DOE Report on Expanding Solar Power in Southwest

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a solar industry trade organization has applauded the U.S. Department of Energy for issuing a report requested by Congress that confirms the feasibility of adding 1,000 MW of clean solar power in the southwestern United States during this decade.

Washington, D.C. – September 10, 2002 [] This amount of energy could run more than 250,000 homes, while replacing the need for enough coal-fired power to eliminate five billion pounds of CO2 annually. The report studied three technologies known as Concentrating Solar Power, or CSP, which currently generate 354 MW annually in California. “This DOE report confirms that solar power can play a substantial role in generating the new power America’s economy will need in the next 20 years, without generating harmful emissions that threaten our environment,” said Glenn Hamer, SEIA’s Executive Director. “That is why the Western Governor’s Association has endorsed this 1,000 MW solar initiative.” Among the important findings of the DOE report: -“Land availability is not a limiting factor for solar energy development.” While this is not news to the industry, some critics of solar power continue to advance this opinion. -“Clearly, the initiative could help the Nation achieve the President’s goal of an 18 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity by 2012.” -The initiative would further reduce CSP generating costs. -Federal and state action is needed to make this initiative a reality. “The first thing the Congress can do to get this 1,000 MW initiative moving is to provide DOE with US$15 million in R&D funding for CSP technologies in FY2003,” Hamer said. “While not a lot of money by Washington standards, this R&D seed money will pay great dividends to the nation’s energy security and our environment for decades to come.”
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