandma was made by someone who has no idea how infrastructure is financed or built.


Silentmooses t1_jd8oler wrote

I actually like this idea. Wish it would happen


saigonk t1_jd8vx6n wrote

The maximum voltage underground is way less than overhead, so that means it takes more lines and more conduits to feed more power I believe it is like 70kv vs 400kv so there's that part.


Thats a huge, and I mean HUGE expenditure before you even move one ounce of electricity, and with pre-existing lines it makes no sense to do that based on cost alone. Now you want to add in the infrastructure of all that solar in the middle of the highway?

Mainers love the idea of underground power, hell I have it in my neighborhood, but I also have a pole at the corner of our road that ties into other poles. Trenching underground is an expensive proposition.

No one in their right mind would replace existing lines that can carry close to 6x the power that already exist with underground lines.


Arsenault185 t1_jdb0ovi wrote

> so that means it takes more lines and more conduits to feed more

What? You simply bury the exact same gauge lines that you would run overhead.


saigonk t1_jdb1syu wrote

No, you can’t bury excessive amounts of power underground. Insulation is the issue.

It’s also somewhere on the order of 7-8x more expensive to run underground.


Arsenault185 t1_jdb2ned wrote

Well, TIL something.


saigonk t1_jdb2z4r wrote

No worries, underground would be amazing everywhere, but all the money, upkeep, etc. can be astronomical.

Even the ground above the pipes should be kept clear of vegetation so that roots don’t penetrate or shift conduits, now another added cost.

I get the idea the OP is trying to spin, but it just isn’t feasible.


Arsenault185 t1_jdb32ul wrote

I currently live in texas and almost everything is buried underground. Assumed that wasn't a concern.


cyriousn t1_jd92a4k wrote

The construction cost alone would prevent this from happening on existing infastructure. You would have dc voltage drop between the panels and the long linear run to the inverters. You have service clearances for all of this equipment. The middle of the road either has existing underground drainage or is sloped down for drainage away from the roads so the slope is not flat fkr equipment. The trees on the side of the road would likely cause shading limiting the production. The power off the inverters are usually output around 600v which require a transformer to step it up to a distribution voltage to go any reasonable distance to fight voltage drop. Then the existing overhead lines they connect into need to have the ability to carry the power back into substations and even a lot of those are at full capacity. That's why solar developers typically pick sites close to substations or transmission lines to inject a high power density in one location. So yeah this is a terrible idea lol.


Betty2theWhite t1_jdbiubr wrote

Fuck all that, the energy consumption duck curve alone.

Also I'd imagine the trees/plant life in the median are stopping a fair bit of erosion, and cutting wind speeds.


RatherNerdy t1_jd8nzg3 wrote

Additionally, beyond the fact that this isn't simple to begin with, there also the Maine Turnpike Authority, which adds another layer to any proposal.


wessex464 t1_jd9hmq0 wrote

This is a batshit stupid idea completely devoid of an ounce of logical thought. The no man's land between highways is dangerous to access, varies immensely in quality, is FREQUENTLY visited by vehicles at high speed during accidents, and would be massively inefficient to run power through. That's to say nothing about the impact of slinging salt all over the entirety of the infrastructure every winter.l which would destroy everything.

Maine has plenty of unused land to solar farm, this is literally one of the worst places to put it.

Find a capped landfill, out of service PFAS infested farmland or literally one of the billions of acres of cheap rural land that's accessible and safe.


Toibreaker t1_jdate7k wrote

As long as you are not clearcutting any trees to do this. Go for it. But solar arrays take up a HUGE footprint to generate decent amounts of power, that only works in sunlight. All the fuddyduddies need to get off the nuclear is bad soapbox, and embrace it. Zero carbon electricity, limited long term waste, effluent (water used in the primary system) does not hold high radioactivity forever like fuel rods and actual mechanical system components do…. So the footprint needed for short term storage is negligible. And remember there are 4-9 nuclear reactors at any given time from Kittery to the mass line along the coast. Soon to be 6-11…..


NotAMainer t1_jdbwzz5 wrote

Maine does not own I-95, thats a Federal highway and as such is Federal property.


Laminar t1_jd9j188 wrote

It's a LIVE WIYAH!!!!!

