by Jane Burgermeister, European Correspondent Vienna, Austria []

The world needs a one-off switch-over to renewable energy — and this could be largely accomplished in just forty years time, slashing energy costs and greenhouse gases while allowing healthy economic growth, experts say.

By 2050, 80 percent of the world’s electricity could be coming from renewable energy sources provided efforts are made, in parallel, to improve energy efficiency, according to a study by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). That means, the children of today might well grow up to experience a world where the energy they use comes almost entirely from the sun, wind, sea and biomass.

By 2090, the shift to renewable energy around the world could be almost 99 percent completed reducing pressure on the environment and laying the foundations for a new era of prosperity based on green energy.

Also, the short-term financial costs of switching over to renewable energy will be outweighed by the long-term financial benefits, according to the study. In fact, the projected savings to be made by not using the amount of coal we do today could amount to US $15.9 trillion by 2030 alone — a sum that would pay the whole US $15 trillion bill needed to switch over the entire world to renewable energy power sources once and for all.

The accumulated savings of a switch-over to renewable energy by 2030 could be as high as US $18.7 trillion or $750 billion a year, according to one DLR scenario.

The DLR estimates that the world today spends approximately US $2 trillion on its electricity supply, which comes primarily from fossil fuels. However, it calculates that this cost could rise to almost US $9 trillion by 2050 on current trends of soaring oil and coal prices as well as the rising cost of dealing with the environmental impact of carbon emissions. However, if the world largely completes its switch over to renewable energy by 2050 and introduces energy saving measures in parallel, the bill for the annual electricity supply will only be about US $4 trillion a year — a savings of $5 trillion.

Consumers could also be faced with more affordable or even no energy bills once installation costs for renewable energy micro-generators and weatherization have been met, ushering in a new era of energy self sufficiency for householders.

The goal of obtaining 80 percent of our electricity from renewables is achievable even if the world, including China and India, continues to see high economic growth, says the DLR.

The Energy [R]evolution Report commissioned by Greenpeace International and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) also outlines a scenario that would see a fairer redistribution of the burden of cutting greenhouses around the globe. Under the DLR plan, America and Western Europe would decrease their high per capita energy use by switching over to renewable energy and introducing energy saving measures as soon as possible while countries such as China and India would initially slow down their increase in energy demand before starting the switch-over to green energy.

This would bring the western industrialized and the non-western countries closer together in terms of the amount of energy they consume by 2050, although even using this “scissors” approach North America and Western Europe will still be using far more energy per capita than India or China in 40 years time.

 The DLR study has also put forward an action plan that would see 32.5 percent of the world’s electricity supply coming from renewable energy by as early as 2020. Until 2020, the current spectrum of renewable technologies such as wind power, hydro power and biomass are expected to play a key role. After 2020, by contrast, new technologies generating abundant and low cost clean energy are expected to become available and to play an increasingly important part in the world’s green tech mix.

Technologies like dye-sensitive solar cells and thin-film photovoltaics are being developed rapidly and present a huge potential for cost reduction. Also, major innovations in geothermal and ocean wave technology can be expected as research in these areas increases in the future.

The DLR study says that there has to be a drastic reduction in primary energy demand for the world to switch to largely renewables by 2050. The introduction of a raft of energy saving measures will ensure that there is only a slight increase in the total primary energy demand from the 474,900 petajoules [roughly 30 million kilowatt-hours], in 2005 to 480,860 petajoules in 2050, compared to 867,700 petajoules In 2050 without such energy efficiency measures.

“Smart power” will improve the efficiency of buildings and transport, and the DLR predicts that the city centers of the future, for example, could be producing power and heat as well as consuming it. The buildings will have photovoltaic facades not only for energy production but also as an element of architectural design. Solar thermal collectors are set to produce hot water in the networked cities of tomorrow where energy comes from a variety of sources, large and small in scale.

 In addition, the DLR predicts that the energy supply system of the future will move from the large and centralized one of today’s world towards a much more decentralized one, based on a wide mix of energy sources. These will be tailored to the geography of a particular region to optimize its specific and unique potential.

 According to the DLR, solar photovoltaics, followed by wind power, concentrated solar power and geothermal, have the highest potential for development from technologies currently available.

