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Schwarzenegger predicts solar explosion

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Schwarzenegger predicts solar explosion


New-generation solar technology will drive ''a solar explosion'' across California , the state's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says. ''Today, we celebrate clean energy and new jobs,'' he told a crowd at last weeks launch of the biggest solar thermal energy plant built in the US . The 5 MW plant uses 300 meter rows of mirrors to track the sun, reflecting solar heat on to boiler tubes to produce steam which powers a turbine. It was built by Ausra, a company established last year by former University of Sydney solar research pioneer Professor David Mills.

In research published this year, Professor Mills argued solar thermal could supply more than 90% of US grid demand, and also meet a 70% demand increase to power a national move to plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. ''The US could nearly eliminate its dependence on coal, oil and gas for electricity and transportation, drastically slashing global warming pollution without increasing costs for energy,'' he said. ''Solar thermal's been proved for many years, but nobody has successfully proven a coal sequestration plant.''

California has targeted solar energy to provide at least 20% of the state's power by 2010 and has created a $2.9 b incentive plan for homes and business to go solar.


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