As we continue in 2010, information about the state of the world in 2009 is becoming available. CO2 levels, global temperatures and clean energy development are all being reported. Here are the data on clean energy from 2009 in the U.S.
Wind: 10,000 new megawatts installed in 2009 for a grand total of over 35,000 megawatts. That’s right, 1/3 of the wind capacity in the U.S. was installed in 2009. Similar gains are expected in 2010 due to stimulus funding and financial incentives made possible by the federal government. Despite similar costs to dirty energy, the so-called “free market” isn’t doing much with or for wind power. Expect that to change as the cost of dirty energy becomes more transparent.
Geothermal: only 250 new megawatts installed for a total of 3,150 megawatts. An additional 6,440 megawatts are now planned. Only $400 million in stimulus funding went to geothermal (compare that to the billions expected to be given away to the prohibitively expensive nuclear industry). Assistance did include a 30 percent investment tax credit and a “cash grant” alternative. Capacity is expected to triple to nearly 10GW in 5 years – not a very high amount, but every bit helps.
I don’t remember seeing anything on solar power just yet. If something comes out or if I find a released report, I’ll be sure to share it. More and more clean energy infrastructure is going to be made available in the coming years. Much, much more needs to come online so that dirty energy infrastructure can finally be turned off and dismantled. The biggest obstacle to making that happen? Lack of high capacity transmission lines that can deliver the power from where it’s collected (typically far away from where people live) to where it’s consumed. President Obama and the Democratic-led Congress need to do something about that this year.