 To study notes huge amounts of energy currently wasted from cooling towers could be harnessed for co-generation.

A further piece in the puzzle to create a world powered by renewable energy is to make the transport sector more efficient by switching over to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy sources and also by building up public transport system.

 Government legislation will have a vital role to play in facilitating the energy revolution according to the DLR. It recommends that governments phase out subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy; put a cost on carbon emissions and so take into account their damage to the environment. Also, governments should introduce strict energy efficiency standards and legally binding targets for renewable energy as well as increase the budgets for research into renewable energy and energy saving measures.

 If all goes according to plan, the DLR predicts that by 2050, around 77% of electricity will be produced from renewable energy sources and a capacity of 9,100 GW will produce 28,600 TWh/a of renewable electricity in 2050.

 In the heat supply sector, the contribution of renewables such as biomass, solar collectors and geothermal will increase to 70% by 2050. The study estimates that 56% of primary energy demand will be covered by renewable energy sources by 2050 when energy efficiency potentials will have been largely exploited. As a result, primary energy demand will stabilize at 2060 levels. The proportion of renewables to cover this primary energy demain will continue to rise.

By 2070 over 93% of electricity will be produced from renewable energy sources, with whatever gas-fired power plants remaining in use serving as a backup for power. By 2080, about 90% of primary energy demand will be covered by renewable energy sources and by 2090 the renewable share will reach 98.2%. By 2100, a capacity of 23,100 GW will produce 56,800 TWh of renewable electricity or 17 times more than today.

Our Perspective:

I found this to be a very interesting article. I am in the midst of reading a book by Thomas Friedman…Hot, Flat and Crowded. Anyone interested in the learning more about the true obstacles we face in meeting our growing energy needs should read this book.

We have been living in a world of abundance that is supported by finite fossil resources. As our demand grows, the resources diminish.

What happens when the demand continues to grow and it reaches our resource capacity? Are we prepared to meet this challange?

Steps must be taken now to address these issues. If planned properly and implemented, we can expect a smooth transition. Failure to act can prove to be very detrimental.

Let us know your thoughts? You may leave a comment or email

As reported in Climate Progress

Lobbying for his plan to sharply ramp up renewables, the billionaire oilman has been brought face to face with the Big Energy Lie — the absurd notion that either John McCain or the Republicans in Congress actually believe in an “all of the above” energy policy.

In my interview with Pickens last month, he was able to offer only the blandest reply to a question pointing out that Dems back renewables but the GOP doesn’t: “So let me ask you, how do we, how do we get Republicans to support that kind of investment in renewables.” See his rambling answer here “Pickens in a pickle: He embraces progressive policies but not progressive politicians.

TP reports on a sadder but wiser (and far more cogent) Pickens at the National Press Club yesterday:

Q: You told the New York Times last month that you’d never vote for a Democrat. Are you finding that difficult in reaching out to Democrats then with your plan? […]

PICKENS: So I am having no problem working with the Democrats. Having a little problem working with the Republicans. They don’t like it because I want to do more than just drill. And they, somehow have gotten it, a lot of them have, that you can drill your way out of this. But you can’t do it. There’s not enough oil there to do it.

I guess he missed the GOP convention, see “Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died.

You can see the video of Pickens here:

Assuming Republicans (including John McCain) continue blocking an intelligent energy policy — and blocking a vital climate policy, for that matter — this may well be our new mantra, the mantra of self-desctruction:

They don’t like it because I want to do more than just drill.

Still, you can’t really feel too sorry for the billionaire uber-conservative oil man who helped get Bush re-elected by funding of the Swift boat ads, who supports John McCain now, and who dumbed down his own message on drilling, presumably after pushback from his big oil buddies — see New Pickens ad: “I say drill, drill, drill.”

Again, if you back McCain and the GOP, then you must want energy policies that will leave this country forever crippled economically, forever vulnerable to the whims of the oil-producing nations like Russia, Venezuela and the Persian Gulf states. Until Pickens puts his money behind progressive politicians, then his quest for progressive policies will remain an impossible dream.

Our Perspective:

Be sure to know all the facts before you vote?  The quest for energy independence is pertinent to the growth of the US economy.

