U.S. stimulus funds fuel renewable energy and innovation – report

The $100 billion allotted for innovations under the Recovery Act is helping cut the costs of producing solar energy  and electric car batteries and speed up the overall development of clean energy technologies, said Joe Biden, United States Vice President, citing a new White House report.

The stimulus funding will help make the cost of producing solar power on a par with the cost of power from the grid. Electricity produced from rooftop panels will drop by half by 2015, from 21 cents per kilowatt-hour to 10 cents per kWh.

Funding from the Recovery Act is also helping build large-scale solar power projects, including the 25-megawatt DeSoto next generation solar energy center, which is said to be the largest photovoltaic power facility in North America. The power plant, which was partially supported by stimulus funding, is equipped with more than 90,000 solar panels to supply clean electricity to 3,000 homes.

Stimulus funding is likewise expected to cut the cost of making batteries by 70 percent, from $33,000 to $10,000 for pure-electric vehicles and from $13,000 to $4,000 for plug-in hybrids.

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At a broader level, stimulus funding worth $23 million could double renewable energy capacity from 28.8 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal generation, to 57.6 GW by the end of 2011. If this target is achieved, there would be enough renewable power to support 16.7 million homes.

Meanwhile, in medical research, stimulus investment is reducing the cost of a personal human genome map to allow sequencing of 50 for the same cost of mapping one today.

«From the beginning, we have been a nation of discovery and innovation – and today we continue in that tradition as Recovery Act investments pave the way for game-changing breakthroughs in transportation, energy and medical research,» said Mr. Biden, when he unveiled the Recovery Act report on Tuesday.

«We’re planting the seeds of innovation, but private companies and the nation’s top researchers are helping them grow, launching entire new industries, transforming our economy, and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process,» he said.



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