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posted by on Tuesday February 07 2017, @02:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the perfect-for-sunny-days dept.

http://www.curbed.com/2017/2/6/14521102/highway-the-ray-solar-power-transportation From the article:

Highways have never been the sexiest infrastructure projects, but Allie Kelly, the executive director of The Ray, believes that preconception will shift dramatically over the next few years due to rapid technological shifts. With politicians in Washington discussing the administration's ambitious infrastructure plans, now is the time to make investments in our transportation system. As far as Kelly is concerned, that vision should focus on achieving zero deaths, zero carbon, and zero waste. She hopes The Ray can serve as the laboratory where new ideas and revenue models are tried, tested, and proven possible.

"We're at a tipping point in transportation," says Kelly. "In five to ten years, we won't remember a time when we invested a dime in infrastructure spending for a road that only did one thing."

[...] Initially, the vision for The Ray was to add a solar installation in the median, along with a wildflower garden, to remind drivers about the environmental costs of the transportation system. But the results of the study suggested a more dramatic plan was needed. Since then, The Ray, in concert with the Georgia Department of Transportation, has slowly rolled out a number of new initiatives to improve both safety and sustainability. In 2015, a new electric charging station powered in part by photovoltaic panels, a joint project with funding from Kia Motors, became the first in the state.

This past year, the Ray added a strip of Wattway solar panels to an entrance ramp, and installed a WheelWright tire pressure sensor at a rest stop right next to the Alabama state line. The new British device helps drivers quickly test and maintain proper tire pressure, a leading cause of crashes.

Over the next year, the foundation plans to add more new tests that will help build out a more holistic roadway. A one megawatt solar installation will be installed in a right-of-way as part of a joint effort with Georgia Power to turn the highway into a place for power generation, and a series of bioswales—landscaped drainage ditches that naturally filter pollution—will turn the areas adjacent to the highway into more clean, sustainable, and natural landscapes.

"We're pushing the idea that these kind of installations can become widespread energy generation system for state departments of transportation," says Kelly. "Highways can eventually make money, and even serve as a power grid for the future."

Previous stories on solar roads and pathways:
Solar Generating Roads
SolaRoad Cycle Path Electricity Yield Exceeds Expectations


Original Submission

Related Stories

Solar Generating Roads 29 comments

IFLScience has a blogvertisement for a company called Solar Roadways, which replaces the decades-old tarmac way of building roads which something far more useful. As well as incorporating a solar power collector, other features such as under-road heating to clear snow, LED lighting to light the way, trunking for stormwater and utilities, and the ability to find broken segments (potholes) instantly.

Obviously it will never work, but why not?

SolaRoad Cycle Path Electricity Yield Exceeds Expectations 35 comments

Phys.org reports on a pilot project in the Netherlands to generate power from solar panels in a bike path that has so far exceeded expectations:

The first six months of the pilot phase were successful, according to a SolaRoad press release issued earlier this month. The energy yield was beyond their expectations. Spokesperson Sten de Wit said they were surprised to see the level of success so quickly. Case in point: "The bike road opened half a year ago and already generated over 3,000 kWh," he said. "If we translate this to an annual yield, we expect more than the 70 kWh per square meter per year, which we predicted as an upper limit in the laboratory stage. We can therefore conclude that it was a successful first half year."

Thieves Swipe a Portion of China's Solar Road 13 comments

Solar roads have plenty of potential problems, such as damage and snow, but theft? Apparently that's a concern, too. China's Qilu Evening News reported that thieves carved out a small (5.9in by 73in) portion of an experimental road in Jinan on January 2nd, a mere five days after its December 28th debut. While it's tempting to suggest this was an accident, officials said the missing segment was "neatly cut," and didn't appear to have come loose on its own.

The segment has since been repaired. An investigation is ongoing, but there aren't any identified culprits as of this writing.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/07/thieves-take-portion-of-china-solar-road/

Previously: Solar Generating Roads
Solar Roadway not Quite so Practical
SolaRoad Cycle Path Electricity Yield Exceeds Expectations
World's First Solar Panel Road Opens in Normandy Village
Georgia Tests New Solar Road


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday February 07 2017, @02:41PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @02:41PM (#464064)

    The way to make money off a highway is to replace the weeds and mud or solar panels or WTF in the center with dual track electrified railway and conduit for fiber optic cable and WIFI nodes every 250 feet and cell towers.