Let us know your thoughts? Post a comment or email

As reported in Huffington Post Green

Maybe you’ve been hearing more about geothermal energy lately — it gets mentioned more in the mix with solar and wind these days, especially when politicians are listing off, quickly as possible, all the forms of renewable energies they can think of. In case you don’t know much about it, HuffPost Green has compiled this little FAQ.

What is geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy is a cheap and largely untapped natural energy resource. It’s an intriguing sustainable energy source due to its unlimited supply, 24-hour availability and ability to decrease reliance on fossil fuels.

The EPA defines geothermal for us:

Geothermal energy is produced from the constant temperature of the earth. This can be accessed by drilling into the earth and extracting that heat and turning it into usable energy. Geothermal energy is an enormous underused resource that provides clean renewable energy in virtually unlimited supplies.

Blogger Michelle Bennett of CleanTechnica praises geothermal energy’s non-stop energy supply:

The potential return could be as enormous as the forces of nature at work: clean, green, unlimited energy for the rest of this geologic era. Unlike solar and wind, geothermal generates a steady supply of energy 24 hours a day, everyday. Anything so abundant and predictable won’t go untapped for long.

What geothermal energy is, can essentially be described with the sentence; heat contained and produced by the heating of the earth in two different ways. The more powerful geothermal energy comes from deep within the earth, where the temperature is hot enough to melt the surrounding rocks. The second source of geothermal energy is as a results of the suns rays beating down on the land surface. We shall now look into these two main sources.

How Does It Work?

One of the methods to generate electricity from geothermal energy is by pumping hot water into sedimentary hotspots. The steam generated by this method is used to produce electricity. The condensed steam is again circulated into the permeable sedimentary stream of a hotspot.

Another method is by using volcanic magma. The temperature of partially molten magma is approximately 650 degree Celsius. This heat is used to boil water to generate electricity.

Some geothermal plants also use the hardened magma that is extremely hot. This system uses hot dry rock. Pipes are looped through these hot dry rocks through which water is circulated. The heat of the rocks converts the water into steam prior to transferring the heat to a steam generator.

How Much Energy Could Be Generated?

Google will invest $10 million to the development of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). According to Treehugger, it takes just 2% of the heat present beneath North American soil to fulfill the United States’ energy needs. Last week, scientists asserted that just 1% of Australia’s geothermal energy potential is enough to power the nation for 26,000 years. This change in Australia’s energy source will help to drastically reduce worldwide carbon emissions.

Currently Australia generates about 77% of its electricity from coal and is the world’s largest per-capita carbon emitter, with individual emissions being five times those of China.

Where Is It Currently In Use?

Geothermal energy is currently used in homes throughout Europe and is most popular in Iceland, Sweden, Norway and increasingly in the United Kingdom. In June, Germany instituted a tariff to build up its geothermal electricity use. By 2015, the German government hopes to run hundreds of geothermal power plants.

An increasing amount of organizations are utilizing geothermal energy such as the Oregon Institute of Technology, which is the first university to be fully sustained by geothermal power.

But if you’re a politician and want a chance to list off as many renewable energy types as possible, check out the new visitor center at the Queens Botanical Garden: \

It’s considered the greenest public building in New York City due to its advanced green construction and energy-saving technology. The NRDC hails the building as the “model of efficiency.”

It gets 17% of its energy from rooftop solar panels, it heats its water using geothermal power and has an 8,000 square foot green roof that is performing beyond expectations. According to Jennifer Souder, the Garden’s Director of Capital Projects, preliminary tests from last summer measured the building’s green roof temperature at 82 degrees, while nearby white and black tar roofs were cooking at 115 and 170 degrees respectively. Expect significant energy savings and a reduction in the “urban heat island” effect to result from this facility.

Our Perspective:

As I have previously stated, there is no silver bullet solution. In order to make strides in achieving energy independence we must bring together all the possibilities that show promise and makes sense.

Bottom line, in order to build momentum, incentives must be offered to produce a ROI that makes sense. As advances are made in green solutions, prices will fall and these incentives will disappear. 

We have backed ourselves into a corner. We ignored all the warning signs over the last 30 to 40 years. Nobody thinks twice about where the energy is coming from when they walk into a room and turn on a switch, or they walk over to the thermostat and turn it down to get the room nice and cool. Energy was always there. Problem being, with the increasing demand for energy, the utilities will not be able to handle this increase in demand in the next 8 to 10 years.

