34 minutes ago, BitFlipper wrote
It seems all forms of mass power generation follow the following pattern:
Heat source > Steam > Turbines > Electricity > Transmission
We'll ignore photovoltaic cells since they are cost prohibitive at that scale. So it seems then for the most part we can ignore everything else and focus just on the heat source since that is the only variable part.
Now I often wonder about the following: For all heat sources except solar, we cause heat to be released in large quantities, whether by burning coal, nuclear, even the mythical nuclear fusion. But in the case of solar (both photovoltaic and thermal), we are simply capturing energy and then releasing it at a later time somewhere else (because almost all of the electrical power is eventually released back into the environment as heat). IOW, other than for solar, we are adding additional heat into the environment.
So how much does this play part in the overall picture? Is it significant enough that it is yet another advantage that solar has over other energy sources?