On the Road for Renewables

As I’ve mentioned in a few other posts, I’m writing a book about renewable energy for St. Martin’s Press.  The conceit is that, like many non-experts, it’s hard to get beyond the hype and to get a handle on what’s happening in the fast-paced world of renewable technologies. To help present a clearer picture, I’m going on the road to see for myself, visiting solar farms, wind farms, geothermal plants, and so on to report from places where renewable energy is happening every day.

That’s the idea, anyhow, and I think it’s a good one.  But for this premise to work, I need to make smart choices about where to go and what to see.  And I’m hoping that the savvy readers of Renewable Energy World can help.

So far, I’ve come up with a few “major” destinations and a few “minor” ones.  I’ve listed a few here. (You can see the full list on my other blog.)


Denver/Boulder, Colorado

… because the Denver/Boulder area seems to be a hotspot of renewable energy activity.  It’s the home of NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab), SEI (Solar Energy International), a wind turbine blade factory in nearby Windsor, CO, and also home of the UC Boulder Collaboratory–a collaboration among several Colorado universities, companies and other institutitions.

Berkeley/SF, California

 … because of the Renewable & Appropriate Energy Lab & UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the “Berkeley First” initiative that subsidizes home solar installations, Solazyme (algae biofuel company), a testing site for Better Place (the plug in electric/battery swapping car company), and, about an hour north, The Geysers, a large geothermal plant.

I’m also hoping to be able to make at least one overseas trip, perhaps to Iceland (which gets nearly 90% of its energy from renewable sources) or possibly Germany, which is widely recognied as a leader in wind technology and has strong national policies promoting energy efficiency.

But, at this early stage, my travel itinerary is still coming together.  There’s still plenty of time to make changes, learn about other possible energy-relevant destinations, etc.

So if you have any suggestions or comments, please let me know by commenting on this post.  I’m really interested to read your ideas about where to go if you want to see renewable energy up close and in action.


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I'm a writer based in Bloomington, IN. I'm currently writing a book about renewable energy, titled "Renewable: A Reporter's Quest to Make Sense of the Coming Revolution in Alternative Energy," for St. Martin's Press.

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