What seemed loke a good idea 30 years ago, alternative energy is now becoming a needed solution to help us meet this increased demand.

To learn more about alternative energy solutions and opportunities in NJ and PA email

TRIMONT, Minn. — One would hardly know it driving down Main Street, but this tiny prairie town surrounded by corn and soybean fields is at the forefront of America’s fight to wean itself off oil.

Wind Farm

Giant turbines in this southern Minnesota cornfield harness the wind, generating enough power for 29,000 homes.

(Scott Mayerowitz/ABC)
More Photos

Long before gas topped $4 a gallon or Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens embraced renewable energy, a group of farmers here banded together to build a massive wind farm.

Today their vision is paying off.

At the edge of town, 67 giant turbines — each taller than the Statue of Liberty — rise above the landscape, producing enough electricity to power 29,000 homes throughout the state and providing the farmers and local government with roughly $2 million a year. And it’s just the beginning. Soon, a second phase of the project will be online — doubling the number of towers — and a third phase is already being planned.


So how did this town of only 754 residents, where the local radio station includes the price of cattle and corn in its news updates, land on the forefront of the nation’s energy solutions?


Trimont manager Rick Mattioda stands in front of a turbine blade about to be installed.


It was part geography, part luck and part foresight by a few local farmers.

Trimont sits at the southern end of Minnesota, a few miles north of Iowa. The flat land spreads out in every direction, broken occasionally by a farmhouse or grain elevator.

Strong winds pass easily across the prairie, making it an ideal location for commercial-scale, wind-power generation. But strong winds aren’t enough.


Trimont, a small town in the heart of the prairie, is home to an annual chocolate festival and a yard-of-the-month contest sponsored by the local chamber of commerce.

The best places to capture a strong and steady wind — Minnesota, the Dakotas and Iowa — are far away from the population centers that demand the most electricity. To get power from the Great Plains to, say, Chicago or Denver requires a large network of transmission lines that simply doesn’t exist.

Trimont was lucky: It already had one of the power transmission lines running through town.


All that was missing was a vision. And that’s where local farmer Doug Scholl came in.

“It was his idea that instead of sitting here waiting for a major wind developer to come to us … to instead take matters into our own hands,” said Neal Von Ohlen, a fellow farmer who helped start the project and now oversees the farmers’ interests. “I didn’t know anything about wind. I was just a landowner-farmer. But it seemed intelligent.”


The Growth of Wind

Wind will never be the solution to all our energy problems. Supporters say that in two decades the country could generate at least 20 percent of its electricity with it.

Today, the biggest source of electricity is coal, accounting for nearly half of all power generation in 2006, according to the Department of Energy. Natural gas and nuclear power each accounted for another 20 percent, and hydroelectric another 7 percent. All forms of renewable energy — that includes wind, solar and biomass — accounted for just 2 percent of all electricity production. Compare that to Denmark, where wind makes up nearly 20 percent of country’s power needs.


Two workers for Iberdrola Renweables stand in front of turbine blades before installation.

Wind is the fastest-growing form of energy. Thanks to projects like the one in Trimont, the amount of wind power in the United States nearly tripled between 2003 and 2007.


Wind is on the forefront of the energy debate, thanks to recent record-high oil prices and an advertising and lobbying push by Pickens, who is spending $58 million this election campaigning for larger infrastructure investments. His company, Mesa Power, has already spent $2 billion to construct the world’s largest wind farm in Pampa, Texas.

“I’ve been an oilman all my life,” Pickens says in one of his ads. “But this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.”


The turbine blades at Trimont are 384 feet off the ground; that’s taller than the Statue of Liberty.

But not everybody loves wind. For years, residents of Massachusetts have been fighting a proposal to create a wind farm off Cape Cod.

The key argument against wind is typically aesthetics. The towers are giant but quiet. They make about the same amount of noise as your household refrigerator, but they are tall, break up sweeping vistas and have lights at night to warn passing aircraft.


Iowa Lakes Community College instructor Al Zeitz shows a student around the top of a turbine.


“Some of the biggest tree-huggers are against it. I don’t see why anyone would be against wind power,” Von Ohlen said. “Some people, point blank, don’t like the looks of the turbine. My wife and I love the look.”