    There's a lot of government regulation in the way to prevent some of that from becoming regulated public utilities, mostly due to campaign contributions from legacy almost-monopoly service providers.

    An alternative to ripping out the solar would be putting on a roof to keep snow off (never plow again, probably not a major issue in Georgia) and sell roof rights to cell phone companies and solar panel installers. Imagine the interstate highway system completely covered in roof so the southerners drive in cool shade and the northerners never drive in snow.

    Chicago rents out space to restaurants and gas stations on its tollways. Wouldn't kill them to rent out some solar panel space, some cell tower space... Maybe they already do, I haven't driven into downtown Chicago in a decade or two, always take the 100 MPH commuter train past the traffic jams.

    • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Tuesday February 07 2017, @06:59PM

      by vux984 (5045) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @06:59PM (#464212)

      Roofs? Do you realize how much of a mega-project that is? Do you have any idea how impractical that is?

      What would it be made of? How tall would it have to be? How many thousands of miles is it? How much weight in snow would it have to support? It would have to contend with earthquakes, flooding, wind storms, hurricanes. It would have to cope with accidents (like an 18 wheeler driving into a support column, or deliberate sabotage.

      Then you've got the logistical issues of inspecting and maintaining it, not to mention the costs associated with inspection and maintenance. Have you looked at a highway, railway, or power transmission lines. They are incredible megastructures as they are now when considered from end to end; and they are extremely minimalist in terms of resource and maintenance per mile.

      What you are proposing would likely have a price tag in the trillions of dollars just to connect seattle to portland... and then billions more a year in maintenance.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:36PM (#464267)

        It would pay for itself within months from the cellular roaming fees.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday February 07 2017, @11:29PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @11:29PM (#464364) Journal

        VLM is right about the solar panels. It's the easements that cost the most. Since the highways already have those, it makes sense to use them better. They have that sort of thing in places on the road between NYC and Boston (I-95, I think it is). They're a bit off the shoulder so wrecks don't typically reach them, but still on the highway land. They've been there for about a decade and seem to wear well in four season-weather, so I don't think your objections there present as much as you fear.

        I also support his idea of using that space for trains as well, because automotive traffic is unbearable in most places. You're right that is pricey, though.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Wednesday February 08 2017, @01:29AM

          by vux984 (5045) on Wednesday February 08 2017, @01:29AM (#464395)

          VLM is right about the solar panels.

          I was only aghast at the roofs.

          And yeah, using the median space for solar panels isn't necessarily a bad idea; but the solar panels might reduce the safety of the highways. The median acts as a buffer between the two traffic flows; where cars that leave the road end up in the median safely instead of in oncoming traffic. The medians are usually clear as part of this safety element. They are often bit of a ditch too to help with drainage from the road. I'm not sure filling a ditch with a bunch of power generation infrastructure is a good idea, especially if the odd car or truck drives into it on a somewhat regular basis.

          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday February 08 2017, @12:45PM

            by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 08 2017, @12:45PM (#464512) Journal

            As far as the roofs go, the panels they put on the ground are on struts anyway, so if you're going to make a roof you use slightly longer struts. At least in terms of cost and effort it's about the same deal. If a tornado, say, hit then you'd have a lot of debris to clear off the highway anyway, so having solar panels there wouldn't change that too much. And if we stop and think about it, tornados and hurricanes and earthquakes never stop us from building valuable things in that real estate where such things occur, so why would solar panels be any different?

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
            • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Thursday February 09 2017, @01:22AM

              by vux984 (5045) on Thursday February 09 2017, @01:22AM (#464837)

              At least in terms of cost and effort it's about the same deal.

              No. This:
              https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fthumbs.dreamstime.com%2Fz%2Fsolar-panel-farm-panels-outdoor-field-sunny-day-63803489.jpg&f=1 [duckduckgo.com]

              Is cheaper to do than something even bigger and taller than this:
              http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/2011/solar-panel-farm-1.jpg [burnham-on-sea.com]

              The former is also easier to secure against earthquakes, and stors, and by building it in a field instead of above an interstate highway you also don't have to build against it falling and landing on some car passing by.

              And if we stop and think about it, tornados and hurricanes and earthquakes never stop us from building valuable things in that real estate where such things occur, so why would solar panels be any different?

              Its not that we are prevented from building them, it that a bunch of panels in a field 10 miles from town in a fenced off solar farm do not have to be held to the same build standards as if they were built OVER the interstate highways.

