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Renewable energy industries look to Washington for assistance

Oilfield Technology,

Geothermal and solar power industry trade groups are pushing the American government not to renege on pledges made in 2009, and lend long term assistance to make sure renewable energy can be made viable.

2009 saw unprecedented growth in solar and geothermal power generation, thanks largely to the financial stimulus package, but the trade groups want to make sure that it is not a one off, and that long term efforts are made to support the industry.

The US Department of the Interior identified 23 million acres of land with solar power potential, and 190 million acres of land which was suitable for geothermal power generation. Of this, only 1.2 million acres has now been leased out for geothermal power generation, and 128 applications are still pending for commercial scale solar power farms. But the Department of the Interior does plan to fast track 13 of them, in a move which will hopefully clear the bureaucratic gridlock.

Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energies Industries Association, said that some 20 000 jobs could be created by these projects.

However there are concerns that the money and political impetus behind 2009’s growth could dry up, so the renewable energy industry wants congress to enact a national Renewable Energy Standard (RES). This would effectively require every state to generate 25% of their energy from clean sources, safeguarding the future of the renewable energy industry.

They also want to see a more thorough clean energy bill in place, which would place a federal cap on carbon emissions, institute a cap and trade programme on carbon, and mandate the development of alternative energy sources.

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