Wind is also bringing jobs.

The industry employs about 50,000 Americans, adding 10,000 jobs in 2007 alone, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade and lobbying group. By 2030 — if wind reaches its full potential — the industry could employ as many as 500,000 people.


The New Work Force

Jake Hansen grew up on a farm in the tiny community of Morgan, Minn., about 50 miles north of Trimont. Roughly 70 percent of the residents there graduate from high school but less than 10 percent hold bachelor’s degrees. The typical resident made $16,454 in 1999, according to Census data.

Hansen was home-schooled and “had no idea” what he was going to do until he heard a radio ad for a wind technician program at an area community college.

“I thought it sounded interesting,” Hansen said. “Farming or driving a truck are the only jobs around.”

But with wind, he said, “there’s so much future in it.”


Jake Hansen standing on top of one of the turbines.

Now, two years later, Hansen works at the Trimont project earning more than $20 an hour; that’s more than $40,000 a year plus overtime and bonuses.

With that salary he just bought his first house, at the age of 20.

Hansen has two other brothers. One is in school for law enforcement and the other works at Wal-Mart. He earns more than both of them.

After graduating from the two-year program at Iowa Lakes Community College, he had 12 job offers. (He also had an internship in between his first and second years at the college, which paid him enough to cover his second year of school.)

“It’s just your average 9-to-5 job,” Hansen said, “just 280 feet in the air.”


Downtown Trimont, Minn.

The college started the wind program in the fall of 2004. Back then, there were only 15 students and one instructor. Today, there are five instructors and more than 100 students. The college recently added another 16 slots for the upcoming school year. They were filled in just six days, according to school president Harold Prior.


A giant crane lifts a turbine into place in the second phase of the wind farm development.


The college even has its own working turbine. It’s not just used for instruction but actually generates power that is sold to the local community, providing about $150,000 a year to the school.


Opportunity Knocks

For the farmers of Trimont, the perfect opportunity presented itself in the spring of 2003. Great River Energy, a regional power cooperative, was looking for somebody to generate renewable energy for its customers.

Scholl managed to organize 50 different farmers to join the project; and submitted a bid to the power company. They were one of 65 proposals but ultimately won because of the site’s location and the local involvement. (Scholl has since died in a small-plane crash.)

“At first, the idea was, hey, this is going to be the largest land-owner wind farm in the country. Until you know the facts, it’s easy to dream big,” Von Ohlen said.

After they were awarded the project, the farmers realized that they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of a substantial federal income tax credit associated with wind power. They simply didn’t earn enough money. There were also major financial risks associated with the project. If a gear box went out or a blade broke, the farmers would be responsible for paying for its repair.


Neal Von Ohlen, a farmer who helped start the project, at his farm.


So they decided to bring in a large company to operate the facility. But because the farmers had won the right to sell the renewable energy, they held all the cards when negotiating.

“We had a lot of negotiating power in the first proposal,” Von Ohlen said. “We could have brought in anybody.”

The group eventually choose PPM Energy, which has since become part of Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish company that is the world’s largest provider of wind power.

As part of its deal with the energy company, the farmers got a noncompetitive clause. Neither group could develop a wind farm in the area without the other. Today they are preparing to go online with their second joint venture adjacent to the first project. And like the first one, the farmers will also get a share of the profits.

While there are 50 landowners in the first group, only 43 have turbines on their property. They can still plant crops right up to the base of the tower.


A view of the Trimont farm from inside one of the turbine towers.

The layout of the turbines — over the 8,970 acres — is based on a number of factors. Wind strength and consistency is key. But there are also a number of regulations about how far away a turbine can be from roads, homes and other structures. They also need to be a certain distance setback from other landowners who aren’t participating in the project.

In a traditional windfarm development, only the farmer with the turbine would get money through the tower lease payments. But Von Ohlen and the other farmers wanted their project to be different. The farmers with the turbines are still the only ones to get lease payments. But everybody who bought into the original project gets a share of the revenues based on how many acres they own.

The theory, by joining the project, you allow more turbines to be built, and you should still be compensated for that. Again, the farmers banded together to benefit all of them, instead of letting the power company decide — through tower placement — who benefits and who doesn’t.


