34 Responses to Obama announces $2 billion investment in solar PV manufacturing and “the first large-scale solar plant in the U.S. to actually store the energy it generates for later use “ even at night.”
“What’s more, over 70 percent of the components and products used in construction will be manufactured in the USA”
In his weekly radio, the President announced he was putting $2 billion into two solar energy projects, including Concentrated solar thermal with storage (aka solar baseload).
CSP remains “The technology that will save humanity.” And we are seeing more and more plants in various phases of construction (see “Total of 8500 MW of CSP planned for 2014 in U.S. alone“).
The easiest way to deal with the intermittency of the sun is cheap storage “” and thermal storage is much cheaper and has a much higher round-trip efficiency than electric storage. The ability to provide power reliably throughout the day and evening in key locations around the world (including China and India) is why CSP delivers 3 of the 12 – 14 wedges needed for “the full global warming solution.”
Obama made this announcement in his weekly address:
In fact, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments to two solar companies.
The first is Abengoa Solar, a company that has agreed to build one of the largest solar plants in the world right here in the United States. After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America. In the short term, construction will create approximately 1,600 jobs in Arizona. What’s more, over 70 percent of the components and products used in construction will be manufactured in the USA, boosting jobs and communities in states up and down the supply chain. Once completed, this plant will be the first large-scale solar plant in the U.S. to actually store the energy it generates for later use – even at night. And it will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power 70,000 homes.
The second company is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what’s now an empty Chrysler factory. When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.
Contrary to some misreporting on this — which suggested Obama was doing this now because he was “sensing the merits of a stepwise energy plan given congressional divisions on a big energy and climate bill” — the White House explains in the fact sheet that this is just part of Obama’s ongoing, aggressive effort to advance clean energy that dates all the way back to the Recovery Act (see also EIA projects wind at 5% of U.S. electricity in 2012, all renewables at 14%, thanks to Obama stimulus!):
The Department of Energy today announced $1.85 billion in conditional commitments for loan guarantees to be issued through the Recovery Act to build or expand two new solar projects, which awardees estimate will directly create over 5,000 jobs. Together, the projects (which include facilities in three states) will not only drive additional economic activity across the industry and down the supply chain, but also help establish U.S. leadership in cutting edge solar technology. These commitments represent the 12th and 13th conditional commitments for loan guarantees issued by the Department of Energy, for a total of $14.8 billion in loans to support $22.4 billion in job-creating clean energy projects.
Obama has been leader in pushing clean energy — doing more than the previous presidents combined — but he knows that absent a price on carbon, you just can’t get absolute emissions reductions nor can you pay for federal side of the clean energy R&D and investments that are an integral part of the solution (see “Obama pushes Senators for energy bill with carbon price “” and so does Olympia Snowe (R-ME)“. Whether he is going to apply enough political pressure to get a carbon price — whether that is even possible in this political climate — however, remains to be seen — see The unbearable lameness of being (Rahm and Axelrod).
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