Don't touch!


therealwolfe1982 t1_jd9ld32 wrote

Serious question here: protection and control and voltage transformers?


chuckleoctopus t1_jd9m2ti wrote

Who’s going to get the snow off of hundreds of miles of solar panels up in the county? This is a better solution for warmer climates


TabooRaver t1_jdadm48 wrote

Snow doesn't really affect panels as much as some people think. Sunlight can penetrate a light dusting without too much drop off. The panels also get pretty hot, so the more sunlight hits the snow covered panel the layer touching the panel melts and most of the pile will slide off.

Granted, that may be a traffic safety concern. But since it's a liner installation a small plow on a rail that runs ahead of the normal plows the clear the roads may be effective.


snowswolfxiii t1_jdcln4m wrote

A dusting of snow may not have an impact, but heavy snow does. This is Maine... lol


aconsent t1_jd9mkio wrote

Has anyone performed the analysis necessary to determine how many Gigawatts could be produced with the median solution (in a year)?


who-really-cares t1_jda08df wrote

We’ll 300 miles, that’s 1.58 million feet. Assuming 3 panels across the median, we’ll assume 4ft wide. That’s 1.18 million panels.

Let’s say 350w/ panel. That’s 413 mega watts of peak power.

In Maine we get about 1.5mwh of power/ year/ kw installed. So 620mwh total production. Let’s say production can get 17c/kwh, which might be stretching it, that’s 105 million dollars / year in production.


GuppyGB t1_jdd10wr wrote

CMP will lose all of its customers if it doesn't constantly innovate, invent, compete, and produce new methods of delivering power more efficiently and affordably. Oh wait... no. Sorry, that would be a real company that's not a monopoly. Silly me.


kokomjolk33 t1_jd93ai3 wrote

Red text on black is D- readability.


BeatNick5384 t1_jd945s8 wrote

Do you have any idea how much burying cables, and constant maintenance will cost? Maine doesn't have the GDP for that. At near a million dollars a mile as a conservative estimate for normal power lines, not even tranamission lines that would be required, this is little more than a pipe dream. I'm all for government controlled utilities, but even if that happened there is no chance this would be economically viable.


piratecheese13 t1_jd991zn wrote

Cost less than maintaining a coal plant


BeatNick5384 t1_jd99ma5 wrote

Maine doesn't have coal plants. The closest is in Rumford and only uses coal as a secondary fuel source if they run out of biomass. Maine hasn't burned an ounce of coal for generation since 2019. Even then I highly doubt maintenance on any of our generation facilities would even begin to touch the operating costs of underground transmission lines and solar panels that only generate at 30% capacity, with no ability to store energy for peak usage time after sundown.


piratecheese13 t1_jd9dn34 wrote

My dumbass thinking Wyman in Yarmouth was coal. It’s #6oil. Still cheaper at 3 cents to 5 for oil per KWH

Also, solar panels work at night now and storage of that energy is an issue but really, every single grid should have more battery power than it does


BeatNick5384 t1_jd9fccm wrote

Radiative cooling is a great developing technology, but ultimately puts out a tiny percentage of what the panels put out. Your link leaves out that it's about 3% of the generation of panels during the daytime, leading to an incredibly inefficient system to handle even the smallest portion of the peak load around dusk. Batteries are a great idea for homes with current technology, but on a generation and delivery scale ultimately useless with what we have today. I'm not saying emerging or green technology is a bad thing by any means, but before an investment like that is made by a state, there needs to be the technology to generate a fiscal return or the bills will get loads higher than when they started. Small applications of this around Portland, OOB, Lewiston, Scarborough, Bangor, even Sanford would be great, but 300 miles of underground transmission and possible generation is beyond foolish with the current infrastructure and technology we have. Money much better invested in a state wide rail system in my own opinion.


theshoegazer t1_jd97z7q wrote

Where's the trooper going to sit for his speed trap?


piratecheese13 t1_jd98vg0 wrote

I have to believe that those lanes will not only remain open, but become mini power stations.


hamiltron7 t1_jdau8r1 wrote

Cmp has a new CEO and from what I can see, he sends out "we'll get to ya when we can get ya" emails while continuing to up our rate


snowswolfxiii t1_jdckem1 wrote

I agree that private companies aren't doing too great, but is surrendering power infrastructure and authority to the government really a huge upgrade?

Doesn't that also open up the door to volatility around elections or political turmoil? I agree by surrendering it to Maine gov instead of Fed gov that it's a little less sketch, but at the same time, is Maine really that much more stable than the rest of the country?


TheRogIsHere t1_jd96abl wrote

Beyond teh fact that this would cost $774 bazillion (give or take a gazillion), you can't just put 300 miles of solar panels on the ground. They need to be at an angle to be efficient, especially in a high latitude state like Maine.

