Its recent problems notwithstanding, California continues to light a path to the rest of the nation for policy change. In this case, the path would be lit with a device that uses considerably less power.
For some innovations, such as calculators and computers, the key to success was in finding a way to make things smaller. The future of concentrated solar power, on the other hand, depends on making the product deliverable on a grand scale.
When Bob Wian opened a 10-seat hamburger stand in Glendale, Calif., in 1936, he couldn’t have predicted how famous the logo of the smiling little boy in the checkered overalls would become. But Big Boy has become part of American fast-food culture.
As the national dialogue continues about the uses of alternative power, at least four states have added or increased their requirements on utilities for the production of electricity from renewable sources.
The United States officially joined the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on June 29, 2009, increasing the number of countries participating in the organization to 136. IRENA was initially founded on Jan.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported the U.S. market for small wind turbines with 100 kilowatts (kW) capacity or less grew 78 percent in 2008, with a total of 17.3 megawatts (MW) of new installed capacity, offering evidence that consumer demand for clean energy options is rising.
A plan proposed by Souther California Edison (SCE) for the largest U.S. installation of advanced solar panels on otherwise unused large commercial rooftops across Southern California was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.
New flexible solar cell technology developed by a group of engineering researchers at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, has been installed at a bus shelter on campus to power lighting for nighttime transit users.
Harnessing and coordinating the power of wind, solar and battery storage and smoothly integrating these resources with the grid is a formidable technical challenge, but it is crucial to America’s future of mixed-source renewable energy.
Wind power may have the potential to drastically alter our nation’s electricity consumption and reduce harmful emissions of greenhouse gases, but it will be of little use to energy consumers if the power generated can’t travel easily from the turbine to the plug.
With all of the talk in government circles about the possibilities of renewable power, it makes sense that the focus should be on developing those resources in the nation’s Western states, where the potential is arguably the greatest.
President Obama has made no secret about the role he sees for renewable power in the nation’s energy future. To his credit, his administration has backed up words with a sizable investment of stimulus funds.