Clean Energy's Outlook - 08.07.2011
[SUITERS] Finding the future of energy in an ancient land.
[DAVID ROSENBLATT] Israel has the best sun, has people living where that is, has transmission lines, and has available land.
[SUITERS] You make it sound like a simple equation.
[ROSENBLATT] Yeah. What could be hard?
[SUITERS] Israel strives for energy independence using cutting-edge solar technology, which is finding a home in the United States.
[RUSSELL HANCOCK] This is going to be a place where America's energy future is invented.
[SUITERS] And Silicon Valley, America's high-tech capital, takes on a new challenge.
[SULLIVAN] So you're one of the high-tech refugees that have switched over to clean energy. There's a lot of you guys here, isn't there?
[BOB LOFTIS] Yeah, there are quite a few. I'm meeting more every day.
[SUITERS] Meet the tech-savvy workers and entrepreneurs who may bring us the next big thing in clean energy.
Plus, the debt limit showdown is over -- for now. Trillions in budget cuts lie ahead. But what will the impact be on energy spending? We'll mix it up with two former longtime senators about the energy implications of the looming budget battle. This is "energyNOW!"
Hello, I'm Tyler Suiters. Welcome to "energyNOW!", a weekly look at America's energy challenges and what we're doing about them. Thalia Assuras is on assignment. This week, a look at the oldest energy source around -- the Sun -- and how companies are harnessing its power, providing clean, renewable electricity and creating jobs. Before we explain what's happening here at home, let's look at a country facing very similar energy challenges to the U.S. -- Israel. It is completely dependent on foreign oil, and its biggest supplier of natural gas, Egypt, is hardly reliable right now, after recent attacks on the Egyptian stretch of gas pipeline that feeds Israel. And Israel is eager to draw more heavily on renewable energy, so the country is turning to a natural resource it has in abundance -- sunshine.
This is a NASA map from space, tracking the sunniest spots on the Earth. The darker the red, the better for collecting and using solar energy. The United States has a deep red band across the southwest. And the whole of Israel is on the northern tier of the Earth's sunniest stretch. As the CEO of an Israeli solar company said, "The Sun cannot be sabotaged." And while Israel still needs help from the rest of the world to claim its energy independence, solar technology that's developing right now could soon be generating power here in the U.S. More now in our continuing look at the Israel Connection.
Israel's Negev Desert, once home to Abraham, the Ottomans, and a stretch of the Spice Road. Arid, unforgiving, and brutally bright. But that's not to say there's nothing new under the Sun. Alongside a highway in the southern Negev sits the Arava Institute. Housed on a working kibbutz, it's a hothouse for solar energy innovation -- innovation that could make its way to the United States. Among the technologies in the testing phase here, a solar panel field that sits on the water, designed to power coastal areas that don't have a lot of empty land. And this, a small solar array, designed to better collect the Sun's energy.
[EYAL RICHTER] Each row of flat mirrors concentrates a primary concentration on one of those up there.
[SUITERS] Eyal Richter is the brains behind Verilite, a solar energy system that he says is especially efficient. One of Richter's brighter ideas was coming to the Arava Institute to put his product through its paces.
Why test this on a kibbutz? Why here?
[RICHTER] Well, here, they have a very comfortable setting for new technologies. This is a validation center, run by Capital Nature.
[SUITERS] It's a bit of a lab, high-tech lab.
[RICHTER] Yeah, right, it's a high-tech lab for new renewable technology.
[SUITERS] A lab that focuses on the most ancient form of energy, the Sun, a natural resource Israel has in abundance.
[RICHTER] Everybody has been using the energy of the Sun since Neanderthals. So I think it's a very natural connection. There are palm trees. They need the Sun to grow. We grow energy.
[DAVID ROSENBLATT, CO-FOUNDER, ARAVA POWER COMPANY] It's funny, when you're in Israel and you start talking about solar energy, it's amazing how many people can quote the Bible and give you references to the ability of the Sun and the respect of any people -- the Moslems, the Jews, the Christians, about the Sun and the power of the Sun.
[SUITERS] American David Rosenblatt is helping Israel realize its clean energy potential. His company, Arava Power, built a solar panel field in the Negev.
[ROSENBLATT] Israel has the best sun, has people living where that is, has transmission lines, and has available land.
[SUITERS] You make it sound like a simple equation.
[ROSENBLATT] Yeah. What could be hard?