              If a tornado, say, hit then you'd have a lot of debris to clear off the highway anyway, so having solar panels there wouldn't change that too much.

              Here I was thinking more in terms of maintenance and repairs. A if a solar farm gets damaged by a storm the whole farm is contained in 1 or 2 sq miles. You send a team out and they fix the damage; odds are you have spare parts in a storage building on the property or nearby warehouse. Odds are you may even have local regular technicians. Contrast this with a storm passing through the state, and now you've got 100 damaged solar panels scattered randomly around the states highway system, half of them 200 miles from anything... including eachother. The same team will take 1000 hours longer to repair the damage just down to transportation and supply logistics. Some infrastructure, like highways, by necessity has to be dispersed in a wide net... but most things tend to be much more economical maintain if they are localized onto dedicate sites.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:51PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:51PM (#464279)

      replace the weeds and mud or solar panels or WTF in the center with dual track electrified railway

      Won't work. This is the South; there aren't enough people interested in traveling anywhere within the South by train, in the densities required to fill up trains, to make this economically viable. In fact, we already have Amtrak in the South, and almost no one uses it. It's just too slow. Making a train from, say, DC down to Atlanta along some existing highways isn't going to have enough ridership to work; it just takes too long to travel that far on the ground without high-speed rail. And that costs so much money that it only works with high ridership, which you won't get.

      If you want to build something really useful, build a SkyTran system in the median.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday February 07 2017, @09:09PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @09:09PM (#464286)

        Possible although I was also thinking its a direct strike against existing railroad shippers. I mean what defines economic activity links quite like an interstate? And electric instead of diesel means no clouds of smoke for the drivers. And the price of diesel doesn't matter to electrics. They "should" be able to crush long distance trucking.

        Heck, if you want an intermodal station to transfer container loads from trucks to trains and back again its gotta be on the interstate, oh so convenient.

        Could carry some passengers in some locations, sure.

        I'm thinking the future of high speed rail is being replaced by high speed internet conferencing and other remote work technologies. I can already take a 100 MPH train to Chicago and do so every year or two. I'm not interested in paying to the make the train go 300 MPH. I'd rather have fast network so I can work on the train.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 07 2017, @09:31PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @09:31PM (#464301)

          I'm thinking the future of high speed rail is being replaced by high speed internet conferencing and other remote work technologies.

          Where are you getting this idea? I'm not seeing much of an uptake in remote work in the software industry, let alone other industries.

          I can already take a 100 MPH train to Chicago

          There's only a few trains in the US that go that fast; most are pretty darn slow. You're not going to get to Atlanta on a train that fast.

          The idea of electric freight trains running parallel to the interstate does make a lot of sense though.

          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:40PM

            by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:40PM (#464343)

            There's only a few trains in the US that go that fast; most are pretty darn slow.

            The Acela project caught a lot of flak because 100 MPH is normal BAU on plenty of commuter lines and Acela blew billions to go only 50 MPH faster.

            You're probably thinking of Acela which is very limited in range.

            Maybe a good analogy is when I was younger the highway speed limit was 65 pretty much nation wide except IIRC Montana where it was autoban or 80 or something. At least for a few years. Only a very small number of interstate miles traveled being at 80 doesn't mean everyone runs only 10 MPH on the interstates ro whatever.

      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday February 08 2017, @12:15AM

        by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday February 08 2017, @12:15AM (#464376) Homepage

        Making a train from, say, DC down to Atlanta along some existing highways isn't going to have enough ridership to work; it just takes too long to travel that far on the ground without high-speed rail.

        There currently is a train from DC down to Atlanta that approximately follows existing highways (or, more precisely, many of the Interstate highways were put in along existing train routes). It takes about 14 hours to go about 640 miles, for an average speed of 45 mph. I agree that's slower than it should be, but about 300,000 people a year seem to think it's good enough, and ridership has generally been going up, not down, for Amtrak. It's also slightly faster than the equivalent route via Greyhound bus, which suggests much of the delay has to do with it being public transit rather than something inherent about trains.

        Interesting, it looks like a lot of the time is spent near major metro areas for both trains and buses, so what could potentially speed up Amtrak considerably would be the development of Amtrak-exclusive corridors around major cities.

        --
        A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday February 07 2017, @02:41PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @02:41PM (#464065)

    Here we go again... Oh wait, this project actually makes sense. Put the solar panels in the median where they can be properly angled, install drainage on the ground.

