Saturday, April 05, 2008

Alternative Energy Headlines

Instead of all the bad news all the time about climate change, its causes and consequences, it's going to be my challenge every now and then to find some positive stories about steps being taken to change things. Here in the Southwest, I think we have enormous wind and solar potential, enough for our own local needs and maybe for other parts of the country. My partner and I have chosen to pay a little more to have 90 percent of our electricity furnished by wind farms, and a solar choice may be available soon. The first two of the three following stories are from MSM sources, the third is from the indispensible Triplepundit blog.

Installed Wind Power Rose 45 percent last year

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Installed U.S. wind energy capacity grew nearly 45 percent last year to 16,800 megawatts, or about enough to serve 4.5 million homes, as interest in low-carbon power grew, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Texas remained the top state in both total wind power capacity, which reached with 4,446 MW, and new wind power capacity, the annual report from the American Wind Energy Association said. (Continue article here.)

PG&E backs 3 solar plants in the Mojave

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will announce contracts today for three new large solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, whose open spaces and clear skies have placed it at the center of a renewable energy boom.

The three installations, together, will generate enough electricity for more than 375,000 homes. Fields of mirrors at each plant will focus sunlight on centralized towers, boiling water within the towers, creating steam and turning turbines (Continue article here.)
Solar Thermal Electricity: Catching the Eye of Utility Companies

The American Southwest has some of the greatest solar resources on the globe, it yet remains largely untapped. This trend may be changing as solar technology matures, market forces shift and concern for climate change mounts.

One of the most common arguments against large-scale use of renewable energy is that it cannot produce a steady, reliable stream of energy, day and night. Ausra Inc. does not agree. They believe that solar thermal technology has the potential to supply over 90% of grid power, while finding solutions to environmental issues.

“The U.S. could nearly eliminate our dependence on coal, oil and gas for electricity and transportation, drastically slashing global warming pollution without increasing costs for energy,” said David Mills, chief scientific officer and founder of Ausra. (Continue post here.)

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posted at 10:14:00 PM by marigolds2

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