[SUITERS] Israel does have a long history of solar power. Almost 90% of its homes have rooftop solar water heaters. But solar energy generates only about 1% of Israel's electricity, so it has to rely on imported fossil fuels for power.
[ROSENBLATT] If you look at the Arab states, they actually have a grid that they share among each other. So, if a country doesn't produce enough power, they can get power from another country.
[SUITERS] Israel has no backup.
[ROSENBLATT] Right, so, like the United States, if New Jersey doesn't create enough power, then it goes with some of its neighbors, and more power is provided to New Jersey, so it doesn't have to produce all of its power. In Israel, if it doesn't produce power, it goes black.
[SUITERS] With that in mind, Israel's government just approved a plan to get 10% of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020. That's about the same total the U.S. gets today from renewables like solar and wind and hydropower and biomass.
But in some ways, the U.S. is following Israel's lead in solar energy. A trip to the northern reaches of the Negev is a little like looking in the mirror, a preview of what's to come in the U.S. But the view is much better way up there, almost 200 feet off the ground.
The desert has a certain beauty to it, but I bet you've never seen anything quite like this. A little surprise for you -- an entire field of concentrated solar panels, all pointing pretty much right at us.
This solar thermal demonstration facility and all the 1,600 mirrors you see laid out before us, they belong to BrightSource Energy, an American company with deep ties to Israel, a company now building a much bigger version of this power plant in California's Mojave Desert, the biggest solar project under construction in the entire world, with the financial backing of Google, among others. Arnold Goldman is the founder of BrightSource.
[GOLDMAN] We can only effectively work with good direct sunlight, excellent, I'd say, direct sunlight. So we have limited areas, but we work very, very effectively from those areas.
[SUITERS] The Mojave isn't as sun-drenched as the Negev, but California does have more of another critical resource -- land. Israel is only a little bit bigger than the state of New Jersey. And that lack of space could mean a conflict between energy security and national security. Yossi Inbar led Israel's Environmental Ministry for two years.
[INBAR] And some of this land, unfortunately, because we are in a war zone, I would say, we need to keep it for practicing. The Air Force needs to practice. And that's -- solar panels and bombs don't come together.
[SUITERS] But solar panels could be valuable weapons in a different battle -- the fight against climate change.
Do you think of climate change as a security threat?
[INBAR] The climate change is a security threat if -- for example, the delta of the Nile is now bigger in culture and feeding ground for the Egyptians, to give an example. And if sea water will rise and there will be no -- no, no land, no agriculture, no food, stuff will be our problem at the end of the day.
[SUITERS] A geopolitical problem that David Rosenblatt says could mean an opportunity for clean energy cooperation.
[ROSENBLATT] So if you look over there at those trees --
[SUITERS] All the date trees off in the distance, yeah.
[ROSENBLATT] So right beyond that, and I'm talking, we could walk for five minutes and be there, is Jordan.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] To see more of the interviews in this story go to energynow.com.
[ROSENBLATT] We could literally hop across the border if we were allowed -- that's Jordan. Why not -- why couldn't you just put panels there and run a wire?
[SUITERS] And share the electricity.
[ROSENBLATT] Share the electricity.
[SUITERS] And share an ancient reverence for the power of the Sun.
Arava Power's solar project in the Negev Desert is scheduled to go online later this month, and when it does, the Ketura power plant will become the first ever large-scale solar field to generate power and deliver that power to Israel's electric grid.
And "energyNOW!" will have more stories from Israel in the coming weeks, including a discovery that is dramatically changing its energy picture, and a look at some of Israel's off-the-wall energy innovations that could find their way to the United States.
Here at home, the U.S. government and clean energy companies are searching for new innovations to make solar power more affordable. Take a look at this "energyNOW!" reality meter. The cost of electricity from new photovoltaic solar cells is about 21 cents a kilowatt hour. That according to the Energy Information Administration. And that is more than double the national average electricity price of about 10 cents a kilowatt hour. Most of that electricity comes from fossil fuels.
[TEXT ON SCREEN]
SOLAR VS. GRID
New Photovoltaic Solar
21.1 cents per kWh
U.S. Retail Electricity (April 2011)
9.7 cents per kWh
[SUITERS] But the Department of Energy is trying to close the gap and achieve what's known as grid parity by 2015. That means pushing down the price of solar power to match electricity from conventional sources. And the DoE has a more ambitious goal for 2020, cutting the cost of solar power to 6 cents a kilowatt hour, so solar can compete against fossil fuels without the help of government subsidies.
Still ahead on "energyNOW!", a switch in Silicon Valley.
