Monday, October 03, 2011

Quick, Find Us a Winner

The bad press from the Solyndra fiasco needs to have a counter argument as we approach the 2012 presidential “debates”.

The Obama administration this week announced millions of dollars in new grants for dozens of projects related to advanced solar technology and other new clean energy technologies.

On Thursday, the Department of Energy said that it had awarded $156 million to fund 60 different cutting edge technology projects in five categories: low cost biofuels, substitutes for rare earths (the expensive minerals used in electric vehicle motors and wind turbines), advanced thermal storage systems including systems for storing solar energy, “smart grid” technology that integrates renewable energy alongside coal and nuclear power, and low cost utility-scale solar systems.

This particular grant program is administered by the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E.) The agency is modeled after DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, credited with developing the Internet and the computer chip.

Both agencies provide funding for high-risk, cutting edge research that would be difficult or impossible to finance through private investment.


Whatever the impetus, we need this kind of work funded. We should have been doing it decades ago.

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