Solar & Wind Energy News of the Last Week (or So)

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Along with cleantech politics news and other cleantech news from the past week or so, here’s some news on wind and solar energy that we haven’t covered.

Ted Turner’s Solar Plant Begins Commercial Operation

Founder of CNN Ted Turner has announced that the 30-MW solar power plant developed and built by First Solar that he jointly owns has now started commercial operation. Here’s a little more from CalFinder Solar:

Built on more than 364 acres next to Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico, presumably on private land since the project faced no environmental-review hurdles, the Cimarron Solar Project will feed power to Denver-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a non-profit wholesale power dealer, and its 44 member electric cooperatives.

The project was first announced at the recent climate conference in Cancun and the electricity produced by it is expected to be enough to power 9,000 homes.

Go, Ted!

Department of Energy (DOE) to Cut Solar Costs by 75%?

That’s the news. DOE Secretary Steven Chu has announced a program to cut solar costs 75%. “The U.S. Department of Energy said on Friday it will spend $27 million on a new effort to reduce the costs of solar power by 75 percent by the end of the decade in a bid to make the renewable power source as cheap as fossil fuels,” Reuters reports.

Chu is calling the program a “sun shot,” taking from President JFK’s “moon shot” of the 1960s, a plan to land a man on the moon.

World Completely Powered by Clean Energy Possible by 2050?

A new report just out by the WWF announces that “All of the world’s energy needs could be provided cleanly, renewably and economically by 2050.”

The energy report took two years to prepare and goes into all energy needs, including transport.

“The report is more than a scenario – it’s a call for action. We can achieve a cleaner, renewable future, but we must start now,” said WWF Director General Jim Leape.

Global Solar PV to Double by 2015?

Global solar photovoltaic investment could hit $48-55 billion by 2015, potentially doubling current amounts, a report released by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association and Greenpeace announced last week.

“Solar photovoltaic technology has, for many years now, shown increased power efficiencies and cost reductions,” said Ingmar Wilhelm, President of EPIA. “Today’s cost predictions, driven also by economies of scale in light of global photovoltaic capacity, totalling 40,000 MW in 2010, show that the technology is on the brink of an economic breakthrough.”

PV prices have dropped 40% since 2005 and are expected to drop another 40% by 2015.

Wind Energy (and Marine Energy) Jobs Nearly Doubled in UK, Despite Horrible Economy

While the overall economy was in the dumps, with UK employment dropping 3% in the last couple years, the UK’s wind and marine energy sectors went the opposite route during the same time. The UK wind energy sector grew 91% in this time. The sector saw an increase of over 4000 wind energy jobs last year. The wave and tidal energy sector also improved significantly.

Massachusetts Launching $1000 Solar Thermal Rebates

If you live in the sunny state of Massachusetts, now is the time to invest in solar thermal hot water panels. A pilot rebate program there will soon award an average of $1000 for two-panel systems there. With other big federal and state rebates available, now is a great time to jump on the solar thermal bandwagon in Massachusetts.

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Zachary Shahan

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