Americans are now being told that keeping utility bills down means keeping maintenance of the country's dismal electricity distribution system to a bare minimum. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the entire system could collapse by 2020 without an immediate investment of $673 billion. Furthermore, experts say that brownouts and blackouts will end up costing more in the end than re-hauling the entire system.
In this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation.
It is entirely technically reasonable to amortize the financing of a well engineered solar array over 30-40 years, not just 20.
Much of the industry press coverage lately has focused on multi-100MW projects. Yet these large, centralized production facilities are not really the best use of solar energy. They certainly have their usefulness, but distributed generation offers an even better approach.
In pursuing its brave new world of green energy, California will inevitably experience the vicissitudes of its pioneering undertaking - the twists and turns on the road to TLC (transparency, longevity, certainty)
What would be the optimum structure & characteristics of a Federal Loan Guarantee Program for Solar?
Can we envision a fair, balanced LG program that serves those that need it the most rather than only those that can afford to participate?
Subsidies for fossil fuel industries discourages investments in renewable projects and cleaner forms of energy.
The green landscape will continue to shift and it is important to watch, learn and prepare future leaders. The excitement of clean technology innovation in 2012 and beyond ought to be celebrated by everyone who has a stake in making our world a better place to work, play and live.
The solar industry is ready for its moment in the sun: Here at home, we hope fairness prevails so that the investigatory process proceeds without acrimony, political overzealousness or protectionism; at stake are U.S. jobs, U.S. exports, and U.S. consumer benefits for a strategically important U.S industry
As with the dotcom crash, the death of Solyndra, Evergreen and others will usher in a more robust solar industry not signal the disappearance of PV as a viable alternative for future energy needs. Both companies were a tiny fraction of an enormous and rapidly growing global market.
I wrote this article for HomeToys.com, our Home Technology website but it applies to Alternative Energy as well. It's not enough to monitor our energy use. We don't really care about that unless it does something to change our lives or save us money. So, let's put a solar system on the roof. Now that can do both of these things and should attract our attention. But let's take it a step further. With that solar system there is a new variable in the mix --- FREE CLEAN ENERGY. What can and should we do with it.
The Denver recently reported the NREL was going to lay off 10 percent of its employees. It took about two light seconds for a popular Washington D.C. news site to pronounce the layoff a "scandal," because NREL had taken federal stimulus money. That is silly. NREL, of course, is where the Department of Energy tests and develops new materials and techniques for solar, wind and other kinds of energy.
So implementing energy efficiency measures sounds like a good idea in principle, but how can local authorities or municipalities balance the equation of technology costs and fund the capital expenditure? Put simply, some of the measures that can be implemented deliver savings immediately with payback periods that are very short - in some instances only 6 months. However; to address a set of larger scale measures, the answer comprises 3 elements: i) scale of project, ii) guaranteeing savings through energy performance contracting and iii) access to competitive (low interest rate) finance.
The technical advances of cost effective PV and advanced storage along with the legislative changes must occur if the industry is to grow rapidly enough to become a significant component of the world's future energy portfolio in the next 15 to 20 years (i.e. PV supplying more than 20% of the world's electricity). Advances in any of the three areas will certainly help and will benefit the industry as a whole, but ALL three are necessary if PV is to take its place as the most flexible, cost effective and distributed form of energy and all three are necessary to accelerate the transition to a post fossil fuel economy.
Here are two letters written to President Obama and House Speaker Boehner outlining some common frustrations.
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