Thanks to the stimulus package, U.S. geothermal and solarindustries achieved record growth in 2009, however both industries saylong-term growth relies on more clean energy public policy being passed.
Money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will continueto flow into alternative energy sectors in 2010; so, this year isexpected to be another growth year for clean energy technologies. Nevertheless, trade associations such as the Geothermal Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association say there are particular actions the government needs to take in order to continue to develop a green economy; these include:
Processing Project Applications Faster – TheDepartment of Interior, which manages one-fifth of the U.S. landmass,has said it plans to end the bureaucratic gridlock which has stymiedthe approval of commercial-scale renewable energy projects. Currently,the Department of Interior is processing 128 solar applications; itplans to fast-track 13 of these for approval by the end of the year. On the geothermal end, the industry is waiting for more of the 190million acres of land with geothermal potential to be opened forleasing–at the moment only 1.2 million acres have been leased.
Passing a Renewable Energy Standard – Long-termrenewable energy growth would be anchored by the creation of a nationalRenewable Energy Standard (RES) which would require every state togenerate a certain percentage of their electricity from clean sources. U.S. solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, and geothermal industries haveasked congress to pass a RES that would require utilities in everystate to produce 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by2025.
Passing a Clean Energy Bill – The U.S. has yet topass a thorough energy bill that calls for a federal cap on itsgreenhouse gas emissions, sets up a cap-and-trade or carbon taxprogram, and mandates the development of alternative energy sources. The Waxman-Markey bill continues to sit in the Senate without muchprogress being made.
Read the full story at Solve Climate: Anxious Geothermal, Solar Industries Looking to U.S. Interior for a Hand