Clean tech has seen a boost as the U.S. pours government funding into renewable energy, and China looks set to reap much of the benefits. Latest example: a Chinese wind-turbine company has just become the exclusive supplier for one of the largest wind-farm developments in the U.S.
The Shenyang Power Group has signed on to supply 240 of its massive 2.5-megawatt wind turbines to a 36,000-acre development in West Texas. The Wall Street Journal reports that the wind farm is also slated to receive $1.5 billion in financing from the Export-Import Bank of China.
This comes as the U.S. has increasingly out-sourced much of its wind turbine development. Less than a quarter of wind turbine components installed in the U.S. came from domestic production, and Europe currently holds the lion's share of turbine manufacturing. A Norwegian firm launched the world's first full-scale floating wind turbine this September.
As a reflection of this, just 15 percent of the 2,800 new jobs from the new wind-turbine development will take the form of U.S. jobs. The U.S. government has tried to help the nation's renewable energy industry with $500 million in grants -- but it will likely take a while for U.S. wind power manufacturers to play catch-up after struggling with an uneven market.
Still, this doesn't mean U.S. companies and entrepreneurs have been complete laggards. General Electric has invested in gearless wind turbines with an eye on tapping the European market, and one of PopSci's previous Inventions Awards went to the inventor of small wind power rotors.
So much for Obama's green job for America. They are already gone before we ever got them. He is such an ignorant president. His promises meant absolutely nothing. He could have subsidized 20k for every home in the USA to convert partially or totally to solar. Nope, spent it on Tarp. The tech exists and all we need to do is train installers and install millions of systems and create many "American" jobs. Demand would be up and prices down with more manufactures beefing up production and becoming more effecient.This would decentralize production, making our power infrastructure less vulnerable to terrorism and create a real need to upgrade to smart grid technology. The need for new power grids would be minimalized by this approach. I forgot to say leaving the current production sources available to fuel new industries with cheaper not more costly energy. OOPS! I forgot Uncle Sams allegience is to corporations and not to us. Power companies would have to buy power from us the common man and that would minimize their control on electric power by creating massive wind farms and solar farms. By the way, this would also create a vast service and aftermaket industry. Obama's plan is a slap in the face to our countries struggle for energy independence. Just lip service as usual.
orangebloodedal, you're an idiot.
At least I have a plan
Everone thought George Westinghouse was an idiot to disagree with Edison that AC power was the wave of the future. I beleive his thinking outside of the box made him an idiot also. Look at us today. He was a brilliant, forward thinking engineer/inventor.
Imagine this 150,000,000 homes generating just 5KW of solar power. All hot water suppoted by solar systems.
That is 7.5 trillion kilowatts ++ of power. One heck of a wind farm I say.To lose 10% of the power grid you would need to take 1.5 million homes off line at the same time. Not likely. If you need some extra power just like in the old days borrow it from your neighbor that went on vacation yesterday. With our country spanning 4 times zones we could easily generate power 10 /12 hrs per day. This method also can use much smaller more efficient storage batteries than the ones not invented for the big farms as of today. I know I am still an idiot, but this does not require any / "0" introduction of new technologies except maybe power transferring or smart grid technology to make power more effectively distributed. OUT OF THE BOX into your home in days, weeks or months not decades.
That would make a lot of sense, except for that 20k per household would have dropped in value severely as the banking institutions that held that money began to collapse and disappear without governmental backing. There are a few other reasons why the scheme wouldn't work. Firstly there isn't enough silicon currently in the hands of the world to do this. The initiative would require an entirely new infrastructure for the generation and production of panels and the collection of the materials inherent. The cost of silicon would skyrocket overnight, likely making the panels themselves far more expensive than they currently are which is doubly unfortunate given the vastly lessoned buying power of the american dollar at the time (Remember, this one done instead of the tarp). Thirdly, this is physically impossible. As much as 81% of the nation lives in cities and suburbs, while suburbs can take to solarization well cities can not, there is simply not enough sky per person in most major metropolitan cities. It could be done, but would require a pretty significant amount of civil and construction engineering, something that 20k per household could not accomplish.
