Solar power continues along its firmly established downward cost curve and edges ever closer to achieving the historic milestone of grid parity. Today it just got a huge boost that will help it scale out in this country and will go a long way towards tipping the long term balance in favor of solar. In fact as the industry achieves scale it is cutting per unit costs down. This post outlines the announcement of a large DOE initiative to promote rooftop direct grid connected solar power in the US.
This post reports on the newly announced loan guarantees for the concentrated solar power (CSP) Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project that is to be built in Nevada. This kind of solar power, because it is paired with a molten salt thermal energy storage capacity has the ability to be a load following generation source that is somewhat insulated from intermittency issues as well. For large concentrated solar thermal energy this decoupling of the energy collection from electricity generation makes a lot of sense, because the molten salt is already being used as the working fluid that captures the sun’s heat.
The Department of Energy is awarding $47 million to support the development of new technologies and knowhow aimed at improving energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) and communication technology sectors. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that 14 projects across the country will share in this award. Information technology and telecommunications are vital and rapidly growing sectors of our overall economy and will become even more central as the smart grid is deployed. As our country increasingly comes to rely on an information economy in sector after sector the underlying physical infrastructure that supports it, such as the data centers, networks, routers and so forth, is expected to continue to rapidly grow.
Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States. The 183 projects in 43 states will generate more than 17,000 high quality clean energy jobs and the domestic manufacturingof advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind, and efficiency and energy management technologies. This investment will be matched by as much as $5.4 billion in private sector funding likely supporting up to 41,000 additional jobs.
Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary has announced up to $338 million in Recovery Act funding for the exploration and development of new geothermal fields as well as for research into advanced geothermal technologies. The newly announced grants will be awarded to 123 projects in 39 states and will be matched more than one-for-one with an additional $353 million in private and non-Federal cost-share funds, for a total grant pool of $691 million. This is a pretty big number and represents a major investment in a promising and yet often overlooked renewable energy resource. Recipients of the new grant funding include private industry, academic institutions, tribal entities, local governments, and DOE’s National Laboratories.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces $500 Million for 5 Grant Solicitations to Train Workers for Green Jobs
During a visit to Memphis last month, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced five grant competitions, totaling $500 million, to fund projects that prepare workers for green jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.
“Emerging green jobs are creating opportunities for workers to enter careers that offer good wages and pathways to long term job growth and prosperity,” said Secretary Solis. “Workers receiving training through projects funded by these competitions will be at the forefront as our nation transforms the way we generate electricity, manufacture products and do business across a wide range of industries.”
The Obama administration announced $350 million in stimulus funds to help expand geothermal resources and break down technological barriers. This is a huge jump in funding, dwarfing all previous government commitments and is more than all the funding for geothermal energy put together over the last 20 years. It also represents a dramatic reversal of previous trends of diminishing funding for this often overlooked renewable energy sector.