Saturday, September 29, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #75 - Part 6

And Another Thing: Good news on solar and wind energy

Some good news on the energy front: A solar industry group announced earlier this month that the US is on track to install as much photovoltaic solar power this year as we did in the previous ten.

The report, by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, found that US solar installations more than doubled in the second quarter of 2012 as compared to last year, adding 742 megawatts of capacity. This growth was driven largely by new utility-scale solar generation projects, including two large projects that benefitted from DOE loan guarantees. The US now has enough installed solar capacity to power one million homes.

And it's not just solar: The wind industry has also seen tremendous growth in recent years. Not long ago, the estimates were that the US would reach 40 gigawatts of wind power by 2030. Wind power now, already, has 50 gigawatts of generation capacity installed: Twenty-five percent more eighteen years earlier.

The Department of Energy estimates that wind could provide 20% of US electricity by 2030, roughly double all our nuclear power plants.

That boom is due in part to the Federal Production Tax Credit. But unless Congress acts, the tax credit will expire at the end of this year. It will be interesting to see how that plays out; it'll be a good metric for judging just how concerned our supposed liberals are with the environment, renewable energy, and climate change and just how concerned the right wing is with actually aiding business.


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