Finally of course the windfarms are being produced overseas. Wind was not a particularly american obsession before the collapse and even with the renewable funding scheme it's taken a backseat to to methods of generation that could better fulfill the demographics of the country. You have a plan, it's just not a good one.
There is enough sand (which contains Silicon) on the face of the Earth to cover the world in solar cells. Every gallon of paint and almost every pill you take contains SiO2 as filler.It is probably the most abundant element on Earth. Until now there has been no incentive to initiate refining of this material en masse into the silicon needed for such a massive endeavor. If there is money to be made there will be someone there to produce the material required. This in itself could spawn even more industries. Get your head out the past and look to the future.
As for the TARP printed money, most is still sitting in the banks and has never been released. As soon as they do "Hello inflation". Most collapes should have been allowed to occur. Those institutions that got it showed no increase in fiscal responsibility or accountability.
No significant jobs have been created with the money that was spent. We should have had a Marsall Plan for energy independence with all this money. All we and our prodigy will get is the "BILL"
Yup 2.25 trillion dollars producing less than 75 gigawatts baseload power. You forgot about nightime, winter, orientation, converters, and cloudy days and slipped a decimal point.
$2.25 trillion in nuclear power would give you 2250 gigawatts of baseload power. A much better investment.
I said that there isn't enough silicon in the hands of men to do this. Not underground. Of course there is lots of silicon, that doesn't meant that it's economically feasible without ensuing supply/demand cost exchanges. How about you look your head into the present before telling others to look into the future. You have to actually be able to do the things you suggest, not just want to live with them having been done. None of that particularly matters though, as you're right. The industries would be spawned. However much like most other manufacturing processes they would not be started domestically. There is nothing inherently difficult about silicon refinement, and as soon as the plants were made investors would buy elsewhere where it can be done more cheaply. It's illogical to believe that the "environmental industry" is one of production, as any sort of mass production would almost intrinsically be performed at cheaper expense overseas. It's mind bending to think that this is somehow immune to that omnipresent rule of modern economic globalization. That being a redistribution of economic effort to raise up local working populaces while at once more efficiently and cheaply producing goods for mass consumption.
The offshoring of the green agenda in this particular instance is simply due to a lack of produceable innovation in america. Once we start getting results from research we will begin to produce domestically, (Though not the constituent parts of whats produced). It may or may not come back in this specific area, but thats on the ingenuity of the learned american populace to decide.
As for the tarp, thats an entirely different discussion, which I would be happy to have but this is neither the form nor the place.
I agree with your bang for the buck. Thanks for correcting my math error. God put a lot of power in the atom. Fission is neither green nor renewable but is far better than fossil fuels. I am not advocating 100% solar as the current technology is not there, though if it were much more efficient I would. I know its current limitations. I know cities are not able to use solar for the biggest part of their power. I am just emphasizing the point that there is no comprehensive energy plan;just more government waste and corruption and WE the People lose again. Just give people who can the advantage of using solar because it can supplement the local grid especially in the South. Every watt of renewable energy is a step forward for our nation.
What they need to do is allow the solar or wind to be bought by the people and instaled by the people.
Make deals with, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe's to sell the pannels or small turbines. Make it simle so everyone will install it. Alot of the cost for anything is in the labor. Take out the labor or at least make it easier to install and there is more insentive to buy.
I am not one of those people stuck in the present saying Why? I am one of those looking to the future and saying Why not? There is economic reality but paradigms shifts can happen with one great idea. The digital watch is a great example and so is the transistor. Green / renewable energy may have the mantle to trigger the next shift. I agree with The Shuma on his economics of the present but this too shall pass. I just pray our nation has what it takes to be a leader in this shift and innovate with a new vigor. If not we too may pass from the great nation we have become.
