Now that the US economy is literally beginning to crumble under the weight of the “mortgage meltdown” and the otherwise unsustainable economic playing field of the past several years, questions are beginning to emerge as to whether the “green” energy sector really holds any answers. The questions are fueled by the realization of many ordinary Americans that the final straw appears to have been skyrocketing energy prices.
To sum up the severity of the rising energy prices; in the past few years, oil has quadrupled, natural gas is almost double the price and coal has tripled. It is a nightmare to keep up with mortgage payments when gas bills soar. Various experts have various prognosis where it’s all going to go and I won’t bore you with their opinions or disputes. The effects of what’s happening now will likely ripple through the world economies for months to come.
The only new factor, in so far as scare-mongering goes, is that this time encouraging consumer spending won’t work any magic. Because increasing demand is going to have fatal effects on further oil price developments. As demand rises, it automatically will cause a dampening effect because high oil prices will only become higher as a result.
More and more eyes are on the sustainable energy sector now. To be more precise; on the green jobs this sector is set to generate. How much of a wild card is the sustainable energy sector? Can you put your hopes on it? The easy answer would be that it’s a total wild card. Because, from reading various think tank studies, I don’t get the impression that anyone really has an idea just yet as to what the scope of the green job sector is.
GDP growth of sustainable economic activity will be a boon not only to the US domestic economy but also internationally. Because the technology produced under these circumstances is increasingly in demand worldwide. Americans can never compete with China on production of cheap goods but it will be able to compete on energy products.
One example of an area where intense competition is already ongoing is solar power generation. It has a great future in the US. The State of Nevada alone is processing applications worth more than $40 billion of investments in solar plants. If all are given the proverbial green light the state will be generating solar power of over 10,000 MW, according to data from Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management.
A recent article on CleanTechnica reported that two of the world’s three largest solar power projects are located in Nevada. Both commenced operations less than 18 months ago. Ausra, a power plant which started operations a few months ago is already ranked as the world’s largest. It employs 50 factory workers and has a capacity to power 700 MW worth of solar panels. That’s enough to produce power for 500,000 homes.
The world’s third largest solar power generation plant, Acciona’s Nevada Solar One is located in Boulder City (NV) and can generate a maximum output of 75 MW of electricity at peak times. It opened its doors in June 2007 and can power 15,000 residences annually without producing carbon emissions.
Ausra´s founder, David Mills, says that the U.S. is capable to virtually eliminate its dependence on coal, oil and gas for electricity and transportation without increasing costs for energy. That’s the sort of stuff people need to hear. The path toward a sustainable economy will be a long and arduous, yet it’s heartening that if it all fails it simply can’t be for a lack of sunlight.