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Kansas Governor Advocates Solar Energy During GANA Fall Conference

Post Time:Sep 04,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:453

“You have to understand how much potential there is in solar,” Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson began during his presentation this morning as part of today’s @Glassnation Energy Seminars. Parkinson pointed out that only about 1 percent of energy used in the U.S. right now is from solar energy. “We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. The amount of solar is so limited in this country right now—so we have tremendous opportunities.”

The governor delivered the keynote speech today, the last day of the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fall Conference, during a series of energy seminars co-sponsored by Solar Glazing Magazine. Gov. Parkinson addressed “The World Energy Challenge … A Great Opportunity for the United State.”

Parkinson began by explaining, “I spent the last three years learning as much as I could about renewable energy and its potential, and then promoting it.” He noted that Kansas is “well suited to renewable energy sources,” including both wind and solar, but was “behind” in its investments in this area.

Following background on energy usage in this country he provided some new information on solar energy. He explained that we now have approximately 1 million megawatts (mW) of power in this country and less than 10,000 MW are from solar energy. He asked his audience rhetorically why that might be.

“If solar energy is such a great thing ... .how come we don’t have solar panels all over the place?” Parkinson asked. “The reason is very simple: solar is very expensive.” He noted that while costs are dropping dramatically, solar energy remains significantly more expensive than traditional forms of energy—and even other forms of renewable energy. “The reason we don’t have broad-scale solar energy right now is cost.”

However, he added that based on current projections from the Department of Energy, we won’t be far off before it is competitive, perhaps as soon as 2015.

“Here’s the problem,” Parkinson continued. “In order for the cost of solar to decline there has to be a marketplace for solar energy. There has to be places for the folks attempting to innovate to sell their products.”

To build that marketplace, which he predicted would in turn promote further research and development, he advocated the federal government’s support of solar energy.

“We need some additional engineering breakthroughs … or for some reasons for companies to go out and build solar,” Parkinson said. “If in fact we’re going to continue to advance … we’re going to need some help from the federal government. The price point is simply too high for the free market to make it on its own.”

Upon that point the launched into his avocation for a National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which he noted could be among the most important sections contained within the cap-and-trade bill currently waiting to be addressed by the Senate (

Parkinson noted, “Most people watching [the cap-and-trade bill] believe it will not pass the Senate.” If it fails, he added, “We’re encouraging our delegation to work with delegations around the country and revive just the RES portion of the current cap-and-trade bill.”

He encouraged his audience this morning to contract their Congressional representatives and encourage their support of a national RES.

Parkinson concluded by commenting on the impact of the recession, noting the toll it has taken in Kansas. “But,” he added, “I continue to be an optimist, and there are some very positive signs that we have either reached the bottom or are starting to come out of this … things are starting to look up.” Parkinson added that as companies begin to look toward opportunities in the future, “Your industry is extremely well-positioned to look toward the future.”

Although the GANA Fall Conference concludes today., stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for further updates from the meeting.

Source: usgnnAuthor: shangyi

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