I'm not just making that up, and it's not just propaganda, although I've been saying it all along here in my blog. But the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Jon Wellinghoff speaking at a U.S. Energy Association forum said that he doesn't think we'll be needing more "baseload" energy in the form of coal, nuclear or even NG.
With energy efficiency from Energy Star rated products, alternative fuel vehicles, better building insulation, inspired by LEED, etc. reducing our needs for energy in the first place, locally distributed solar, wind, geothermal, and new hydro energy sources will cover our needs sustainably, cheaply, quickly, and providing lots of local jobs. Building new coal and nuke plants is too expensive, he said. You can read about it in this article from yesterday's NYT: Energy Regulatory Chief Says New Coal, Nuclear Plants May Be Unnecessary.
Further support of the future of solar (and other sustainable energy) came an announcement from Alteris Renewables and SunRun that they will be making Solar Power Cheaper than Utilities for First Time in Northeast, which is similar to the plans by Citizenre, which I am associated with. We will be renting panels to homeowners at a rate under that of which they are paying their utility company with a very low deposit, compared with buying panels. SunRun, Citizenre and SunEdison, who have a similar offering for businesses, will quickly be able to make solar a viable component in the energy mix.
Even Walmart understand this. They have announced plans to double their solar power usage by the end of 2010 under a similar arrangement with BP. They have already seen some savings, and with the price of energy increasing in the future and their solar expenses staying flat, the savings will be increasing as the years go by. This of course is a business decision, not just some green public service!
There is even good news about wind now, in this article from the LA Times: Offshore wind turbines get further boost from Obama administration. Soon projects like Cape Wind between Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and Deepwater Wind, in Rhode Island, will be providing energy for heavily populated areas up and down the Atlantic coast, where the continental shelf provides relatively easy sites for off-shore installations. The Great Lakes also provide perfect sites for future off-shore wind projects near industrial areas. Manufacturing the turbines is already becoming an alternative to jobs in the old dirty industries, as even European companies like Vestas are opening manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
What a great way to celebrate Earth Day!