经济学人:太阳能发电厂 蓝色的钢铁海洋
日期:2015-10-10 16:51



Solar farms
Blue steel
British fields adopt a new crop
Let's take it to Spain
TWO nuclear bombs are among many curious machines which the Science Museum stores at an old airfield in Wiltshire. An early hovercraft stands with a fleet of submersibles and a truck that once roamed the Antarctic. Now a new acquisition is on the way. Around the runway workers are preparing to lay out 155,000 solar panels—at about 170 acres, one of the biggest solar farms in Britain.
Though Britain's hillsides are peppered with wind turbines, solar panels produce less than half of one percent of its power. Racing to hit a European target that requires it to generate 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, the government wants a lot more. Gregory Barker, an energy minister, says the solar industry could expand sixfold within a decade. Laid on the ground, that many panels would fill an area of about 150 square miles.
尽管不列颠的山坡上布满了用来风力发电的风轮机,并且其发电量差不多是太阳能板发电量的两百多倍。然而面对亟待实现的目标,英国政府还有很长的路要走。欧盟已设定了目标:截至2020年,欧盟成员国30%的电力供给要来自可再生能源。能源部长格雷戈里·巴克尔(Gregory Barker)说,在未来的十年内太阳能行业将扩展六倍。若将如此多数量的太阳能板平铺开来,它们将覆盖150平方英里的区域。

Fields full of solar panels are less obtrusive than hillside turbines, and simpler to install. Whereas opposition to wind power is mounting, about 85% of Britons back new solar projects. Big arrays may even encourage some kinds of wildlife, for example by sheltering ground-nesting birds.
布满太阳能板的区域看上去并不会如山坡上的风轮机那样突兀,并且太阳能板安装起来也比风轮机更简单。相比于风力发电受到越来越多的反对,新的太阳能项目却获得了大约85%的英国人的支持。大范围地铺设太阳能板甚至有利于某些野生动物的生存。 例如一些筑巢的鸟类将其作为遮蔽隐藏之所。
It is also getting cheaper. The cost of installing solar panels has fallen by half since 2010 due to heavy deployment in Germany and elsewhere. Weak British sunlight makes energy from solar farms about 25% more expensive than from onshore wind turbines—and more than twice the wholesale price of power—but the government expects a 20% reduction by 2020.
Solar companies say ministers must do more. Planners, fearing eyesores, are growing less co-operative (complaints from rural campaigners are holding up the Science Museum's array). Grid connections are getting more expensive as developers choose sites ever farther from big towns. The biggest fear is of government backsliding. In January ministers said they will soon require solar farms to bid against onshore wind projects for some subsidies.
Yet caution is wise, for two reasons. First, hefty investment in sunnier countries means the price of panels will keep falling without much help from British taxpayers; government cash might go much further in a year or two. Asian competition means Britain's firms are unlikely to become successful solar manufacturers, no matter how much money is thrown at them.
Second, the price of solar panels reflects only part of the technology's costs. Panels produce very little power during winter; in summer they can generate too much. The National Grid, which manages Britain's power-transmission network, says that a big solar programme would mean finding extra cash to mitigate these swings in supply. A preponderance of panels is already making it difficult to build more farms in the sunny south-west.
另一方面,太阳能板的价格仅仅反映了一部分该项技术的成本。太阳能电池板在冬天的发电量很低,而夏天又能产生大量电能。经营英国输电网络的英国国家电力供应公司(The National Grid)称, 实施大型太阳能供电项目将意味着同时需要寻求额外的资金投入来中和这种电力供应上的波动。在阳光灿烂的西南地区,漫山遍野的太阳能电池板几乎已经布满了整个区域。人们很难再找到余地去建造更多的太阳能发电厂。
If Britain is serious about hitting its legally-binding target for renewable generation, more solar seems inevitable. But the roofs of offices, factories and warehouses are the best places for it. Putting panels there lowers energy bills for businesses while placing less strain on local grids. That seems a brighter idea.
如果英国真的打算实现具有法律约束力的可再生能源电力供应目标,寻求更多的太阳能发电似乎不可避免。然而,或许办公室、工厂以及仓库的房顶才是太阳能电池板最好的安家之处。这样做能够在降低商业用电费用的同时减轻地方电网的负担。这似乎是个更明智的主意。译者:邵灵玲 校对:卫婷婷



1.require to 需要

例句:Drain piping may require to be protected against freezing.

2.due to 由于;因为;应归于

例句:Council members are due to have informal discussions later on today.

3.hold up 举起;耽搁;阻挡

例句:Democrats say arguments against the bill won't hold up.

4.no matter 无论;不管

例句:No matter where you go in life or how old you get, there's always something new to learn about. After all, life is full of surprises.

  • supplyn. 补给,供给,供应,贮备 vt. 补给,供给,提供,
  • expandv. 增加,详述,扩展,使 ... 膨胀, vi. (谈
  • decaden. 十年
  • mitigatevt. 镇静,缓和,减轻
  • preponderancen. 优势,多数
  • acquisitionn. 获得,所获之物
  • adoptv. 采用,收养,接受
  • informaladj. 非正式的,不拘形式的
  • curiousadj. 好奇的,奇特的
  • arrayn. 数组,(陈)排列,大批,一系列 vt. 排列,布署