The Week in Cleantech (Dec. 9 to Dec. 15) – No Christmas This Year For Renewable Energy

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On Tuesday, Dan Lewis warned us not to hold our breath for offshore wind (I really like the boat pic). As prime on-shore wind areas are exhausted over the next decade, especially in Europe, many people have their sight set on the ocean as the next wind frontier. However, technical and cost hurdles may not make this a viable proposition for a few more years yet. One factor that could help: the cost and availability of wind turbines. But that’s showing little sign of improvement. 

On Wednesday, Mike Millikin at Green Car Congress told us that a federal court had rejected challenge to California’s vehicle GHG regulations. This could provide a significant boost to the clean car market in California and in other jurisdictions following its lead

On Wednesday, Stephanie I. Cohen at Market Watch wondered whether the solar industry could live without the federal tax credit. The conclusion: sure, but solar development will slow and will be restricted to a few states with strong incentive programs. Does that also apply to wind? Industry actors certainly seem to think so, although wind appears to be in a stronger position to compete against thermal generation at the higher end of the cost spectrum without subsidies. 

On Wednesday, Rachel Barron at Greentech Media told us that Shell was shedding solar. This is probably good news for company shareholders. While Shell is technically an ‘energy’ company, it is neither a specialist in power generation nor manufacturing. The company’s efforts in next-generation biofuels, given its extensive expertise in all areas of the liquid fuel value chain, could yield much more interesting results. 

On Thursday, Renewable Energy Access informed us that Senate had voted down renewable energy’s tax title. It’s probably no surprise that, despite giving renewables the cold shoulder, US law makers still managed to funnel pork ethanol’s way. Given the state of financial markets at the moment, this doesn’t come at a particularly opportune time for alt energy investors. Nevertheless, it is probably safe to assume this is just a temporary set back, and I am quite certain that something will materialize at the federal level for the sector before too long. Nationally and globally, there are definitely industries that are doing worse than this one. 

On Friday, Jim Fraser at The Energy Blog relayed Ausra’s announcement of the first US manufacturing plant for solar thermal power systems, and reviewed the background on Ausra and their innovative CLFR technology.

The Week in Cleantech is a weekly roundup of our favorite cleantech and alt energy blog posts and stories from across the web. If you know of a good piece that you think should be included here, don’t hesitate to let us know!


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