[MAN] Green energy and solar seems to be at the stage where we were, you know, 20, 25 years ago in the semiconductor business.
[SUITERS] America's dot-com corridor famous for high tech is moving into clean tech. A look at the race to find the next big thing in clean energy.
[TEXT ON SCREEN]
In 2010, the U.S. solar industry employed 93,000 workers.
Source: Solar Energy Industries Association.
[Baby coughing] [Wheezing] [Coughing and wheezing continue]
[ANNOUNCER] Congress can't ignore the facts. More air pollution means more childhood asthma attacks.
[Baby coughing and wheezing]
[ANNOUNCER] Log on to LungUSA.org and tell Washington, "Don't weaken the Clean Air Act."
[SUITERS] California's Silicon Valley has long been known as the home to Internet and technology companies like Google and Apple, and as a magnet for venture capital, the money that investors give to start-up companies, hoping they will become the next Google or Apple. But information technology firms are increasingly sharing Silicon Valley with energy companies. Last year, the region took in about $9 billion in venture capital, and almost 20% of that went to clean technology companies, a far cry from 10 years ago, when clean energy firms lured less than 1% of Silicon Valley's start-up funds.
[TEXT ON SCREEN]
Silicon Valley Venture Capital
2010 total $9.1 billion
Clean technology 19.6%
2001 clean technology 0.9%
Source: National Venture Capital Association.
[SUITERS] That tremendous growth in clean energy investment has helped Silicon Valley make it through some tough economic times. And, as "energyNOW!"'s Lee Patrick Sullivan reports, that area is now helping America take charge of its energy future.
[RUSSELL HANCOCK] They said, this is going to be a place where America's energy future is invented.
[SULLIVAN] Russell Hancock's nonprofit organization helps Silicon Valley's business leaders create the next big thing. And Hancock says, in the last decade, he's seen a steady stream of both money and people switch from high tech to renewable energy. People like software programmer Laks Sampath.
[LAKS SAMPATH, TRINA SOLAR] So, my software background came in very handy. I was able to build critical modeling tools. I built one of the first monitoring systems that the industry ever had.
[SULLIVAN] And that monitoring system runs this 468-kilowatt solar array at a Silicon Valley water treatment plant and could save this plant more than $2 million in energy costs over the next decade.
[SAMPATH] Here, actually, it is something that is tangible. It is green. You're putting together something that actually is worth your while. That's what I love about the industry.
[SULLIVAN] For Silicon Valley, clean energy companies came along just at the right time. When the tech bubble of the 1990s finally burst in 2000, it left a lot of highly educated and skilled workers looking for new jobs. And the region's economy took another hit during the recent recession. But between those two body blows, California's state government decided it was going to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions and mandate greater use of solar panels, wind turbines, and other forms of renewable energy. The state's clean energy push helped spur a local market for new energy technologies, just as some I.T. and Internet companies were downsizing.
So you're one of the high-tech refugees that have switched over to clean energy. There's a lot of you guys here, isn't there?
[BOB LOFTIS] Yeah, there are quite a few.
[SULLIVAN] Bob Loftis was at Apple, Compaq, and Hewlett-Packard before coming to Solyndra, a solar energy manufacturer outside San Jose.
[LOFTIS] A lot of the people working on the factory floor are using automation tools that they're pretty familiar with from previous jobs.
[SULLIVAN] The high-tech background of the workers and designers at Solyndra has led to innovative ways to harness the power of the Sun. Instead of flat panels, these are lightweight round tubes, able to get reflective sunlight from rooftops without having to be motorized to follow the Sun.
[SULLIVAN] Innovation like that led the Obama administration to award the facility a half a billion dollars in loan guarantees. Now, while the area was struggling during the recent recession, jobs in clean energy grew in the region by 109% in the last decade. Driving that growth, an array of solar companies setting up shop; electric vehicle manufacturers; and new innovations like the Bloom Box, a fuel cell that runs on a host of fuels, including natural gas, methane, and propane.
Even companies from the last big thing in Silicon Valley are jumping on board. eBay has installed five of those Bloom Boxes on its campus. And Google has pledged $780 million for clean energy.
Still, for all the overlap between these dot-com companies and clean energy firms, there are some important differences. Take the folks at eBay, for example. Last year, they helped facilitate the sale of billions of dollars' worth of products. But they have no warehouse, because they have no items. Like most dot-coms, their start-up cost is this. With clean energy, you need factories, warehouses... and energy projects just tend to be big.
