Renewable Energy Revolution Sweeps the US


Photos via World News

First, there was the solar frenzy in the Texas that led to new government initiatives supporting alternative energy. Now, spurred by the stimulus, states across the nation are getting in on the action: Kansas, Utah, and New Mexico are already out the gate with new laws designed to offer incentives for using renewables, attract alternative energy manufacturers, and create green jobs. On top of that, plenty of new renewable-based business ventures are cropping up too. Could Obama's stimulus have really sparked a direly needed energy revolution in the United States?It might have gotten the ball rolling a little faster, at least . . . the New York Times' Green Inc. proclaims that renewable fever is sweeping state legislatures. And it appears that they're right. Brand new bills have already emerged from those aforementioned states, and progress is well underway in others, like Nebraska--which is prime real estate for wind power.

So what's been passed?

According to the New Mexico Independent, a session just wrapped up where state Democrats "sponsored a key package of legislation passed this year that provides incentives to install solar systems on residential and commercial properties." Governor Bill Richardson, onetime Energy Secretary to Bill Clinton, was said to be a major proponent of renewable energy throughout the session.

In Utah, two major bills incentivizing renewable energy development and purchase passed—politicians there say alternative energy like wind power could be a huge boon for rural areas hit hard by the recession.

As for Kansas, legislators there "passed a bill (unanimously in the House) to provide incentives to attract manufacturers of renewables."

So that's Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah that all have brand new incentives to get their residents and companies to dip into the renewable energy realm, thanks to funding unleashed by the stimulus bill.

Not to mention cases like the city government in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, that's set to attract 400 new green jobs by opening a wind turbine manufacturing plant http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/400-green-jobs-wisconsin-rapids.php, and the expansion of a wind farm in Illinois that will power 30,000 homes. Of course, projects like this were emerging before Obama took office--but all told, this might be an unprecedented stir of activity on the renewable energy front.

Now, it's one thing to get excited at the prospect that all this renewable energy development is steering the nation towards a more sustainable, secure energy future—it's quite another to call it a success, or even really a revolution (even if I did call it that in the headline—hey, I said I got excited). Let's call it what it is: good, encouraging progress.

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Tags: Alternative Energy | Clean Energy | Congress | Green Jobs

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