New Greek Comedy: 'The Sun'

The ancient Greek playright Aristophanes is returning after an almost 2,400-year absence with a new comedy called “The Sun.”

The backdrop for “The Sun” is news that,

Sun-baked and debt-choked Greece presented on Monday a plan to become Europe’s solar energy powerhouse, attracting up to 20 billion euros of investment in the decades to come to lift its economy out of the doldrums.

The cash-strapped country regards clean energy as one of the few advantages of its uncompetitive economy, which is going through its longest and deepest recession in decades as a result of a debt crisis.

The ambitious plan, called “Project Helios”, involves multiplying Greek solar power production from 206 megawatts(MW) in 2010 to 2.2 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 and up to 10 GW by 2050, according to an Energy Ministry presentation.

“Greece enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, almost 50 percent more sun radiation than Germany, the global leader in solar photovoltaics,” said the presentation held by Energy Minister George Papaconstantinou at an energy conference in Hamburg, Germany.

Classics fans will remember Aristophanes’ play “The Clouds” (circa 420 B.C.), in which the debtor Strepsiades enrolls his son in The Thinkery so that he can learn the rhetorical skills needed to defeat their creditors in court. Instead, the son learns cynical disrespect for social mores and contempt for authority. He subsequently beats up Strepsiades who then burns down The Thinkery.

In “The Sun”, the debtor Barackades enrolls his son in The Clean Energy Connery, where the son learns disrespect for science and economics. The son subsequently launches an improbable solar power project that bankrupts Barackades who then, in a plot twist, burns down all of Athens except for The Clean Energy Connery, which remains as a monument to hubris.

11 thoughts on “New Greek Comedy: 'The Sun'”

  1. Just because you don’t believe in solar energy doesn’t mean that there’s no money to be made in the solar industry. Remember the “tulip craze” in the end of the 16th century.
    But then again, that didn’t end very well.

  2. More like a tragic comedy.

    So, instead of sheep or crops or olive trees, the land will be used for solar farms?

  3. Is there really that much ROI from solar power production?

    From the pro-solar WEB sites I have read, the highest ROI in the US comes in states with the highest gov’t rebates. Also, the panels have a 25 year life span and take 9-10 years to pay for themselves.

    The Greeks aren’t going to get rebate checks from the Great State of California. They’ve already been hurting for over a decade. Now they are going to invest billions they don’t have for a project that will start paying off in yet another decade. And then, after that, their investment will have a life of only another 15 years?

    I hope things go much better in Greece for solar energy than it has here in the US.

  4. The plot line I see is an old one: a compulsive gambler gets into debt to the money-lenders; he talks himself into one last winner-take-all bet for his very soul; the game is then changed to one he knows nothing about, and thus he has no chance of winning. In the original version of the story, Mephistopheles wins the soul of Faust.

  5. Nuclear bombshell: $26 Billion cost — $10,800 per kilowatt! — killed Ontario nuclear bid. (July ’09)…..
    http://www.grist.org/nuclear/2011-04-06-does-nuclear-power-have-a-negative-learning-curve

    is 20 billion euro for an increase of around 2Gw significanly more than 10k per kilowat listed at the above link??

    is the linked info incorrect??

    would a 10 thousand dollar kilowtt operate 2000 5w cfls???

    is 20 billion euro execssive compred to 10k per kilowatt from a nuke???

  6. The question is not whether covering Greece with PV panels is a good idea or whether it will produce a meaningful amount of energy. It isn’t and it won’t.

    The question is: “Can the wily Greeks con the Germans, who are bat$#;+ insane on the subject of energy production, out of their hard earned Euros?”. The Germans have proven they are nuts about energy by 1. cancelling their nuclear plants, and 2. putting up millions of PV panels in a place that is dark when they most need the output. (Germany does not need nor use air conditioning).

    I think that this scheme has a real chance of working — for the Greek con men, that is.

  7. I think the Greeks should build a bunch of giant hamster wheels, which will be hooked up to generators. Then they all take turns running inside the wheels, and generating electricity. The great thing is, they can keep doing that all day and all night, thus ensuring constant electricity.

  8. Solar panels degrade over time loosing about half efficiency at 10 years. They are not efficient and the electronics that convert to usable power are also not efficient
    Since electricity cannot be stored except with batteries and they are a disposal nightmare, Generating plants will still be needed.

  9. The question is not whether covering Greece with PV panels is a good idea or whether it will produce a meaningful amount of energy………..

    was that a question???

  10. “Solar panels degrade over time loosing about half efficiency at 10 years. They are not efficient and the electronics that convert to usable power are also not efficient
    Since electricity cannot be stored except with batteries and they are a disposal nightmare, Generating plants will still be needed.”

    maybe they do…i dont know. there may be ways to extend solar panel life the same way nuke planst lfe can be extended…mostly are 25 years or so??

    i dont know what you mean by not that efficient…less so than steam turbines from coal or nukes??? does the less efficient solar make up for that with less mining and refining and transport of fuels???

    nuke regulatory agencies and disposal, etc???

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