    Now, about this tire (or tyre, aparently) pressure [wheelright.co.uk]Number plate recognition

    Typical... Though I suppose at this point one should just assume their plate is being collected and face being photgraphed each time they enter a limited access highway.

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by DannyB on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:51PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:51PM (#464102)

      In order to ensure everyone is being a good citizen, the government should not only track each vehicle, and who precisely are the occupants; vehicles can be observed for signs of impaired or aggressive driving. This can be used as justification for tracking everyone.

      Think how such invasive tracking would benefit high speed police chases. Such chases could be made much safer because the vehicle can be tracked continually. Further justification that big brother has your best interests at heart dear citizen.

      Now if only vehicles could be stopped remotely. Or in vehicle conversations be monitored -- for your protection, of course.

      Could this infrastructure be useful to increase safety of self driving cars?

      --
      ALL LIABILITY IS EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED FOR PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH THAT RESULTS FROM READING THE SOURCE CODE.
    • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:07PM

      by Arik (4543) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:07PM (#464246) Journal
      "Here we go again... Oh wait, this project actually makes sense. Put the solar panels in the median where they can be properly angled, install drainage on the ground."

      Well that part of it makes more sense but the whole thing sounds quite stupid to me.

      Some solar panels in a median allow the important people to make press conferences and look good for their electors, but it's unlikely to make any other kind of sense. If that spot between the median was supernaturally good for solar production I'm sure it would have been in use already. More than likely it's not as good as putting the same cells on a rooftop in the same area, and that in turn is still not actually worth doing for any economic reason.

      This is all about virtue signalling and appeasing powerful interests.
      --
      "This font is yours, not mine."
      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:58PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:58PM (#464284)

        If that spot between the median was supernaturally good for solar production I'm sure it would have been in use already

        This is completely wrong thinking.

        Remember, you're talking about government-owned and managed land here. Even private businesses make horribly stupid decisions and oversights all the time (just look at the Windows Metro UI), but government is far worse, and not motivated by profit, and usually staffed by below-average employees, so just because something might make sense either ecologically or economically doesn't mean the government is going to figure it out and take advantage of it.

        It actually makes perfect sense to use medians for solar production: it's wide-open land usually, and not used for anything else important, and also inaccessible to the general public. The area of land available in highway medians absolutely dwarfs any rooftop space: you're talking about hundreds of miles on just one highway within one state.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday February 07 2017, @02:59PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @02:59PM (#464073) Journal

    "The new British device helps drivers quickly test and maintain proper tire pressure, a leading cause of crashes."

    WTF does that even come from? There's drunk driving, driving high, distracted driving, driving to fast for conditions, reckless driving, racing, and so much more. Crashing because of poor tire pressure? Uhhh - yeah, kinda, sorta. Tires do blow out sometimes. Or, tires can get poor traction due to underinflation, especially on rain slick roads. But, leading cause of crashes?

    After a moronic statement like that, I'm not even inclined to RTFA.

    --
    Keep all chemicals out of the reach of meth heads.
    • (Score: 2) by Sulla on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:19PM

      by Sulla (5173) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:19PM (#464083) Journal

      Maybe they under report drunk driving like they do murder and rape. Tyre pressure seems a weird cause.

      --
      "I'd rather take a political risk for peace rather than risk peace in pursuit of politics" - President Donald J. Trump
      • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:51PM

        by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:51PM (#464104) Journal

        Or maybe the US has more of a drink driving culture. It would make sense, given that most people there have to drive to get to their nearest bar, while most Brits can just walk five or ten minutes to their local.

        Quick bit of googling suggests that drink driving is a factor[1] in twice as many US road deaths as the UK, proportional to population size. I could be wrong though, I'd appreciate anyone chipping in with better stats:
        UK - Around 15 per cent of all deaths in reported road traffic accidents [www.gov.uk]
        involved at least one driver over the limit.
        US - In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. [cdc.gov]

        FWIW the legal limit in both countries seems to be the same (0.08) but I wouldn't be surprised if it varied state by state over there.

        [1] And yes, these seem to be stats for "driver is drunk" not "driver was sober but there was a drunk passenger so we're counting it as a drunk-driving anyway in order to make the figures fit some agenda" which, apparently, is a thing over there.

