Harnessing Renewable Energy in Electric Power Systems (Hardback)

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Harnessing Renewable Energy in Electric Power Systems : Theory, Practice,…

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Switching to Solar: What We Can Learn from Germany’s Success in Harnessing Clean Energy

“My vision is that when I fly up and down the state of California I see every available space blanketed with solar. That is my goal.” –California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, October 23, 2008

“We know that the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany. It is time for America to lead again.” –President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009

This is an inspiring look at how new ‘alternative energy’ policies are leading the way in the fight against the global energy crisis.

The looming threat of global warming may be the greatest challenge of the present generation. Confronted by the potential of such a massive worldwide calamity, the average citizen often wonders what he or she can do.

In this inspiring and optimistic story of a green revolution in the making, veteran science and technology journalist Bob Johnstone shows how the unrelenting efforts of a small band of grassroots activists have discovered ways to make solar a practical retail energy solution. The crucial driver for the adoption of solar energy has not been technology but policy. Focusing on initiatives in Germany, he describes the use of the “feed-in tariff” as the most successful policy mechanism yet invented to spur on widespread deployment of solar energy.

Turning to California, Johnstone reviews the efforts of policy wonks to create new schemes to make solar affordable at the municipal level. Pioneers in both tree-hugging Berkeley and golf-playing Palm Desert have united in common cause, and other towns and cities are planning to follow suit. As with other emerging trends, as California goes so goes the rest of the country.

Concluding with a positive view of the future, Johnstone describes the creativity of many startups fueled by venture capital. Innovation is being applied to every part of the process, from silicon production to financing and installation. The details may still be uncertain, but there’s no doubt that the solar revolution is underway.