Political and economic developments certainly gave renewed purpose to the ASES conference as speaker after speaker hailed the resurgent interest in solar energy and exhorted the participants to redouble their efforts to take advantage of this unique combination of events. There has never been a better chance to integrate solar technology into the mainstream of energy generation not only in the U.S. but also in other countries throughout the world. Solar energy can make a significant contribution to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. I have summarized some of the themes of the conference and in the months ahead SolarTown will revisit some of these issues in the Learning and Community sections of our site.
Archive for May, 2009
My impressions of Buffalo are mixed. I am staying downtown, which is all but deserted except for the participants of SOLAR 2009. There is not a solar panel in sight, which leads one to ask how the solar conference ended up here. Next year, I think it is in Arizona, which does seem to make more sense. I did see a bus run on natural gas, but nothing solar. The architecture is depressingly modernistic, or Stalinist revival. One building could easily pass for the brother of one of the famous Stalin skyscrapers in Moscow. And the city court looks about 15 storey and is almost completely windowless; that is right, windowless. There are a lot of statues of buffaloes, which should come of no surprise.
As you fly in, you cannot help but notice the new wind mills dotting the landscape in the rural areas outside the city. They are all relatively small, not the huge windmills that you see in some of the areas near Palm Springs in California. I remember meeting a man back in the 1980s who was adamantly against windmills because of the humming sound that they made. As we surge into the future of alternative energy, we are going to have to figure out ways to accommodate a little humming, but there undoubtedly will be new battles with legitimate arguments on both sides of the aisle. Exhibit Number One of course is the battle between trees and solar panels in California, and that will be just the tip of the iceberg.