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Will the Deepwater Horizon Acccident Help or Hinder Solar?


We are at an interesting crossroads in the history of renewable energy. With the BP Deepwater Horizon accident serving as a vivid hallmark of the need for change as it continues to spew an estimated 210,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico daily, and the climate bill, dubbed The American Power Act of 2010, just unveiled, the world is looking on to see what will unfold in the next couple of months.

Coming at a time when the Obama administration is all ready taking a hard, long look at our energy policy, the BP oil debacle in the Gulf Coast may be the catalyst that helps drive our nation toward a future based on clean, renewable, homegrown energy sources and a national commitment to energy efficiency. Many believe this to be the turning point. FoxBusiness reports:

The environmental and economic disaster playing out in the Gulf is a stark reminder that only with additional funding and incentives can alternative forms of energy take hold, said Monique Hanis of the Solar Energy Industries Association. While the fossil fuels industry has received upwards of $74 billion in subsidies in recent years, government aid to the solar industry amounts to about $1 billion during the same period.

"I think this spill is a reminder that we need to diversify our energy portfolio and develop clean, reliable and safe sources like solar," Hanis said. "I think this represents a huge opportunity for us to shift government funding from the fossil fuel sector to the renewable energy sector and specifically to solar."

It would probably be fair to state that most Americans realize the need for a change in our energy policy. That change needs to focus on developing and implementing clean, sustainable energy sources while helping to wean America off of its foreign energy suppliers. This will take time, but we need to start now. In an opinion article in The Capital Times:

This issue cannot wait. History will prove it to be one of the pivot points of our nation's success and stability. No economy can survive without adequate sources of energy, but it's questionable whether we can survive politically if we continue to spend over $1 billion a day on international petroleum supplies...perhaps the public is ready to look realistically at the true costs of our nation's energy options.

Clean energy options like wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and other strategies offer tremendous potential for creating new jobs, reclaiming our nation's energy independence, and putting real limits on global warming pollutants while protecting our nation's air, water and natural environment...

Right now is the moment for the Senate to recognize the public pressure building to redirect our nation's enormous appetite for energy toward job-creating, clean energy solutions.

As the politicking of the new climate bill unfolds, it must begin to address this issue and channel more of our efforts into effective strategies for increasing the energy producing capacity of America's clean energy industries. In response to the Senate climate bill, Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Rhone Resch released a statement on how it may relate to the solar industry:

We're pleased with the effort to place a price on carbon, an essential step in stopping global warming and stimulating greater deployment of renewable energy sources like solar. But to really make a difference, we need to ensure that any revenue from this legislation is targeted directly at deploying renewable energy like solar - an energy source that 92 percent of the Americans say they want greater use of, now.

We also believe that for any climate legislation to succeed, it must embrace one of solar's key strengths - its diverse applications. Distributed generation solar, like photovoltaics and solar water heating, as well as utility-scale solar power are both crucial to fighting climate change and should be rewarded for generating clean energy...

Senators Kerry and Lieberman deserve a great deal of credit for pushing ahead with these vitally important issues. We should not pass up this opportunity to move America's clean energy economy forward.

With the help of new climate bill and because of the Deep Horizon accident, renewable energy may be on the verge of becoming more of a household word across America. If so, the events unfolding in the Gulf Coast may end up having a green lining for America's energy industry.