Wind and sun--how important will they be to our energy future?

China has been doubling its wind-powered electricity generation every year for the past three. Yet many proposed wind-powered projects never happen because in this neo-capitalist company the projects won't make a profit.

China has been doubling its wind-powered electricity generation every year for the past three. Yet many proposed wind-powered projects never happen because in this neo-capitalist company the projects won't make a profit. The Chinese government controls all project permits and they force companies into competitive bidding and the low bidders often find themselves with a promise of electricity at an unrealistic level, so the wind farm does not get built. Maybe they could re-think this? China has plenty of windy locations that could help reduce the nation's world-leading carbon emissions from coal burning.

SOLAR SLOWDOWN?

Nature.com has a report saying solar industry is facing the same lay-offs and cutbacks that are plaguing many other industries globally. To see the full report you would have to pay. A few weeks back BP Solar announced it was closing a solar component plant in Australia. The apparent solar slump is not universal.

CALIFORNIA STILL SOLARATING

In sunny California, Pacific Gas and Electric is going ahead with construction of solar generating plants there. PGandE currently buys solar-generated electricity from third parties, but now is building plants that it will own. PGandE may spend as much as its down-state cousin, Southern California Edison, which is putting $850-million into solar panels that will go on the roofs of businesses. Just this week a California medical center completed installation of solar panels above its parking lot. Shade and electricity in sun drenched California. A trend that would make great sense. And California's state government is aggressively supporting and pushing for more renewable energy sources. The state was financially gutted by electricity costs during the high-flying years of Enron in the early 2000s. I think California business and politicians said "never again."

And California-based chip-giant Intel is looking at running one of its datacenters on solar power. And my blog-partner just reported on ADC putting together a solarized facility in Sacramento.

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