Edison fought against A/C power, it was Tesla that advocated it, and invented the first a/c motor... Edison demonstrated how wrong A/C was by electrocuting an elephant, which video can be found online...
exactly what i thought would happen, all the green tech manufacturing jobs like turbines and solar panels would be created in china. this countries economy is doomed
There is a large wind energy company based in Colorado. Vestas from Europe. This could have been produced here. I agree with orangebloodedal the bang for the buck we got out of the government dumping borrowed money at this was small. Instead of using it as a cover to pay back the groups who helped elected you, could have used it to fund research. Thin film solar, more efficient smart grid and small scale production and storage at home and a 1000 more ideas that could be looked into.
The carbon tax instead about being green, its about controlling the means of production. If they were interested in making things better, a simple call to America's ingenuity and the positives of America like jfk did for the moon shot would have produced more tangible good than a trillion in borrowed money.
you sound like you really looked into this...I hope you are blessed for your passion and insight
meant for orangebloodedal
I can't believe that I signed up, just to comment on this story. I have to agree with orangebloodedal. They are on to something. The U.S. is blessed with innumerable resources for green energy. There is the sunbelt, 2 mountain ranges for geothermal, and a massive prairie perfect for wind farms. Not to mention the Gulf stream for tidal farms. We also have a large area of desert, perfect for silicon refinement. With smart, out of the box thinking and investment, we could probably have already taken significant dips into our reliance on other countries to fuel our tech and energy supplies. We can make plastics from algae now even. No need for petroleum any more. At all.
Sunbelt- solar arrays, both along highway systems and in open fields that if built correctly can also allow farming of those same fields. Plus there is the Atlantic and Pacific ocean current systems, along with the Gulf of Mexico. Wouldn't be hard to harvest the tidal energy from these for coastal cities, where most of the U.S. population is.
Prairie- solar and wind farms. Both can inhabit farmland with very minimal interference. See the Netherlands or Denmark for an example.
Colder/ darker regions like the northern states- geothermal. There are 2 significant mountain ranges in the U.S. that can be drilled not for coal, but for the thermal heat from the earth's mantle. A couple of bores into Pennsylvania can easily power most of that region. Same for the Seattle area.
When used in conjuction on a national smart grid, only one state would be left out. Hawaii. But then they have an abundance of active volcanoes (obvious geothermal), so no real worry!
I will now be accepting votes into office to replace the dummies we have now :)
OK, let's be clear. If T. Booone Pickens is involved, it's a SCAM. The wind power farm is a SCAM. Pickens is only in it for the MONEY. If you check, you will find that IF you try and power up witn "wind power" you have to have STANDBY power plants up and running. Because when the wind STOPS, something has to come on line INSTANTLY or you have a brownout. IOW, you will have the reliability of Iraq. Now it may not bother you to have Oprah flicker on and off a few times every show, but BUSINESS won't stand for it. So with "wind power" there IS NO SAVINGS. It's a SCAM. As is the whole globull warming SCAM. That is just to make Algore more MONEY.
Yes orangebloodedal... I am imagining 150,000,000 homes generating 5KW each.
A friend of mine just installed such a system last month.
The final cost was just under $100K (originally it was only supposed to cost $60K, but costs just kept adding up).
Of course, the US taxpayer (and the Chinese government bond holders) paid for $30K of it. Thank heavens we don't have Federal debts or deficits.
And the taxpayers of the Virginia paid another $12K of it, even though we are forced to lay off teachers and close rest rooms on the interstates.
And the Dominion Electric ratepayers will be forced by law to pay 50cents/KW-hr for this marvelously green electricity that a nuclear plant generates for 1.3 cents/kw-hr. THINK OF THE SAVINGS!!
So those 150 million homes like my friend's would cost 15 TRILLION dollars. Chump change indeed.
And lets say those 150 million homes needed new batteries every 5 years... that's another couple of trillion dollars.
And inverters, they only last 10-15 years or so. So let's send another trillion to China for those.
And every 20-30 years, we have to replace the solar panels for another few trillion.
