Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Clean Power

U.S. Poised for Wind and Solar Power Boom

worlds largest solar array moves forward and wind power gets an efficiency boostSome of the news buzzing around this week concerns China’s progress in the clean energy marketplace, but a couple of new developments in the U.S. show that the race for clean energy is just starting to heat up. First, the Department of Energy has just announced that a massive solar array is moving forward in Arizona with a $976 million federal loan guarantee. And second, a new wind power study suggests a way to boost the cost-effectiveness of America’s wind resources in the near term.

A New Boost for Wind Power Efficiency

Let’s get to that wind power study first, because it demonstrates that there is an enormous potential for significant improvements in the cost effectiveness of renewable energy over the short run, while next-generation technology develops over the long run. The study indicates that the efficiency of wind farms can be increased significantly simply by siting the turbines farther apart than is the current norm. The research team found that wind farms depend more on strong winds pulled down from higher altitudes, than on winds closer to the surface. When spaced farther apart, the turbines create additional turbulence that helps draw more wind from higher up.

Green Jobs and Wind Power

Partly due to the large scale of their components, wind turbines lend themselves to domestic production, and the U.S. wind power industry has joined forces with labor unions and environmental groups to push for more green jobs in wind turbine manufacturing. The new Atlantic Wind Consortium is poised to plan new wind farms all along the Atlantic coast, and massive new inland wind farms are already demonstrating that large scale clean energy projects can coexist with and even enhance local communities. Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA is working with DOE to identify wind power and other clean energy prospects for 14 million acres of brownfields and other abandoned industrial sites, so the potential for growth looks good.

Solar Power and Green Jobs

Meanwhile, a 290-megawatt solar power facility is in the works for Yuma County, Arizona. The project, sponsored by NRG Solar, will use thin film solar panels from FirstSolar, Inc. FirstSolar has facilities overseas as well as in the U.S., and it has been adding more green jobs in the U.S. over the past couple of years. As for the future, DOE’s latest loan guarantee shows just how serious the Obama administration is about promoting clean energy. However, the new Congress is not exactly sold on clean energy and there is stiff opposition from non-clean energy quarters, so despite the potential out there, it will take a lot of pushing and pulling to keep the U.S. clean energy sector growing.

Image: Wind turbine by amandabhslater on flickr.com.

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

Comments

You May Also Like

Cap And Trade

The narrative that Americans and many Europeans share about China and themselves is not aligned with observable reality, and the USA is in significant...

Autonomous Vehicles

While autonomous vehicle testing in the United States (especially with Tesla vehicles) gets a lot of our attention, we also like to keep an...

Cars

Things happen really fast in the world of the Wuling Mini EV and related models. Unlike in the traditional fossil fuel auto industry where...

Batteries

There’s been a lot of discussion about the new Clean Vehicle Credit in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 that is making its way...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.