NYTimes: Patchy Environment for Renewable Energy

The renewable energy sector is facing tough times. That’s according to the New York Times.

The low price of natural gas and the high price of gasoline are two factors. Competition from Chinese manufacturers and the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra are two more.

This means there is far less interest from the private sector to finance renewable energy initiatives. Plus, the tax grant program has expired and another tax credit for the wind industry is scheduled to end in 2012, the Times says.

And yet the industry still has some prospects. Big names like General Electric, Dow Chemical and ConocoPhillips are investing in or developing new technologies. In addition, the Obama administration has been pushing clean energy.

Many industry figures are optimistic about domestic solar energy, particularly in markets with high electricity prices. The low cost of solar panels has also helped push it forward. And the solar industry is still eligible for a tax credit through 2016. The Times says this makes solar seem stronger than the wind industry – and to perhaps even have more potential.

Wind power development faces a number of challenges. The projects often only make sense economically if they are very large in scale. They also generate electricity far from where it is needed.

However, despite these challenges, wind projects like Cline Line Energy are starting to move forward.

All of this results in what the Times describes as a “green-energy crazy quilt” with regional patches pushed forward by mandates.

It also means states like New Jersey, California, Georgia and Hawaii are in vastly different stages of development. And the moral of the renewable energy development story is the future remains to be seen.

To read the full New York Times article cited in this story, click here

Tags: Solar

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