I just find it interesting that green energy is engineered to fail. If I was BigOil, or BigNuke, hellbent on keeping the same competition I had locked away in a fiscal dungeon forever and someone was peeking in at her, I'd dress her up as ugly and anemic as I possibly could. I'd use my own money, gobs of it too, to make sure this impression came across loud and clear.
For example, since Dispondent asked for one, we have solar thermal energy. Chevron has teamed up with Brightsource to build a monument to redundancy and inefficiency "to see of solar thermal will be viable", in oil-pumping operations in California. They are using a circular array of flat mirrors aimed at a huge singular tank mounted way the hell above the reflecting mirrors. And get this: a good portion of the mirrors are facing north! They will never reflect the sun in the Nothern Hemisphere!
Why? Because of simple calculations. BigOil wants people to believe that "this many mirrors [you can include more if some of them are facing north] only produce this little amount of MW".
There are several flaws worked into this project.
1. Flat mirrors instead of parabolic concentrating reflectors or fresnel lenses. Go out in a sunny location and shine a mirror on the leg of your trousers a couple of inches away. Not much happening right? Just annoying if the glint happens to catch your eye. Now, take a magnifying lens the same size as the mirror and hold it the same distance from your pants. Have a fire-extinguisher nearby...
2. Mirrors facing north in the circular array do not reflect sunlight and are useless and must be discarded from any calculations to prove efficiency.
3. The tank, large, and located at a great distance from the mirrors has a huge interior volume of water relative to its surface area where heat-transfer happens. This means it will heat more slowly and inefficiently. With the elongate-tube style solar thermal, located much more closely to concentrating or parabolic reflectors, temperatures of over 300c [superheated steam the same caliber as with nuclear or carbon plants] is reached very quickly; as you would imagine if a whole array of magnifying glasses were aimed at your trouser leg. Less interior volume relative to surface area makes this possible. Along with of course closeness in relation to the source of heat.
Now that you know all these things, take a look at this engineering joke and laugh...