I would not hazard a guess about what's happening to the storied "green shoots" in the American or global economies. There are many economists and financial "experts" hazarding widely divergent guesses already. I will guess that green technology continues to have appeal in many nations. Green shoots indeed. BRAZIL: MORE THAN ETHANOL Brazil has long been a major producing of ethanol for fuel. They brew it up from their sugar cane, think of it as rum running the car. Now the Brazilian government has made its first token move toward hydrogen fuel cells. They will begin with five hydrogen powered buses. Brazil's Secretary for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Renewable Fuels, José Lima, said this is a pioneering project in Latin America aimed at disseminating the technology. “The Brazilian success with ethanol and biodiesel allows us to use hydrogen from renewable energy sources. From now on, our challenge will be to structure the hydrogen economy in Brazil,” he said. SWITZERLAND SOLAR Solar panel production has begun at the new Locarno plant owned by Premac. The plant can produce 30 MWp (megawatt peak) of thin-film solar panels each year and create 150 high-tech jobs in the region. Here's link to the Oerlikon press release. Oerlikon provided the equipment and did the assembly on the new plant. Oerlikon Solar's claims its innovative thin-film photovoltaic manufacturing technology produces solar modules for 30 percent less than old-fashioned silicon-wafer-based technology. A BLOW TO THE SOLAR PLEXUS? Yes, solar tech took a heavy body blow when the global economic situation looked its worst. Now, according to Emerging Energy Research, there is a healthy outlook as more and more utilitis turn to solar as a politically dependable alternative to fossil fuel and nuclear generation. EER finds that turnkey facilities are lowering the installation costs and will make solar more attractive and economically feasible in Europe. There are also far greater government incentives in Europe than in the U.S. currently. Spain continues to move forward with significant Concentrated Solar Projects (CSP). This uses solar energy to heat a liduid that then turns turbines. It does not use solar panels. It is a technology ideal for the southwestern U.S. but projects there have met numeorus hurdles and lukewarm government backing. The Spanish projects are being built for private utility companies. Having struggled with its own real estate bubble, Spain is now carefully watching speculation on CSP there, hoping to prevent any investment bubble that could scuttle the industry. Spain has almost no fossil fuel supply, but plenty of bright sunshine. Spain continues this build-out despite a sharp downturn in its economy. The same is true in the Czech Republic where solar proejcts are moving ahead.
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