The coal companies and the utility companies in this country are morally repugnant and ecologically a disaster.
Solar energy is ready, the U.S. isn’t
By Ken Wells
Published 5:07 p.m., Sunday, October 28, 2012
Clean energy has become a dirty word in presidential politics.
In their second debate, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama each tried to outdo the other’s love of fossil fuels: Obama extolling his record on oil and natural gas production, Romney vowing to take “advantage of the oil and coal we have here.” The Republican candidate has ridiculed the administration’s $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, the bankrupt solar panel maker, and accused Obama of living “in an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy.”
The candidates’ coolness to renewable energy comes at a time when the domestic supply of traditional energy sources, such as oil and natural gas, is at an all-time high. And yet this failure to make the promise of renewables a keynote in the debate is a huge missed opportunity. In particular, it ignores the dramatic reduction in the cost of photovoltaic solar power worldwide and the considerable benefits to U.S. consumers and the environment.
The untold story of this campaign is that what killed Solyndra may turn out to be a boon for the nation. “Economically and technologically, the game is over,” said Bill Powers, a San Diego engineer and board member of Solar Done Right, a group that proselytizes for rooftop solar power. “The hang-ups in the U.S. are strictly political.”
Over the past five years the price of photovoltaic panels has plummeted 75 percent, due largely to a glut of Chinese-made panels. The fall in prices rendered technically advanced photovoltaic panels, like those produced by Solyndra and other U.S. companies, too expensive to compete.
Go there and read. More tomorrow.