        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:15PM

          by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:15PM (#464121) Homepage

          FWIW the legal limit in both countries seems to be the same (0.08) but I wouldn't be surprised if it varied state by state over there.

          It does indeed vary state-by-state: Many states are 0.08, but some go for 0.10.

          It is definitely true that distance is part of the reason for higher drunk-driving numbers in the US, but it's also because Americans are unusually unwilling to walk places. So even if the local pub is 10 minutes walk, well within stumbling distance, they'll still drive there under the mistaken impression that they're safer due to being in a car.

          --
          A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:54PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:54PM (#464170)

            Thats not necessarily true.

            The last place I lived I did not walk. Nothing was convenient, and even when someone tried to open a new store or bar the neighbors would complain and the permit would get denied. The public transport was a joke. I checked one time into taking the bus to work to save on driving. It would have turned my 30-45 minuets of driving every day into 4 to 5 hours taking multiple buses and transfers. In fact the route I would have to take went in the opposite way to where I wanted to go just to transfer at the one transfer station down town. I looked into riding a bike, but even though we had some decent bike trails the most dangerous part of the trip I would have had to ride down a highway that was known to be dangerous for bikers.

            I was transferred to a new city. I live 5 minutes walk from a grocery store, handful of restaurants, barber shop, liquor store, bar. If I am willing to walk another 10 minutes I have a super target, a lowes, two different health food stores, a toys r us, about 20 places to eat. To top it all off I can ride my bike to work on bike lanes in about 20 minutes, at no time having to merge with vehicle traffic. At this point I walk somewhere at least a couple times a week depending on weather. During the nicer months its more then that.

            We need to start ignoring the very vocal minority nimbyists. Dur I dont want the traffic, dur I dont want the noise, dur my kids will have to cross a busier street, dur we shouldnt have bars in neighborhoods and need standoffs of a quarter mile to make sure no one sells booze near my home. Then on top of it, dur we shouldn't have to pay taxes that support public transportation. Dur what do you mean it would only cost the average citizen a total of $8 dollars a year in taxes.

            It isnt all lazy aholes, its whiny aholes in at least equal proportion.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:10PM

              by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:10PM (#464327) Homepage

              A lot of the anti-public transit sentiment, at least near where I live, is about keeping those people away from the neighborhood. The thinking is, basically, that if you prevent a bus route from going somewhere, then you prevent a certain segment of the population from going somewhere, which contains the threat to places they're allowed to go.

              (I'm not saying I agree with any of this, but it's definitely part of the thinking.)

              --
              A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
        • (Score: 1) by slap on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:18PM

          by slap (5764) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:18PM (#464124)

          Americans drive about twice as many miles per year as Europeans. The US is spread out more than most of Europe, and the public transportation isn't as good as in Europe. And alcohol is relatively cheap in the US.

          • (Score: 2) by NewNic on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:18PM

            by NewNic (6420) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:18PM (#464252) Journal

            How about Americans are crap drivers?

            Even if you take the difference in miles driven per year into account, the accident rate in the USA is much higher [citylab.com], and, as you point out, the USA is spread out further, which should lead to lower average congestion of roads. Note this table. [citylab.com]

            It's much easier to get and keep a driver['s] license in the USA than in most large European countries, perhaps that has something to do with the differences?

            --
            lib·er·tar·i·an·ism ˌlibərˈterēənizəm/ noun: Magical thinking that useful idiots mistake for serious political theory
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:42PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:42PM (#464137) Journal

          We just had an election, which you know a lot about already. I voted, along with the majority, to allow the sale of alcohol in our county. Believe it or not, there are still "dry counties" in this country, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited, and possession of more than a single case is considered "bootlegging".

          Dry counties have been demonstrated to be a cause of drunk driving. Joe Sixpack and his buddies decide to drive to a wet county, it's a half hour or more drive over there. They buy their favorite poison, already chilled, and head home. That tantalizingly cold beer just sits beside, or behind, the driver, calling him to indulge. Eventually, he can't stand it, and pops a top.

          That first one goes down quickly, so he grabs another - and runs headon into Granny Hudson while he reaches.

          At last, our county is wet, and the local alcies need only drive five minutes into town for their beer. Very few can't resist for five minutes until they get home.

          Maybe next year, we can get a real bar. Still no on-premise licenses available, we've only authorized off-premise sales so far. But, at least we've come out of the stone age, into the bronze age!!