Are we going to pay people to just shovel all the snow off after every blizzard? What about when the plows blast and bury the panels- or destroy them with all the gravel?

But please- tell me more about what an awesome idea this is!


piratecheese13 t1_jd97dxq wrote

Solar panels with motors on them to be pointing whatever direction they need whatever time of day they need and whatever season they need to get optimal sun

Oh and if you pump energy back into a solar cell, it generates heat. Diodes be cool like that.


TheRogIsHere t1_jd9bzba wrote

Solar panels are fine with a few inches of snow, not feet of it or worse if plows pile it up. And diodes can't melt a half inch of gravel that's there all winter and spring.

But the alternative is that we will need a few hundred miles of sun-tracking motorized panel units that sit on top of concrete foundations, in the median of highways that motorists can crash into, and plows can repeatedly blast and destroy with snow, salt, gravel, and whatever else is on the road.

So it will be $983 bazillion? We should just launch a satellite into space with a few hundred panels on it, and have a really long extension cord that comes back down to Earth.


WalkerBRiley t1_jd9if5i wrote

We had all of three storms that dumped enough snow to cause concern this year, and two of those melted off the next day.

I think the 'snow' excuse has had it's day in Maine. We're slowly warming up, and it's thanks to whiny excuses like these that do nothing to help the situation and everything to stall doing something actually helpful.


sllooze t1_jd9lswz wrote

Are you willing to pay billions?


IllustriousAmbition9 t1_jdaxhtz wrote

If we let Mainers own their own power company, then our energy bills could be sky high! /s


mainething OP t1_jdb30em wrote

That "vote of confidence" doesn't have a Maine accent!


6byfour t1_jd9f0h6 wrote

Just so we’re clear, this all has fuckall to do with who owns your distribution utility.


nonexemplum t1_jdabgez wrote

Build a giant flag? Take a shit. This would be a far greater use of resources.


screen-lt t1_jd8p038 wrote

Yeah this wont be popular north of bangor, it makes going off the left lane way more dangerous that it needs to be


PenguinontheTelly t1_jd8qrqc wrote

What in the world are you talking about, that’s a ridiculous proposal


DamienSalvation t1_jd8npkc wrote

Putting solar panels all across the highway in the middle of nowhere doesn't seem like a great idea. And who would pay for it? The private sector is building solar farms all over the place and they have thought through what it will take to build and maintain them.


Numerous_Vegetable_3 t1_jd8rp2z wrote

>all across the highway in the middle of nowhere

Well.... you can move the electricity to other places... with those wire-things we have.

It being the middle of nowhere is more of a reason to have them there. Why would we take up space in populated areas for solar when we can easily and instantaneously move power anywhere we put a wire.. ?


DamienSalvation t1_jd8srfv wrote

Maintenance would be pretty difficult. Solar panels are not something you just plop down and leave.


Numerous_Vegetable_3 t1_jd8xx0y wrote

Maintenance is needed once a year for inspection and cleaning, and in most cases they're inspected and passed and no other action is needed. Also, there are applications that will tell you exactly what panel is down, so you can go straight there, fix it, and be done. People wouldn't need to be walking around checking them, they would get an alert about a panel and go investigate.

You should really research these things instead of coming up with reasons just because you don't like it. It's really disheartening that most people can't be bothered to learn new things.

Do you really thing maintaining a gigantic hydro or coal power plant would be cheaper than going and checking panels that tell you exactly where to check?


mainething OP t1_jd96pwf wrote

nope !


Numerous_Vegetable_3 t1_jd97fg5 wrote

- Maintenance would be difficult

- Hey here's this info proving it wouldn't be

- Well you'd have to show me a study

I just don't understand the willful ignorance of some people


DamienSalvation t1_jd8ygs9 wrote

If the private sector wants to pay for it I don't give a shit but yeah maintaining 300 miles of solar panels in the middle of a highway in the middle of nowhere Maine is just fairy tale thinking. Show me a study on how this would work before floating the idea lol


Numerous_Vegetable_3 t1_jd94gvs wrote

You couldn't be bothered to look up basic info about solar yet you're asking me to present you with a study. Don't pretend like you actually want to research these things when you clearly can't be bothered to do a google search about solar panel maintenance.

And again, it's along an existing roadway where they would already know exactly what needed maintenance. You're acting like these panels would be inaccessible and require insane manpower to get to.

