Few places in the U.S. are as well suited to developing renewable energy as the contaminated sites known as “brownfields.” But as communities from Philadelphia to California are discovering, government support is critical to enable solar and wind entrepreneurs to make use of these abandoned lands.
California’s biggest utility PG&E is seeking approval from state regulators for a power purchase agreement with Solaren Corp., a Southern California company that has contracted to deliver 200 megawatts of clean, renewable power over a 15 year period, beginning in 2016. Power from out of this world, that is. Solaren says it plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, then convert it to radio frequency energy for transmission to a receiving station in Fresno County. From there, the energy will be converted to electricity and fed into PG&E’s power grid. UPDATE: The California Public Utilities Commission gave its approval yesterday to the project giving it the green light to proceed.
Amid the debates on Capitol Hill regarding climate change and the growing interest in renewable energy, PJM Interconnection is launching a one-stop resource to better understand renewable energy resources on the PJM power grid. The Renewable Energy Dashboard at green.pjm.com illustrates a user-friendly snapshot of the amount and type of generation that currently provides power to the 51 million people in the PJM region. The dashboard also features a map indicating where proposed renewable energy projects are planned and a summary of how much electricity has been produced by renewable sources since 2005.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced plans to buid a 1GW solar power plant in Australia, which would make it the largest solar-electricity plant in the world surpassing the current record holder in California. Details about the project will be released soon and successful bidders will be named in the first half of 2010. The project is expected to cost A$1.4 billion (US$1.05 billion) and will represent a major investment in solar power, which the Prime Minister hopes will help propel the country into a leadership role in solar energy. This is a big step, but only one of many towards Australia’s stated goal of obtaining 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
RecyGrow hopes to create 500 green jobs in WI. Culver Signs Wind Energy Bill to Bring 2,300 Green Jobs To Iowa. Oregon House Considers Green Jobs Legislation. Exelon and SunPower to Develop Nation’s Largest Urban Solar Power Plant Creating 200 Jobs in Chicago.
The clean tech green energy sector is hurting badly – along with the rest of our economy. A lot of promising new firms are on life support finding it very difficult to raise desperately needed venture capital. We need to be laying the foundations for future growth now and there is no time to waste, I would argue that this is a paramount issue of national security, that it is not just about jobs or being “green”, but that it is an urgently vital necessity for our country’s future security. This is not an optional choice; it is not a luxury, a nice to have kind of thing; this is the very life blood of our country, of our industrial society. An industrial society needs energy and lots of it. America needs to urgently begin a national crash program of investing in domestically controlled renewable energy supplies, such as wind and solar right now while we still have a little breathing room to begin laying the foundations for a new American energy economy. It is a matter of national security.
Earlier this month, First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced that it has reduced its manufacturing cost for solar modules in the fourth quarter 2009 to 98 cents per watt, becoming the first solar cell manufacturing company to break the $1 per watt price barrier. This is a major price milestone for the solar photovoltaic manufacturing sector and represents a significant step towards achieving what is known in the industry as as grid parity, the price level where the per watt cost for solar electricity reaches the current averaged cost of electricity on the grid a goal First Solar plans to reach by 2012.