The turbines create enough energy to power 29,000 homes.


In November 2005, the project started delivering energy.

Some projects have lease payments of $9,000 per tower, but at Trimont, the farmers get just $3,000 to $5,000. In most other projects, the payments end there. Here, there are additional land payments of $10 to $25 an acre, which are a share of the energy profits. Those payments help put the Trimont farmers ahead of other projects.

“We came up with a plan where everybody benefits regardless if you get a turbine or not,” Von Ohlen said. “It tends to make everybody happy.”

Our Perspective:

In finding energy independence we have to look at multiple solutions. There are places along the NJ coast that will provide great locations for these wind mills. I am sure PA also has some prime locations.

These farmers were thinking outside the box and provided a real solution that pays dividends. These are the steps we are all capable of taking.

To learn more about alternative energy solutions in NJ and PA email

Visit us on the web

Many consumers come to us asking about prices and figure that is the only barrier to purchasing a wind power system, although it goes much further than just prices. When putting up a wind power system you have to consider the following points:

1. Does your project site at least have 10mph wind speeds? check your wind speed here.

2. Does your property have at least a half acre with unobstructed views?

3. Does the city zoning allow a structure 42′ feet tall?

4. Does your utility company have an interconnection agreement?

5. Have you considering speaking to your neighbors to let them know you maybe purchasing a wind power system that maybe visible from their home?

Typically the city will require building permits to put up a solar or wind power system and there will be a fee for building permits you have to pay to the city. The city may also require tower engineering drawings that you may have to get from a certified engineer if you are building a custom tower to put up your wind turbine.

Should you want to know more about wind and solar opportunties in NJ and the Phila area, email or call HBS Solar 856-857-1239


AUSTIN, Texas — Texas, headquarters of America’s oil industry, is about to stake a fortune on wind power.

In what experts say is the biggest investment in the clean and renewable energy in U.S. history, utility officials in the Lone Star State gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from gusty West Texas to urban areas like Dallas.

“People think about oil wells and football in Texas, but in 10 years they’ll look back and say this was a brilliant thing to do,” said Patrick Woodson, vice president of E.On Climate & Renewables North America, which has about 1,200 megawatts of wind projects already in use or on the drawing board in Texas.

Texas is already the national leader in wind power, generating about 5,000 megawatts. But wind-energy advocates say the lack of transmission lines has kept a lot of that power from being put to use and has hindered the building of more turbines.

Supporters say Thursday’s 2-1 vote by the Texas Public Utility Commission is critical to getting that energy to more people.

“We will add more wind than the 14 states following Texas combined,” said PUC Commissioner Paul Hudson. “I think that’s a very extraordinary achievement. Some think we haven’t gone far enough, some think we’ve pushed too far.”

Most of Texas’ wind-energy production is in petroleum-producing West Texas, where nearly 4,000 wind turbines tower over oil pump jacks and capture the breeze that blows across the flat and largely barren landscape. The new plan would not directly build a slew of new turbines, but would add transmission lines capable of moving about 18,000 megawatts. One expert said that is enough to power more than 4 million Texas homes.

Supporters predict the plan will spur new wind power projects, create jobs, reduce pollution and lower energy costs. Texans pay some of the highest electric rates in the country, in part because of congested transmission lines.

Texas electric customers will bear the cost of construction over the next several years, paying about $3 or $4 more per month on their bills, according to Tom Smith, state director of the consumer group Public Citizen. But he predicted that increase would easily be offset by lower energy prices.

Smith called Texas’ current transmission lines a “two-lane dirt road” compared to the “renewable energy superhighway” the plan would build.

“We have all these wind plants up and operating. What we’re asking for is the superhighway to get the energy to the cities,” Smith said. “This will send signals to manufacturers all across the world Texas is ready to be a world-class player in renewable energy.”

The plan still needs to receive final approval later this year from the PUC. The transmission lines would not be up and running for three to five years. Who would build them and other details have yet to be worked out.

Environmentalists and landowners have launched protests against wind turbines from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Idaho and Texas’ South Padre Island, complaining that wind turbines spoil the view and threaten migrating birds.

But the turbines are already in West Texas, a sparsely populated region already pockmarked with oil drilling and exploration equipment. And this project will build only transmission lines.