I'll ask you again, do you really thing maintaining a gigantic hydro or coal power plant would be cheaper?

I don't think this is about information for you, I think it's a "gReEn EnUrGy bAd" mindset that you have, which is fine. From your reply, your opinion is "well if I don't have to pay for it I don't give a shit".

Recently, the Maine Public Utilities Commission announced that the Standard Offer price for electricity supply will be going up by 49% or almost $32 a month for our average residential customer in 2023.

So you're cool with the power companies charging you 50% more at the drop of a hat, but you don't want to invest in something that would reduce dependence on those companies and give you cheaper rates? Got it.


DamienSalvation t1_jd9bczw wrote

The federal government should invest in green energy but our state shouldn't administer a program based on a half-baked Reddit post. Maybe hire an expert or put out an RFP to see what types of ideas people who work in the industry have.


piratecheese13 t1_jd988pm wrote

I wouldn’t exactly say it’s the middle of nowhere. Yeah it’s a lot less dense but there’s literally a highway there, it’s not like we’re sticking this in the middle of the woods through a dirt road on top of a mountain.

If it really was the middle of nowhere, they wouldn’t of built the highway


DamienSalvation t1_jd9bmh8 wrote

North of Bangor is one of the most sparsely populated places East of the Mississippi.


piratecheese13 t1_jd9etsb wrote

Yet, they still build a highway there, that highway is maintained and it’s still easily accessible

Seriously, I work for a construction company and we often drive all the way from Portland to Sunday river for projects. We need to go to that neighborhood at least 20 times a year. Bangor to Holton is 118 miles. If you hire one maintenance worker in Holden, and one maintenance worker in Bangor, you don’t even need to put a guy in Millinocket.

Not an issue


DamienSalvation t1_jd9g755 wrote

You think it's efficient use of state resources to doing that instead of a farm setup like the private sector does? Come on... this idea isn't even fully formed.


BackItUpWithLinks t1_jd887m5 wrote

Maine would do better to lease that and get guaranteed recurring revenue rather than front the money for it.


Erin-DidYouFindMe t1_jd8oqxe wrote

"Maine should take on the long term detriments because we're too cheap to put any up-front costs into infrastructure."


cjpowers70 t1_jd8ie33 wrote

Reliance on solar power in Maine? This is a real Reddit moment.


PlentyCommission166 t1_jd8njvy wrote

  1. reliance: no. Supplemental power? Definitely.

  2. in Maine: You know solar panels still work under snow, right?


Numerous_Vegetable_3 t1_jd8sn9z wrote

Yeah idk why everyone hears solar and instantly jumps to "but RELY on it?? HOW?"

Isn't it possible that... we just collect some cheap, easy power that isn't being used, and lighten the load on other power-generating methods?

People are so tribal when it comes to power generation for no good reason.


Betty2theWhite t1_jdbjpmk wrote

The problem is solar panels aren't lightening the load. Solar panels work when we have the least amount of load. We'd still need all the other means of energy production for dusk to dawn. And those other means of power can't be shut down by a flip of a switch, and they can only be idled down so far if at all.

Solar is good, but it won't be great until we have energy storage.

So really, how?


Numerous_Vegetable_3 t1_jddo5er wrote

>it won't be great until we have energy storage

How are we storing the extra energy from coal plants and hydro...? You're acting like energy storage is a problem that popped up when solar was invented. We've been storing power for a long time.

I'll agree that we don't do it efficiently, but we still can.

Several different methods are all combined to keep the power on currently. Do all of the coal plants get shut down when the hydro power is being used..? Why in the world would we need to shut down the other methods with a flip of a switch while using solar...?

Acting like we have zero solutions for power storage and no ability to use different methods simultaneously is ridiculous. Again, you're just coming up with (invalid) reasons because you don't like solar. Every point you made makes no sense.

"It wouldn't lighten the load because we'd have to shut off the other power plants" ... what? No we wouldn't. You can feed more electricity into the grid from other places... you know that right?


Betty2theWhite t1_jddym9d wrote

>How are we storing the extra energy from coal plants and hydro...? You're acting like energy storage is a problem that popped up when solar was invented. We've been storing power for a long time.

And we have been very bad at it for a long time, to the point where we supplement power storage by also increasing the load to minimize the amount needing to be stored, the problem is the load is already at it's lowest during the output of solar. And if I say that alot, it's because that's the fucking problem.