[HANCOCK] The projects are done on huge scales. I mean, they're done on a regional scale, on a utility scale, on a statewide scale.
[SULLIVAN] It's also good to have government support. But for all the help clean tech companies are getting in California, they haven't been so lucky in the nation's capital, where renewable energy and global warming legislation has stalled. And when the Department of Energy was handing out stimulus money for clean energy projects, politicians from the Midwest made their voices heard in Washington.
[SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D) MICHIGAN] And when we talk about innovation and making things, that's Michigan.
[SULLIVAN] And Silicon Valley watched as Michigan and Indiana got the bulk of the funding.
[HANCOCK] That's not what Silicon Valley does well. Silicon Valley is a really maverick kind of place. Lots of libertarian thinkers here, cowboy entrepreneurs. You know, we don't have our act together, politically. We're not used to going to Washington. That part is going to be hard for us.
[SULLIVAN] And even the federal help they do receive is getting scrutinized. The Republican-controlled House is looking into Solyndra's loan guarantee, demanding the White House hand over all documents related to the decision.
So, back in Silicon Valley, programs like Boots on the Roof are looking to train the wave of blue-collar workers needed to install the solar panels, geothermal systems, and wind turbines.
Now, the whole idea behind this is that, although it's, you know, it's green technology, but it's still electricians and plumbers that need to do this.
[CHUCK RAMES, DIRECTOR, BOOTS ON THE ROOF] Very much so, yeah. This is how renewable energy is going to happen. Working men and women are going to need to install these things on, eventually, millions of homes in America.
[SULLIVAN] And if former high-tech refugees like Laks Sampath have their way, those systems will be designed and improved in Silicon Valley.
[TEXT ON SCREEN] To learn how solar energy works, watch Solar Power 101 at energynow.com.
[SULLIVAN] Do you think there will come a day where you and I will have to explain to our grandkids that Silicon Valley refers to the semiconductor and not the solar panel?
[LAKS SAMPATH] I hope it comes to that. That will be a good one. [Laughs]
[SULLIVAN] In San Jose, California, Lee Patrick Sullivan, "energyNOW!"
[SUITERS] And Laks Sampath is working especially hard to make that happen. Since we visited with him, he has left Trina Solar and opened up his own solar company. A man with a vision and apparently an endless supply of his own energy.
The idea of converting sunlight into electricity isn't anything new. That concept has been around for decades now. And although the size of solar panels, and much of the technology, have changed, the cost of solar has always been a challenge. Check out this energyTHEN from 1958.
[Film projector running]
[NARRATOR] The big, window-like roof of this house is meant not for looking out, but to let in sunlight to fuel the heating system. This solar house, the first designed for a northern climate, is the result of 20 years' research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Some 80% of the heating all year round is supplied by water warmed by sunshine. A housewife sets the temperature by thermostat. In the summer, a refrigeration unit provides air cooling. This solar heat system is prohibitively expensive. With expected improvements in mass production, tomorrow's homeowner may have small concern with fuel bills.
[SUITERS] Solar IV, as the house was known, was completed in 1959 after the Department of Agriculture held a contest on solar house design. After collecting data for three heating seasons, MIT then ended up selling the house to a private owner.
Still ahead, the debt deal is done. The budget cuts are coming. And that means some energy funding could be slashed.
Which energy resources could be the big winners and losers in the race to fuel the future? Two former longtime senators share their insights and experience about the effects of the budget battle on America's energy.
[ANNOUNCER] Clean energy is a top priority with consumers and politicians across this country and throughout Maryland. And now there's an easy way to learn how clean energy can be a part of your life -- in your home, at work, as a career. The Maryland Clean Energy Summit is your chance to get all the information you want -- from solar and wind to thermostats and energy suppliers. The state's foremost clean energy leaders will be presenting at this hallmark conference, so don't miss it.
[TEXT ON SCREEN]
Can I recycle a beer bottle with a lime wedge suck inside?
Natch. But limes make good compost. Just sayin'. www.grist.org
Laugh now or the planet gets it.
[BARACK OBAMA, AUGUST 2, 2011] This compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction. It's an important first step to ensuring that, as a nation, we live within our means.
[SUITERS] That was President Obama after he signed the compromise bill to raise the country's debt ceiling. It came after a very heated battle, and now Democrats and Republicans will try to determine where those spending cuts will come from. And what will it all mean for energy spending here in the U.S.? Joining us for this week's MIX, former Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. He was part of the Senate leadership for 16 years. He also chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Energy Spending. And former Republican Senator and Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi. He served in the Senate for 19 years. Both former senators are cochairmen of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Energy Project. They are also senior advisers to law firms that represent energy companies, and, gentlemen, thank you both for taking time with us today.