PUC Commissioner Julie Caruthers Parsley was the lone dissenter, arguing the plan may add too much power for the electric grid to handle. She also worried it could delay other projects, such as construction of nuclear reactors.

The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation said companies that build wind and solar farms should bear more of the cost of the new lines, and it warned that those power sources cannot be expected to consistently produce abundant energy.

Even with the run-up in natural gas prices, more gas plants would be a good backup “because the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow all the time,” said Drew Thornley, a policy analyst for the organization.

The wind energy industry has benefited from the support of billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens, who is planning to build the world’s largest wind farm on about 200,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle. When completed, Pickens’ 2,700 turbines will be capable of producing enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes.

Pickens has become an evangelist for wind power as a way to break the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, launching an advertising blitz in which he warned: “I’ve been an oilman all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.”

“It’s a good decision,” Pickens spokesman Jay Rosser said of Thursday’s PUC vote. “It recognizes the important role wind in Texas will play in meeting the state’s growing energy and energy stability needs.”

To learn more about alternative energy sources in NJ and Phila surrounding area email .  Call HBS Solar 856-857-1230

As reported in

Two years ago, under the auspices of the American Wind Energy Association, a group of us from the wind industry began working with the Department of Energy, General Electric, AEP, and many others to take a hard look at what it would take to get 20% of America’s electric supply from wind energy. The resulting report is helping lay the groundwork for a dramatic change in our approach to energy. For years, the wind energy community has argued that smart investment in transmission, siting, manufacturing and technology could allow wind power to take the main stage for our nation’s electricity. The report largely vindicates that belief, outlines the benefits, and illuminates the path to get there.

These past months have underscored the serious shortcomings in U.S. energy policy. $140 oil, $4 gasoline and run-ups in the cost of coal and natural gas are taking us to new price plateaus. Energy cuts across nearly ever issue that matters to our daily lives — economic well-being, national security, global climate change. As our energy woes devolve from concern to crisis, it is time we look more seriously — and honestly — for answers.

Renewables alone will not solve this crisis. Those of us with years in the industry know both the promise and limitations of renewable energy, and readily acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. But renewables can make an enormous dent in the problem. According to our report, a move to twenty percent wind would decrease carbon emissions from electricity by twenty-five percent. Twenty percent wind would support about 500,000 jobs in the U.S., 150,000 of which would come directly from the wind industry. Revenues to local communities in the form of property taxes and other payments would run more than $1.5 billion annually. Twenty percent wind would significantly reduce demand for natural gas, our most versatile and cleanest-burning fuel, which is incredibly valuable for heating, petrochemical production, transportation and other uses.

All of these things can be achieved.

Similar investment in solar power could mean an additional 10% of our energy could be supplied by the sun. And long term investment in increased energy efficiency, including cars that can be powered by electricity, will mean a substantial reduction in our dependence on foreign oil.

What will be required is a national commitment on the part of elected leaders and substantial investment by the business community. There are certainly constraints to our ability to multiply our wind farms at such a serious rate, but, as the study suggests, these obstacles can be overcome. Chief among them is the need for significant new energy infrastructure, especially extensive transmission lines.

We have reached a turning point. Wind energy is no longer the pet project of environmentalists. It is a serious business with serious players, including General Electric, Mitsubishi, Siemens, and many other global titans. It is also part of a real answer to some of the most serious problems we face. If we combine our efforts to expand renewables with strong efficiency standards and a substantial increase in conventional domestic energy production, we can be within reach of solving our energy crisis.

This is not the kind of quick fix that Washington so often hopes for while doing nothing in the interim. There are no quick fixes. If we are going to confront our energy crisis successfully, we have to be focused on the long game. In ten years we were able to take our wind energy company from a two-man operation to the multi-billion dollar business it is today. In a similar time period Texas has seen wind grow to the point where we get nearly 5% of our electricity from the wind. We can get a lot done when we set our minds to the task. A national commitment today will mean economic growth, good jobs, a safer country, and a healthier planet. It’s time to get moving. :

Our Perspective

The alternative energy markets are taking steps to become mainstream. Solar and Wind are becoming the new buzzwords.

The future is now!

To learn more about solar and wind opportunities in NJ and PA contact HBS Solar 856-857-1230.

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