>Several different methods are all combined to keep the power on currently. Do all of the coal plants get shut down when the hydro power is being used..? Acting like we have zero solutions for power storage and no ability to use different methods simultaneously is ridiculous.


No, the method of using multiple different power production means is specifically for this purpose. You have some means that can go on and off easily, you have other means that can vary their output, and you have others that cant really be shut off or vary their output but are the most efficient. By stacking all of these on top of each other, we efficiently stabilize the power grid output and load. And when do we shut off or idle down these plants? DURING THE TIME SOLAR IS PRODUCING. (Remember this, its important)

Also we don't use coal in Maine, but natural gas plants do specifically calculate whether or not it's profitabe to run, on a day to day basis, and if it's not they sell of off their leased supply of natural gas. Now if they deem it not profitable to run these plants at all for a long period of time, because solar causes energy cost to go in the negative, because we've had to increase the load to the system to stabilize it, the plants will eventually realize that it's more profitable to sell off their equipment and real estate, and we will have no means of combating load surges. (This is called capitalism, it's not great, but it is what we have to consider during these decisions)


> Again, you're just coming up with (invalid) reasons because you don't like solar. Every point you made makes no sense.

I love solar, for a plethora of options, some of which I do utilize myself, just not for this particular problem, at this particular point in time. Also I didn't "come up" with these points, I learned them, by reading articles on how to combat climate change because I am passionate about our environmental impact, and through my education and work as an engineer, and by talking with policy makers, consultants, and workers in this exact feild.

NOW listen good and clear on this one. You have a strong reaction to all of this, because you've got rose colored glasses on, and all the red flags just look like flags. But there are a lot of problems with our ability to really utilize solar on this big of a scale at this point. The day will come though, and I'm excited for that, but if we under took a project of this scale right now, we'd cripple our financial ability to do it right when the time came.

Right now isn't the time to lobby the government into funding throwing solar everywhere, for everything. Right now is the time to lobby the government into funding the research we still need to make this dream a reality. The break through we really need is so close, and we can wait for it, or we can reel it in by utilizing government funding and policy making. That's the important place to put the effort right now.


OurWhoresAreClean t1_jd8r16w wrote

>in Maine: You know solar panels still work under snow, right?

I did not know this, and I'm still not sure I do. Are you saying that they work even with a foot of snow on top of them blocking out the sunlight? Or just that snow tends to melt and slide off of them so it doesn't end up being a big deal?


PlentyCommission166 t1_jd8wtpc wrote

Everything counts in large amounts. If there's a little snow or it's not completely covered, you still get some power. If they're completely covered by several feet, they don't generate power.

But there's a couple ways they can still work: 1) angled arrays that snow slides off and 2) this neat new idea called a bifacial array. Bottom side collects light scattered off the ground snow and generate power. Top melts faster too because the electricity warms the panel.


OurWhoresAreClean t1_jd8xxik wrote

>If there's a little snow or it's not completely covered, you still get some power. If they're completely covered by several feet, they don't generate power.

Ok, that's what I figured you meant. Thanks for clarifying.


thesilversverker t1_jd9c5p8 wrote

It's basically 1/4", stop effective generation in my experience. An inch and it's all ogre.

15° angle and snow stayed on ours for weeks.


BackItUpWithLinks t1_jd8sooi wrote

> solar panels still work under snow

Not really. Power is generated in the area where the snow slid, not through thick snow.

> Light is able to forward scatter through a sparse coating, reaching the panel to produce electricity. It's a different story when heavy snow accumulates, which prevents PV panels from generating power. Once the snow starts to slide, though, even if it only slightly exposes the panel, power generation is able to occur again.


Erin-DidYouFindMe t1_jd8oapg wrote

Solar is still highly effective in Maine, but you're right pointing out the issue that we'll need a specialized trucks (or attachment to plow trucks) to clear snow off various lengths of the solar panel chain after snowstorms. Which is another benefit of adding them to highways where it is much easier to do that.


Numerous_Vegetable_3 t1_jd8s3bh wrote

They actually still generate power with snow on them, clearing them off wouldn't really be needed.

If they're set up with a steep enough angle, it would be hard for snow to accumulate on them anyways.


tobascodagama t1_jd8vd3j wrote

You'd want them angled to pick up the sun in winter anyway.

Besides, even if you assume zero output from the panels from December to March, you're still getting a benefit the other eight months of the year...


MapoTofuWithRice t1_jd8xnvn wrote

Solar power is Germanys fastest growing power sector.

Maine gets 33% more sun than Germany does on any given year.