[LOTT] Glad to be with you.
[SUITERS] The bill to raise the debt ceiling calls for $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years. How much of that will fall on the Department of Energy?
[DORGAN] My hope is that, with respect to energy, there's going to be an understanding there's a difference between spending and investing. Most of what we want to do to move this country towards greater independence, or less dependence on foreign oil, and move towards electric vehicles and move to explore other forms of energy, most of that is very important investment for the future of the country. I don't think there's a way of knowing what's at risk, but I think anybody that cares about almost anything ought to understand, everything's vulnerable, as this supercommittee begins to get moving.
[SUITERS] Senator Lott, before we get to the supercommittee itself, the debt deal includes $917 billion in cuts just to begin with. Then, beyond that, the special committee in Congress will try to come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts. What are the odds that that committee votes to raise revenue by repealing tax breaks for the oil and natural gas sector? This has been a hot-button issue, especially for Democrats.
[LOTT] With regard to, you know, what this supercommittee will do, the possibility that they will look at oil and gas issues, whether you refer to them as subsidies or tax breaks, would be on the table. And they need to be careful how they do that.
[SUITERS] Electric vehicles and wind energy -- both require subsidies to be viable in the current economy. How vulnerable are those, if this committee, and indeed, all of Washington, is focusing on debt reduction, cutting spending?
[DORGAN] Well, I'm concerned about that. I think both are very important. We have people say, "Well, you shouldn't pick and choose with respect to these subsidies." Look, we've been picking and choosing for 100 years. We said to the American people, "If you go out and look for oil and gas, God bless you, and we'll give you tax breaks for doing it." We've been doing that, and I'm not complaining about it. I would say, on the last question you asked Trent, you know, most of the oil and gas is out there, being discovered by independent producers, and particularly with respect to the majors, if they're using their money to buy back stock and drill for oil on Wall Street through mergers, they don't need incentives at that point.
[SUITERS] Back in April, you wrote together that -- I want to paraphrase here -- the U.S. needs to boost its production of conventional sources, like oil, while aggressively working on alternatives. How much will that cause be hurt if the federal government has less money for energy research and development, or for tax incentives?
[LOTT] Well, it could be hurt, but, you know, we need a national energy policy, I believe. I want more production of everything. I want more oil and gas, hydro, nuclear, I want to make greater use of natural gas, let's try the electric vehicles, but what I've not always wanted to do is to put more money into conservation and into alternative fuels. I think we need to do the whole package. Republicans are going to have to say, Look, we're going to have to deal with conservation. We're going to have to look at alternative fuels. We're going to need that. We have to be prepared to do that, to get more production, the conventional sources, until we can get more going in these other areas. That's the package that we need to find a way to bring Republicans and Democrats together to produce a product.
[DORGAN] I agree with that, and that's why I think both of us have come to the Bipartisan Policy Center. Instead of getting the worst of each party, let's get the best of both parties, and come together in an energy policy that moves our country forward. At the moment, we're just gridlocked.
[LOTT] If we would do more on energy, it would bring revenue into the federal government, it would create thousands of jobs quickly that are not there now.
[SUITERS] Don't we have to spend, to do more in energy?
[LOTT] Well, if we would just open up -- go back to where we were in the Gulf before the spill -- it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and bring in tons of revenue.
[SUITERS] Do you think the debate over spending and taxes puts the 18 cents a gallon federal gasoline tax at risk? This is a law that's set to expire at the end of September.
[LOTT] There are people that would be happy to see that tax go away in the price of a gallon of gasoline. Actually, I think that number should be more. Now, a lot of Republicans would have an attack to hear me say that, but --
[SUITERS] Does that mean you're calling for a higher tax on gasoline, Senator?
[LOTT] I believe what we need is a highway and an infrastructure program in America, for lanes, planes, trains, ports, and harbors infrastructure, water and sewer. How do you get that? You have to pay for that. And I bought the argument from President Reagan -- that is a user fee, that's not a tax.
[SUITERS] But is this gasoline tax at risk right now, Senator Dorgan, simply because of the timing?
