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Obama Starts Heavy Investment in Solar

President Obama has begun to deliver on promises made last year regarding investment in green technologies with two major investments totaling in the billions in solar energy. Over $2 billion in conditional funding was announced over the weekend in his weekly radio/internet address to two companies Abengoa Solar and Abound Solar Manufacturing,which will use the funding to build new production facilities.

The facilities will be in Colorado, Arizona and Indiana respectively. These announcements should lead to thousands of construction jobs in the first instance, not a bad thing given the worsening jobless rate that was also announced in the last week.

The Abengoa Solar plant in Arizona will be the biggest solar plant in the world and should fuel 70,000 homes. This ‘solana’ project uses thermal storage-equipped parabolic trough technology, and is the first commercial use of such technology.

Despite these projects, and with oil still bubbling away in the gulf of Mexico, one is reminded yet again of other moments in history when ‘crash’ projects around national objectives (the atom bomb, first man on the moon) were driven through in record time by charismatic Presidents. Even with the recession as it is, one can’t help but think that this is an opportunity lost.

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