But think of the green jobs in battery recycling - which we all know is wonderful, safe and clean industry.
Green is a religion, not a serious form of energy (at present).
Help me out here. Why else would T. Boone Pickens or anyone else build something if not for a profit? For charity?
I understand it is cheaper to get these items from China, just once it would be nice for a company to do the right thing and not the cheap thing. I understand they have a "bottom line" and shareholders and all the other reasons businesses have used to send work and manufacturing to China. At what point will these businesses do the right thing for the country? Of course a lot of this is our fault, we want the best for the cheapest price we can find it. I have a little game I play called, Don't buy Chinese. When I have the opportunity I buy items made just about anywhere other than China. It is a challenge and when I do find something not made in China, I'll often buy it even if I don't need it right at that moment. Maybe if we were all willing to spend a little more for items NOT made in China, these companies would get the message and start to invest in this country.
Truly the right thing would be to forget about our country having to be better than their country, and buying wind turbines from whoever can best meet the demand - which in this case is China. Buying wind turbines from China is not only the cheap thing at this point, it is the Right thing and the cheap thing to do. Only making purchases like this and showing American manufacturers that they'll have to step it up to gain some market share will benefit this country in any way.
I love that this article was written by Jeremy Hsu.
Did popsci outsource their science writing to China also?!?!
Haha - clearly China just knows more about technology!
Never fear, GE Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Immelt, joined with Dear Leader to push the global warming scam to sell GE wind turbines, solar panels and cells, hybrid locomotive engines, etc.
While I agree that we currently do not have the requisite available funds in place for mass solar, or wind, that would be enough to fill our needs AND pay for itself, the simplest way is also the most effective and cheapest. A geothermal plant on Mt St Helens. We got lakes nearby, and can channel to the ocean nearby for more. The hot water, what we don't convert at the plant, can easily be piped to any of the nearby cities that are close enough to the mntn to get it there still hot, with insulated pipeline, of course.(it is mountains, so it's fairly cold) Fairly being the neat word. This mountain is not cold, not like a glacier, there is normally not even a lot of snow on it except in the winter. Rivers on two sides, and only 40 miles by air to the ocean, maybe less. The destruction plain is tailor made flatland, perfect for the various facilities that would logically be close for efficiency. I can go on, but it would be easier to show anyone willing to look. Perhaps the best of all, we here in Washington have been burned by a massive energy scam, and we ain't goin for it again. Then there's TBoone. We also dealt with him handily, too; when he was poised to make a raid on Boeing. We shut him down in two days. On a weekend, no less. I also have a plan that would pay for about 20 mil a yr of the construction, but I am not gonna give it up without something real. But it is functionally simple, using existing tech, and is self perpetuating, with little to no cost after startup. It would pay for itself in 2 yrs, all in, with profit going out at the same time.
China doesn't know about technology. What they're good about is copying technology.
Damn why can't the United States build these solar turbines and solar cells on our own. There are millions of unemployed people who are probably willing to work with lower pay.
And it's time to build new nuclear power plants with safer technology and proper storage.
These companies and the government need to guard these innovations and technologies better to have the advantage.
Seems to me the new administration have no clue about what they're doing. We are $105 Trillion in debt and all they want to do is spend spend spend nonsense crap.
With only $15 Trillion GDP how are we suppose to pay the debt. I just hope the US$ doesn't go down in value too badly.
Whether or not it makes sense to build wind farms, we still should be building the majority of our equipment in the United States(God Bless America). We are accepting shoddy work from some of the foreign countries only because the product is cheaper. However, in the long run, it has cost us much, much more. Just look at the baby food and the drywall from China!! Who is going to pay for this? Few jobs and people to pay taxes and have pride in America is the result from spending all that money out of the country.
Good debate but all in vain. If there is money to be made
someone will do it. With our current administraton it will not be us.
I think it stinks that the US can't build wind turbines for a decent price. Apparently, corporate America won't consider it if there isn't a large profit in doing it. I know nuke power plants make more bang for the buck but those are expensive too.