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Clean Power

Published on July 25th, 2009 | by Andrew Williams

5

Austrian Nuclear Power Station Converts to 100% Solar Energy

July 25th, 2009 by  


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Earlier today the Zwentendorf nuclear plant in Austria reopened as a solar power station, making it the largest facility of its kind anywhere in the country.

Following its completion over 30 years ago, the plant’s operation was fiercely contested – culminating in a 1978 national referendum forcing it to close. Since then it has lain dormant as a visible testament to Austrian concerns over nuclear energy.

Now, following a €1.2 million investment the plant has reemerged as a major renewable energy production facility.

At an opening ceremony last night, the Austrian authorities invited Greenpeace campaigners to hang a banner from the facility stating simply: “Energy Revolution – Climate Solution.”

In a press release the global NGO also asked – If a nuclear power station can go solar, then why can’t our entire energy system be diverted to clean and safe renewable energy sources, backed by energy efficiency and conservation?

Image Credit – Christopher Peterson on flickr






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About the Author

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.



  • Bill Woods

    According to

    http://www.solarserver.de/news/news-10923.html

    this solar power station has an average power of 21 kW. Woo-hoo!

    And at €1.2M, that’s €57,000/kW, or about €0.80/kW·h.

  • Bill Woods

    According to

    http://www.solarserver.de/news/news-10923.html

    this solar power station has an average power of 21 kW. Woo-hoo!

    And at €1.2M, that’s €57,000/kW, or about €0.80/kW·h.

  • Mr. Sunshine

    Any details on how much power the retro-fitted plant now produces compared to how much was taken off-line?

    Also, when they say “solar”, was the refit with solar panels or a solar reflective concentrator facility (mirrors) to boil water to drive steam turbines?

    The way the article is written, one could easily assume that for E1.2MM, the entire production capacity of the nuclear plant was replaced with solar. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

    Since the article is short on specific information, I’m making a few assumptions.

    Given the current efficiencies of solar panels and the amount of money that was invested, I doubt it comes anywhere close to what had been produced.

    IF only 1.2 MM Euros were spent on the refit, and assuming ALL of that was for solar panels, then doing some very rough calculations, it appears that the new facility has around a 450-500 KW generating capacity?

    What about the planning capacity of the plant? A nuclear plant can run for many years 24/7 generating power. A solar facility can only generate for 5-6 hrs/day on sunny days. So the effective output of this plant is like bringing a squirt-gun to a raging forest fire.

    I’m into solar, retrofitting existing homes. I think solar is a great local, point-of-use power-offsetting technology. However, for large-scale production that can be counted on for capacity planning and production capability regardless of weather and daylight conditions, we need much more efficient technologies that don’t consume massive amounts of land area.

    Bottom line, this is a good PR project.

  • Mr. Sunshine

    Any details on how much power the retro-fitted plant now produces compared to how much was taken off-line?

    Also, when they say “solar”, was the refit with solar panels or a solar reflective concentrator facility (mirrors) to boil water to drive steam turbines?

    The way the article is written, one could easily assume that for E1.2MM, the entire production capacity of the nuclear plant was replaced with solar. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

    Since the article is short on specific information, I’m making a few assumptions.

    Given the current efficiencies of solar panels and the amount of money that was invested, I doubt it comes anywhere close to what had been produced.

    IF only 1.2 MM Euros were spent on the refit, and assuming ALL of that was for solar panels, then doing some very rough calculations, it appears that the new facility has around a 450-500 KW generating capacity?

    What about the planning capacity of the plant? A nuclear plant can run for many years 24/7 generating power. A solar facility can only generate for 5-6 hrs/day on sunny days. So the effective output of this plant is like bringing a squirt-gun to a raging forest fire.

    I’m into solar, retrofitting existing homes. I think solar is a great local, point-of-use power-offsetting technology. However, for large-scale production that can be counted on for capacity planning and production capability regardless of weather and daylight conditions, we need much more efficient technologies that don’t consume massive amounts of land area.

    Bottom line, this is a good PR project.

    • Jenny Sommer

      Sorry for the late answer to your question.
      The PV pannels have already surpassed the total production of Zwentendorf even before they where installed.
      Nothing had been produced.

      It is not a utility scale project but 190kw of research panels installed and monitored by the technical university Vienna (TU Wien).

      Austrians are smart. They never let Zwentendorf go critical. No waste, no problem.
      They import most of their power, mostly cheap or free wind and store it in pumped hydro. Their biggest Utility Verbund is among the cleanest in Europe.

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