Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Campfield's Energy Plan: Stay in Cave, Scrounge Firewood, Ignore Technology

When Gov. Bredesen spoke this week to promote state efforts in developing and expanding solar energy, Rep. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville said:

Lastly was the solar panels. You must be kidding. This is not Arizona. Solar has yet to produce energy in any sort of efficient way at all. it is actually worse for the environment then a lot of other types of non PC energy forms we have."

Oh, Stacey. As a teacher in elementary school used to say to certain students - "Honey, you need to hush and just listen and learn from the rest of the class."

R. Neal at KnoxViews has real and current information about our state and about solar energy:

Rep. Campfield apparently wasn't paying attention to the R&D part, which is already being done right here in Tennessee. He's probably not aware that one of the goals of research is to make solar power conversion more efficient so it can be used virtually anywhere. Perhaps he's also not aware that East and West Tennessee are only one step down from Florida on the solar radiation scale.

And maybe he isn't aware that one of the world's largest producers of solar panels has a factory in Memphis, or that a leading supplier of silicon for solar panels is investing more than a billion dollars, one of the largest manufacturing investments in state history, to build a facility in Clarksville. He probably missed the announcement that Knoxville was selected by the DOE to be a Solar America City. He must also not be aware of the many homes and businesses in the Knoxville area that are already using solar power, including one that frequently gets negative utility bills."

Also, on Tuesday the Solar Energy Industries Association offered the following facts about solar power research, growth and development:

(SEIA) president and CEO Rhone Resch today touted the vast potential for solar energy development in the Southeast United States.

“The United States has some of the best solar resources in the world – resources that are more than double that of Germany, the current world leader in solar. With the right policies, solar can play a significant role in creating jobs, growing local economies and cutting energy costs for consumers and businesses,” said Resch
“Those who claim the U.S. does not have enough sun to power our nation are simply wrong. In the Southeast, 24 percent of electricity could come from rooftop solar alone*. As a policy investment, solar is one of the best values for putting Americans back to work and creating growth opportunities for utilities and small businesses alike in the Southeast and across the country,” added Resch.
After the Southwest, the Southeastern United States boasts some of the best solar resources in the country. North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia have solar resources 60 percent better than Germany and are home to hundreds of companies that manufacture and install solar energy equipment. Likewise, Florida has several hundred solar manufacturers, installers and project developers and solar resources that are 70 percent better than Germany – the world’s leader in solar power development.
Utilities are also beginning to embrace the sun’s fuel. Notably, Duke Energy in North Carolina plans to buy more than 10 megawatts of electricity from a solar farm that SunEdison is building in Davidson County. In early December, Florida Power & Light (FPL) broke ground on the first concentrating solar power plant north of Palm Beach County. In July, FPL selected SunPower to build two solar photovoltaic plants. When these projects are completed and brought online, they will make Florida the country's second-largest solar energy producer.
The mid-Atlantic is another emerging solar energy powerhouse. While New Jersey has somewhat lower solar resources than the southeastern states, it’s aggressive policies and incentives has led it to be the third largest solar market in the U.S. behind California and Nevada. Recently, Pennsylvania and Ohio have instituted state policies to stimulate development of renewable energy, including solar."
*Source: EIA, DOE, Navigant Consulting, SEIA

For many years, much work has been done to coax elected and appointed officials out of their fearful crouching in ignorance, to educate them and others that Renewable Energy Sources (RES) are not only within reach, it's an economic machine which creates jobs and new technology. From the Southern Alliance For Clean Energy, information and assistance was provided to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and National Resources. Executive Director Stephen Smith said it well:

We urge Congress to reject the myth that the Southeast cannot meet an RES. We can, and in doing so, we will find the economic solutions our region needs as well,” Dr. Smith stated. “We look forward to working with members of Congress to craft a workable policy that enables our region’s renewable energy resources to be part of a clean energy solution. The time for delay and distraction is over. Now is the time to develop our region’s renewable energy potential.”

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