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  (Source: Slice of MIT)
America continues pushing toward cleaner energy today

The UN-supported organization, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), conducted a study that shows half of new power generated in the United States in 2009 was renewable energy.

The U.S. has taken great strides toward mass use of renewable energy. Just last year, 10 gigawatts of wind power capacity was installed in the United States, which can power 2.4 million homes. Other advancements in clean energy were made last year as well, such as the $7 million grant for Argonne National Laboratory from the U.S. Department of Energy to further solar power research.

More recently, the Obama Administration has continued contributing funds to keep renewable energy research rolling along. In April, the U.S. government approved the country's first off-shore wind farm, despite those who protested the idea, and just this month, Obama gave a hefty sum of $1.85 billion for new solar energy plants to be built around the U.S.  In addition, a promising 73 percent of Americans want to cut fossil fuel dependency in favor of cleaner methods. 

While the U.S. is moving along in regards to green technology, other countries around the world have been joining the revolution for a cleaner planet too by implementing new ideas in green technology. 

In Europe, 60 percent of new power generation in 2009 was in the form of renewable energy. But China has made the most progress when it comes to green technology by manufacturing more solar panels and wind turbines than any other country, as well as adding of 37 gigawatts of renewable energy to China's overall power generation capacity. Worldwide, renewable energy accounts for 25 percent of total power generation and provided 18 percent of the Earth's electricity in 2009. 

Despite these strides in the growing use of renewable energy, the U.S. has a long way to go before they accomplish the U.S. Department of Energy's goal of having 20 percent of America's power derived from wind by 2030.

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Where is the perspective?
By Jaybus on 7/17/2010 8:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
Since the article doesn't put this new renewable energy capacity into perspective, I will do so here. According to info available on the DOE website at, the US consumed 99304 trillion BTU in 2008, or 9.9304 * 10^16 BTU = 9.815 * 10^19 J. There were 31536000 seconds in 2008, so an average continuous energy production of 3.113 * 10^12 W = 3113 GW.

This new renewable capacity cannot, of course, maintain a continuous 10 GW. Solar is useless at night and the wind does not blow continuously at a constant rate. But even assuming a new renewable capacity that could maintain a continuous 10 GW production, that is only 0.32% of the capacity actually used.

Nothing wrong with advocating clean and useful energy sources, but we do need to keep things in perspective. The reality is that wind and solar do not really look all that promising right now. Funding research is commendable, but the technology is simply not yet to the point of deployment. These huge expenditures on rolling out renewable capacity are nothing more than political moves and have next to no impact on the actual energy production.

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