          --
          Keep all chemicals out of the reach of meth heads.
          • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:19PM

            by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:19PM (#464145) Journal

            I'm guessing the "dry county" legislation would also prohibit someone across the border from setting up a delivery service..?

            I can imagine some enterprising individual across the border setting up a website to offer home delivery of some completely legal, harmless and uncontrolled commodity (say, tinned tomatoes or ammunition or landmines or something) but with an option to discretely add to the order a couple six-packs of Tea, or perhaps a nice bottle of 5-year old, charcoal-filtered Coca Cola.

            • (Score: 2) by Sulla on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:45PM

              by Sulla (5173) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:45PM (#464164) Journal

              I am unfamiliar with where Runway lives but I know how this works in Alaska. In Alaska a lot of the bush is dry. This means no alcohol, at all. Taking alcohol across a municipal/tribal boundry from wet to dry is a major crime. Jail time, thousands in fines, etc. Such a service would work but would not be legal. A small plane with a shipment of liquor will sell in bush Alaska for 20k more than its cost to buy.

              And to my previous post, the US likes to inflate charges, European countries seem to like to deflate. Politics here drives to "see how many we caught, isnt that great?" while across the pond seems to be "see how many we didn't catch, look how great our society is!". Both have severe faults.

              --
              "I'd rather take a political risk for peace rather than risk peace in pursuit of politics" - President Donald J. Trump
              • (Score: 2) by NewNic on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:30PM

                by NewNic (6420) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:30PM (#464260) Journal

                I am unfamiliar with where Runway lives

                Probably North Texas, based on this comment:

                The macho people who prove how manly they are by consuming vast quantities of beer often came back from Oklahoma

                --
                lib·er·tar·i·an·ism ˌlibərˈterēənizəm/ noun: Magical thinking that useful idiots mistake for serious political theory
              • (Score: 1) by butthurt on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:43PM

                by butthurt (6141) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @08:43PM (#464270) Journal

                Thanks, I didn't know that was illegal in Alaska.

                • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Sulla on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:18PM

                  by Sulla (5173) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:18PM (#464331) Journal

                  Only banned in parts of the state. The major cities of course have legal alcohol, but it is prohibited in much of the bush. Alaskan Natives have a lower tolerance to alcohol because of its recent introduction to them, causing all sorts of issues. The boroughs in many cases decided to ban it to try and lessen the problems. Tribal governments have been known to exile family members who have been caught drinking rather than risk more people in the tribe getting into it.

                  Smugglers really do a lot of harm in Alaska. But on the other side of the coin people should be free to do what they want. Very sad situation.

                  --
                  "I'd rather take a political risk for peace rather than risk peace in pursuit of politics" - President Donald J. Trump
            • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:49PM

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:49PM (#464168) Journal

              Most certainly - that falls under "bootlegging". Crossing the county line with a truckload of alcoholic beverages would probably land you in state prison for a very long time. No matter how many tomatoes, how many pounds of butter, or tins of shoe polish might accompany the alcohol, the cops would only see the alcohol.

              To be honest, I'm not sure what the legal limit was, but it was certainly less than five cases of beer.

              The macho people who prove how manly they are by consuming vast quantities of beer often came back from Oklahoma with two 30-packs, so I guess that was about the legal limit. Those same macho men had to consume their thirty-packs before sundown, I think, or they would turn into Cinderfella, or something like that.

              --
              Keep all chemicals out of the reach of meth heads.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by EvilSS on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:36PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @03:36PM (#464093)
      Yea, it's a misquote of a NHTSA report:

      Critical reasons attributed to vehicles

      The information about critical reasons related to the vehicles is important in evaluating on-board systems that warn the driver about the condition of critical vehicle systems such as tires and brakes. Table 9(b) presents the related statistics, based on the crashes in which the critical reason was attributed to the vehicle. The term crash in this subsection will refer to a crash in which the critical reason was attributed to the vehicle. The most frequently occurring vehicle-related critical reason was tire failure or degradation/wheel failure, which was assigned in about 43 percent of the crashes, followed by brake failure/degradation that was assigned to 25 percent of the vehicles. Steering/suspension/transmission/engine failure as a critical reason was assigned in 10.5 percent of the crashes, while various other vehicle failures/deficiencies were assigned for about 21 percent of the crashes. Various types of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and other dashboard-warning systems are already in use. These systems provide information on the condition of critical vehicle elements such as brake-system hydraulics, tire pressure and condition, etc. The information about the vehicle-related critical reasons can be used in evaluating these systems.

