Solar Power Wins Enthusiasts but Not Money
Matt Beard, at a federal laboratory in Golden, Colo., is among scientists trying to cut solar energy costs.
The New York Times says that an hour's worth of the sunlight bathing the planet held far more energy than humans worldwide could use in a year, and the first practical devices for converting light to electricity were designed more than half a century ago.
Andrew Revkin and Matthew Wald write: Yet research on solar power and methods for storing intermittent energy has long received less spending, both in the United States and in other industrialized countries, than energy options with more political support. In the United States, the Energy Department plans to spend $159 million on solar research and development. It will spend nearly double, $303 million, on nuclear energy research and development, and nearly triple, $427 million, on coal, as well as $167 million on other fossil fuel research and development.
In the battle for money from Washington, solar lobbyists say they are outgunned by their counterparts representing coal, corn and the atom. "Coal and nuclear count their lobbying budgets in the tens of millions," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. "We count ours in the tens of thousands."
TreeHugger has shown solar thermal generator ideas for Australia, andArizona there is so much energy hitting the ground and just going to waste. The Times says that "Government spending on energy research has long been shaped by political constituencies. Nuclear power, for example, has enjoyed consistent support from the Senate Energy Committee no matter which party is in power — in large part because Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete V. Domenici, the Democratic chairman and the ranking Republican, are both from New Mexico, home to Los Alamos National Laboratory and a branch of the Sandia National Laboratories."
See also John on our jobs of the future