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Comparing Footprints



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I’ve posted before about the massive amounts of land required to produce electricity from solar panels and wind turbines, so I was delighted to see this informed set of graphics from Clean Energy Insight on the comparative land-use requirements of nuclear, solar, and wind energy (superimposed below on a map of Rhode Island). Enjoy the pictures. Here are the numbers:

Nuclear
I used the commonly accepted <1 sq mi for Nuclear power plants and doubled it to be conservative.  The average capacity factor for Nuclear power plants is 0.90.  Two sq miles envelopes 1.5 sq mi / 0.90 capacity factor = 1.67 sq mi for 3,200 MW.  I also checked against the current EPR footprints in Europe with Google Earth.  You can easily check this for yourself.

Solar
11,000 acres / 0.19 = 57,895 acres for 1,000 MW
57,895 acres = 91 sq mi for 1,000 MW
3,200 MW/1,000 MW = 3.2
3.2 x 91 sq mi = 292 sq mi
3.2 x 57,895 acres = 185,264 acres
160 ft x 360 ft = 57,600 sq ft for an American football field (including end zones)
1 sq mi = 27,878,400 sq ft
(292 sq mi x 27,878,400 sq ft) / 57,600 sq ft = 141,328 football fields

Wind
50,000 acres / 0.30 = 166,667 acres for 1,000 MW
166,667 acres = 260 sq mi for 1,000 MW
3,200 MW/1,000 MW = 3.2
3.2 x 260 sq mi = 832 sq mi
3.2 x 166,667 acres = 533,334 acres
160 ft x 360 ft = 57,600 sq ft for an American football field (including end zones)
1 sq mi = 27,878,400 sq ft
(832 sq mi x 27,878,400 sq ft) / 57,600 sq ft = 402,688 football fields

 



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