      National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (pg 25) [dot.gov]

      It's the leading cause of accidents where the critical factor in the accident is attributed to the vehicle itself, not the roadway or a driver.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:35PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @04:35PM (#464134) Journal

        Now, THAT makes sense. "Of vehicle caused crashes, half of all crashes were attributed to tires." That makes perfect sense. And, brakes second. Again, that makes perfect sense. Most other stuff that breaks on a car won't actually cause a crash very often.

        --
        Keep all chemicals out of the reach of meth heads.
  • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:06PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:06PM (#464144) Journal

    In 2015, a new electric charging station powered in part by photovoltaic panels, a joint project with funding from Kia Motors, became the first in the state.

    "powered in part by" is handwaving for "mostly not powered by". According to their press release [PDF] [hannahsolar.com] for the Kia-funded solar charging station, they say that their solar panels can generate

    more than 4,360 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually.

    So 4360 kWh per year generated by the solar array, all of which, according to the press release, goes straight into the grid.

    Now an electric car, depending on battery capacity and charge amount at the start of charging, is going to take somewhere between 40 and 100 kWh for a full charge. (A Tesla Model S, for example, is available with a 60kWh up to a 100kWh battery, and charging from empty would take a little more than battery capacity because of slight inefficiency.) Let's say 60 kWh for a full charge to be conservative.

    And let's say further that only 2 cars take advantage of the charger every 24 hours. 2 cars a day isn't going to revolutionize transportation in Georgia, USA or anywhere else, but baby steps.

    So, 2 cars a day * 60 kWh * ~365.24 days in a year = ~43828 kWh used in a year by the charging station.

    If we're charitable and grant that the solar array (which is very pretty, see pics in the press release) puts out the full 4360 kWh for the year, that means that less than 10% of the juice provided by the charging station would come from those sexy pv panels. Even if it sat almost completely idle, servicing only 1 car a day on average at that low 60 kWh estimate--or if the 2 daily cars only needed 30 kWh to top up--less than 20% of the juice would come from "sunshine."

    Yet in that press release,

    Commissioner Tim Echols of the Georgia Public Service Commission[:] “We are actually driving on sunshine here and it is very exciting,” said Echols. “Usually you’re driving with power off the grid and you’re not actually sure where it’s from. Today we are going right from this sunshine into the level three charger.” [Emphasis added]

    I am sure that Commissioner Echols is a very nice, hard-working guy, but judging from this quote, he's also at the least economical with the truth.

    Point of this missive: Take claims such as "powered in part by solar energy" (or nonsense like "riding on sunshine") to mean "powered by totally not solar energy with perhaps a tiny bit of solar thrown in" until proven otherwise.

    Solar will prove itself through availability and falling costs, or it won't. There's no need to exaggerate or outright lie for it, right?

    Maybe they should eventually build five or ten of those solar arrays at each charging station.

    Peace.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07 2017, @05:35PM (#464159)

    "That weird Aussie guy" (Dave), on EEVblog, already debunked idea of solar roads (driving over solar panels) in general.
    That makes me wonder why are some politicians in various parts of the world insisting on throwing money down the drain?
    Is it part of ongoing anti-green campaign, to put a large egg on the face of solar energy straw man to slow down its advancement?

    "You see? It doesn't work. It is a disaster!"

  • (Score: 2) by Username on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:41PM

    by Username (4557) on Tuesday February 07 2017, @10:41PM (#464344)

    When your construct a fragile multi-million dollar solar array two feet away from a constant stream of 1.5 ton vehicles traveling at 60+ MPH, you would need to try and eliminate even the smallest cause of a crash to make it seem viable. I hope which ever motorist that hits this thing has good insurance. Instead of replacing $100 of concrete, now it’s millions in power equipment. Probably why the investors want to install the panels there, tons of revenue from constantly replacing them.

    Video of the British investor [youtube.com].

    • (Score: 2) by NewNic on Wednesday February 08 2017, @01:18AM

      by NewNic (6420) on Wednesday February 08 2017, @01:18AM (#464387) Journal

      Don't forget that all the smashed glass from the panels that will be flying around in the event of a crash is going to present a significant safety hazard.

      --
      lib·er·tar·i·an·ism ˌlibərˈterēənizəm/ noun: Magical thinking that useful idiots mistake for serious political theory