Image courtesy of Jimmy_Joe via flickr
Give credit where credit is due: the Bush administration DOE is moving forward with a plan to make available up to $2.4m to 12 so-called "Solar America Cities" (up to $200,000 for each) - cities that will receive funding and technical assistance to build a robust solar infrastructure. The 12 lucky winners include the California cities of San Jose, Santa Rosa and Sacramento; the Texas cities of Houston and San Antonio; the Minnesota cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul; Knoxville, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Denver, Colorado; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Seattle, Washington.The projects that will be supported range from large-scale solar thermal plants to more individual applications, such as solar water heating and photovoltaic panels; in addition to the $2.4m, DOE will provide the equivalent of $3m in technical support to the 12 cities, sending in experts to help them integrate the technologies with their local zoning and energy planning regulations. This latest round of funding is the second in the program's history, with past recipients including some of the usual green suspects: Berkeley, San Francisco and Portland.
Yes, $200,000 probably seems like a penny in the bucket when you're talking about such large-scale projects (because it is), but it's still encouraging to see this administration slowly move towards supporting renewable energy. With (a lot of) luck, we'll see more such support over the coming months; one easy way for the administration to shift a lot more funding into this area would be to eliminate all those wasteful fossil fuel subsidies... right, who are we kidding?