In the wind: America's drive towards clean technology  

Posted by Big Gav

The SMH has an article on the potential for a clean energy revolution in the US - In the wind: America's drive towards clean technology.

ROOSEVELT transformed the US during the Great Depression by introducing Social Security, building dams, roads and an electricity network; Eisenhower gave the US its interstate highway system, transforming the economy and cementing the car in the fabric of American life. Microsoft, Apple, Netscape and Google turned the US of the late 20th century into the leader in the information economy.

Now Barack Obama, facing the steepest downturn since FDR's time, wants to transform America into a green machine, a nation that leads the world in technology and manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars, technologies to make the electricity grid more efficient and long-life batteries.

Can the US, the land of the internal combustion engine and the McMansion, where bigger is always better, really become a green economy? Can it catch up to Germany, Denmark, Spain and even China, which have been fostering green technology for years? And can the US achieve Obama's dream without passing a scheme that puts a price on carbon?

There are plenty of evangelists for the new green economy despite the outcome at Copenhagen, which left the world well short of a binding commitment to lower global emissions.

In California, the venture capital industry, having weathered some tough times over the past 12 months, is roaring back to life and ''clean tech'' is hot.

''I am more bullish about this than ever,'' says Steve Westly of Westly Group, a venture capital fund that is backing the electric car company, Tesla. ''We have seen some stunning innovation in California and in China,'' he says, adding that China is now the leader in clean tech. ''But most people don't realise how quickly these technologies are coming.''

The parallel, says Westly, is the mobile phone market. The first mobile phones cost $3000 and weighed 3.2 kilograms. Now they are 95 per cent cheaper and weigh almost nothing. He believes it will not take long before solar reaches ''grid parity'' - when a kilowatt of solar power can be produced for the same cost as conventionally generated power - and at that point the technologies will ''go through the ceiling'', he says.

The argument is similar with electric cars. Tesla, the company that Westly has backed, has produced its first all-electric Tesla roadster, which goes from zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. But it comes with a hefty $US100,000 ($A110,000) price tag. Tesla is now working on a more economical family vehicle, which Westly believes will take the US car industry by storm.

0 comments

Post a Comment

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (607) global warming (395) solar power (377) peak oil (343) renewable energy (255) electric vehicles (222) wind power (184) ocean energy (163) csp (157) geothermal energy (144) solar thermal power (144) smart grids (139) tidal power (137) coal seam gas (130) oil (130) solar pv (127) nuclear power (126) energy storage (125) lng (116) china (113) geothermal power (112) iraq (112) green buildings (109) natural gas (108) agriculture (88) oil price (79) biofuel (78) smart meters (72) wave power (71) uk (68) electricity grid (67) energy efficiency (63) coal (62) google (57) bicycle (51) internet (51) shale gas (49) surveillance (49) food prices (48) big brother (47) thin film solar (42) canada (40) biomimicry (39) scotland (38) ocean power (37) politics (37) shale oil (37) tesla (37) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) concentrating solar power (32) queensland (32) saudi arabia (32) california (31) credit crunch (31) bioplastic (30) offshore wind power (30) arctic ice (29) population (29) cogeneration (28) geoengineering (28) batteries (26) drought (26) resource wars (26) woodside (26) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) ctl (23) carbon tax (22) economics (22) limits to growth (22) coal to liquids (20) distributed manufacturing (20) indonesia (20) iraq oil law (20) lithium (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) buckminster fuller (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) exxon (18) santos (18) ausra (17) michael klare (17) atlantis (16) cellulosic ethanol (16) collapse (16) electric bikes (16) iceland (16) mapping (16) ucg (16) bees (15) concentrating solar thermal power (15) ethanol (15) geodynamics (15) psychology (15) brazil (14) fertiliser (14) lithium ion batteries (14) al gore (13) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) bucky fuller (13) carbon emissions (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) matthew simmons (13) public transport (13) biochar (12) chile (12) desertec (12) internet of things (12) otec (12) texas (12) victoria (12) cradle to cradle (11) energy policy (11) hybrid car (11) terra preta (11) toyota (11) amory lovins (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) severn estuary (10) tinfoil (10) volt (10) afghanistan (9) alaska (9) antarctica (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) four day week (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) pge (9) sweden (9) arrow energy (8) big oil (8) eroei (8) fish (8) floating offshore wind power (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) methane hydrates (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) saul griffith (8) stirling engine (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) airborne wind turbines (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) bolivia (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) vinod khosla (7) apocaphilia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) scenario planning (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) global energy grid (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)