[DORGAN] Oh, I hope not. I mean, you can't put anything past the current political system, but everybody understands -- I mean, we don't want Third World roads and bridges. I mean, we want to invest in this country's infrastructure. I agree with Trent, not only should we extend the current gasoline tax, it ought to have some marginal increases, because we need to invest -- the other side of that, that investment creates a lot of jobs instantly -- building roads and bridges, you put people to work immediately.
[SUITERS] Well, before we send all these recommendations straight to the Congressional supercommittee, let's wrap it right here. Former Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, former Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, now both with the Bipartisan Policy Center, gentlemen, thanks again for joining us today.
Car companies are now implementing a bright idea for their electric vehicles -- powering them with sunlight. And that's what's in this week's "energyNOW!" hotZONE. General Motors is investing more than $7 million in solar energy system provider Sunlogics. Some of the money will be used to install solar panels at Chevrolet dealerships across the country. The 20-kilowatt solar charging stations will provide enough electricity to power 4,500 Chevy Volt electric cars each year. GM will also install solar arrays at its auto-making facilities.
And Mitsubishi has a similar plan. The Japanese auto maker wants to roll out its own solar charging stations here in the U.S. for the company's electric "i" car. That model is due out later this year.
Our show a few weeks ago on the promise and problems of getting natural gas from shale rock garnered some responses on our Web site and Facebook. We thought we'd share a couple of them with you. Frank Joseph of Atlantic City, New Jersey, says, "Compressed shale gas should be used in buses in urban areas and tractor trailers should be fueled by compressed natural gas. Once a refueling infrastructure is established for trucks and buses, CNG could be introduced into the automobile market. This would be a low-cost alternative to the already established gasoline refueling infrastructure and could be added t these stations at at an acceptable cost. Natural gas will provide us with a price-stable fuel for the next two generations while other alternatives are developed."
And Chris Sehhat of Fair Oaks, California, says, "Everything seems to come at a cost. The health effects seem pretty damaging. Drinking water that can be lit on fire is pretty bad... America is at a crossroad because we can't rely on foreign oil anymore. Solutions should have been made years ago."
That's it for this week's "energyNOW!" We want to hear from you, so reach out to us with your comments and questions on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. Just search for us at energyNOWnews. Plus, you can weigh in on energy issues, read our blogs, and watch extras on our Web site, all at energyNOW.com. I'm Tyler Suiters. We'll see you next week.
Clean energy technology protects our environment, bolsters our energy security, and creates green jobs - but will this emerging industry keep growing? This week, energyNOW! explores the future of clean energy in the United States and abroad.
The Israel Connection: Solar Power and Energy Independence
Energy independence and climate change are two of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. But perhaps no other nation understands the link between clean energy and security more than Israel. It relies on imported fossil fuel from hostile neighbors to power its economy, despite having a vast and mostly untapped clean energy source – the sun.
As part of energyNOW!’s “The Israel Connection” series, chief correspondent Tyler Suiters discovers how emerging solar technology in this sun-drenched land could lead to greater energy security and a cleaner environment. Suiters also explores the link between Israel’s innovative solar technology and the future of clean energy in the U.S.
Taking Charge: Clean Tech’s New Capital
California’s Silicon Valley is mostly known for launching the Internet revolution, but the region has also become the epicenter of the U.S. clean energy industry. In fact, billions of dollars in venture capital funding to clean-energy companies has helped the region through some tough economic times.
Correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan looks at Silicon Valley’s shift toward clean energy, and meets the tech-savvy workers and entrepreneurs who are now helping America take charge of its energy future.
The Mix: The Debt Deal’s Energy Impact
President Obama and Congress have struck a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, while cutting more than $2 trillion in spending. Will those cuts hurt key government programs for clean energy?
Chief Correspondent Tyler Suiters talks with former U.S. Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) of the Bipartisan Policy Center about the debt deal’s fallout for U.S. energy policy, and their own plan for moving the nation toward cleaner and more secure sources of energy.
Our animated correspondent, 'Little Lee Patrick Sullivan,' continues our “Energy 101” series with an inside look at solar-power technology.Watch now ...
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discusses the cooperation between Israel and the U.S. on developing renewable technologies.Watch now ...
Arnold Goldman, founder of BrightSource Energy, speaks about the future of the clean energy business in the U.S.Watch now ...
Last Wednesday was a big milestone for people who care about public health and a livable climate. Two utilities announced the planned closure of nine coal plants.Read more ...
Today, in the UK, the world's oldest nuclear power plant shut down.Read more ...
The U.S. led the world in clean energy investment in 2011, but China retained the top spot in the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index from Ernst & Young.Read more ...