Monday, January 11, 2010

Looks like despite a lack of governmental support, businesses in China are solar thermal technology -- using mirrors to concentrate light, make steam, and turn turbines to generate electricity. As usual, the story emphasizes not only the value of siting generation in China, but also the value of producing solar thermal components for sales abroad -- the classic energy/manufacturing complex that is touted for deepwater offshore wind in Maine. Commercially, up to 2,000 MW of capacity may be developed by a partnership between Californian developer eSolar and Chinese manufacturer Penglai Electric. However, the Chinese government is officially skeptical about the merits of solar thermal, on the theory that China lacks sites where there is abundant water, sun, and cheap land.

Climate change? Global warming? A number of places around the world continue to face record low temperatures, which have remained in place for weeks. NYT reports that this is the largest and most persistent Arctic high pressure system to take hold since the 1950. This Arctic high deflects the jet stream south of our latitude, bathing us in cold Canadian air.

In Maine news, we have the $9 million in RGGI grants for industrial energy efficiency projects announced last week, a $12.4 million grant for the UMaine composites lab for deepwater offshore wind research, and rebates of $1500 to $3000 to homeowners for qualifying energy audits and weatherization projects.

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