Skip to comments.Study: Solar power could add 123,000 new jobs by 2020
Posted on 07/03/2007 1:32:27 PM PDT by P-40
Development of the solar energy industry in Texas would have a significant economic impact for consumers, the environment and workers, according to a study released by the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
Opportunity on the Horizon: Photovoltaics in Texas finds the benefits of nurturing the solar energy industry will stimulate the state's economy, reduce the cost of power for consumers and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
"Worldwide, the cost of converting sunlight to electricity is rapidly decreasing. The right public policies, combined with emerging and increasingly efficient technologies in solar power, would create a solid opportunity for Texas to build an economic engine on this non-polluting resource," Joel Serface of Clean Energy Incubator said.
The paper cites a recent University of California-Berkeley study that finds the solar industry produces seven to 11 times as many jobs on a megawatt capacity basis as coal-fired power plants and has a larger positive trickle-down effect than wind energy.
Estimates suggest Texas could generate 123,000 new high-wage, technology-related, advanced manufacturing and electrical services jobs by 2020 by actively moving toward solar power. It is predicted these jobs would be created across the entire state as large solar farms grow in West Texas, silicon plants develop along the Gulf Coast and manufacturing centers appear in Central Texas.
The report evaluates the competitive benefits Texas has in the worldwide market and compares the overall results of Texan efforts against other states and international competitors. The study notes that although Texas consumed more energy than any other state and has the best overall climate for producing solar energy year-round, it ranked 8th in solar adoption in 2006, producing just 1/100th of the solar energy of California.
Texans pay about 13 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. It is believed that the production of photovoltaics, like other semiconductors, would follow a predictable decline in costs. Analysts predict this cost decline will translate to between 10 to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour as early as 2010.
In 1999, the Texas Legislature adopted a bill that introduced the retail competition in the sale of electricity and renewable portfolio standards (RPS) to consumers. Since 2002, electricity-users in deregulated markets have been able to choose their power providers from a multitude of retailers. The legislation requires energy providers to increase the amount of renewable energy produced through a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, hydro wave, tidal, biomass-based waste products or landfill gas.
To date, energy producers have chosen to focus on wind energy for a multitude of reasons, including federal tax incentives for producers, the large amount of wind resources in the state and the scalability of large wind projects. The report concludes that the legislation has brought many benefits to consumers across the state and can be used as a roadmap for the successful expansion of solar power across the state.
Worldwide, investors are confident in the future of solar power. The solar industry grew to $10.6 billion in revenues in 2006 and is estimated to be greater than $30 billion, with some analyst estimates as high as $72 billion for the entire solar value chain by 2010.
The report outlines several recommendations to strengthen the state's solar strategy. Starting with leadership to create the policies necessary for success, Texas could leverage its natural resources, skilled workforce, existing industries and entrepreneurial spirit to create a new energy industry, the report says.
I finished “The Grid” on Sunday and have “Infrastucture” by Hayes open on my desk as I type. I have to agree that they are a couple of the best books I’ve ever read. I’m and old electrical engineer, and I learned a lot of things in those two very readable and entertaining books. Especially “Infrastructure.” It should be in every library.
Speaking of Texas - notes on the nuclear expansions in Texas:
I’m glad you have liked them. I have gotten some of the same responses back from the people I have suggested them to at the utility here in Austin. I mean.....the books sound dull...but they aren’t. Infrastructure was just absolutely amazing...and it was hard to believe that The Grid was written by a PhD in particle physics...and a playwright.
So you’re in Austin? I’m just up north a bit by Fort Hood. Are there any good alternate/renewable enrgy groups down there? Or RE themed stores? I get down there once a month or so.
What particular area are you interested in? I can get you some groups or have you considered talking to the companies involved themselves? The LCRA is great, as is Austin Energy, and one of my favorite wind companies is Cielo Wind located just downtown.
I just recently got interested in the whole energy/environment/efficiency/independence thing. I've had PV panels powering my ham radio shack for years, and I've been interested in home-scale alternate energy systems for quite some time (I was an original stockholder in Real Goods Trading Company when I lived in Calif. back in the day.) But I've just gotten interested in utility-scale issues due to all the climate change hype. I've been doing a lot of reading in the last few months, which is why I happened to have those two books you mentioned.
I'm flying to Munich, Germany next week where I am working with a German company building methanol fuel cells for military applications. I'm finding it quite interesting. I'll be retiring soon after 38 years working for the Army, and might want to look around a bit for a part time gig in the energy biz, just to keep my hand in. Good to know there's some activity in the Austin area.
I’m working on an energy forum that will involve the city now. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. If this is something that you are interested in...Austin will be where it is at. :)
Keep drinkin that Kool-Aid there Red. [rolls yer danged eyes right back to ya] Ha Ha Ha!!! The Jane Fonda/Michael Moore/Mark Riesner/Wallace Stegner propoganda machine sure has had it’s way with your mind, I see!!!
TXU never wanted the coal plants they wanted and paid money to have PR over having us let them build them???
That doesnt make any sense.
What does make sense is this: Texas needs power to grow and be successful. As gas gets expensive and coal gets unpalatable, nuclear will save the day.
Yeah... These will be mainly night jobs, right? You solar workers better start savin up fer a rainy/cloudy day, too!!!
I’ve no ‘postable’ proof of this...but I think TXU only wanted three new coal plants, and did want two new nuclear generators....but also wanted no more lawsuits. They got their three plants and their two new generators...but I think they will still have some lawsuits to deal with. I think it was one of those ‘we all know we need the energy so how are we going to get it’ type deals. I think at one point they were even ‘suggesting’ taking plants down for maintenance during summer.
“I am watching Exelons efforts with the Matagorda County effort. “
As a central Texas resident and Excelon shareholder, I am watching with interest as well.
I hope their plant goes well.
Now should be a good time to get a nuclear engineering degree and/or get in the nuke construction business again. There should be quite a bit of build out in the next 20 years, should all these plans come to fruition.
The difficulties with the coal proposals and the remaining demand for increased baseload capacity provided a window for NRG Energy, the largest shareholder (44%) of the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) to propose expanding the 2 existing units at STP to 4. TXU similarly proposed expanding the two units at Comanche Peak (Dallas region) to four; these plans remain active after TXU scrapped most coal designs. Two additional plants on greenfield sites are also proposed; one by an Amarillo group, the other by Exelon corp. to be situated on the Gulf Coast somewhere near the STP site. In total, these represent somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000 MW capacity on top of ~4500 MW existing nuclear capacity. For scale, Texas capacity was approx. 63,000 MW in Summer 2006. If 8000 MW of nuclear displaced an equal amount of coal or natural gas and overall consumption remained the same, it would still only bring Texas to the national average for nuclear power usage (~20%). However — it would go a very long way towards decreasing out CO2 emissions, and integrate well with expansion of wind power.”
But still you continue to hype the most expensive way to make electicity... solar!!!
It just doesn't compute!!!
“It is...and my state is the only one that is expanding it that I can think of at the moment. “
Actually there is a LOT of movement on nuclear power plants in many states, with 30 new nuclear power plants on the drawing boards...
“As the nation looks to strengthen its energy security, meet future electricity needs and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, 16 energy companies and consortia over the past 18 months have announced their intention to file license applications with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build as many as 30 new nuclear power plants.”
BTW, more on Excelon’s site: