Thursday, October 26, 2006

Clean Energy: The Future May Be Sooner Than You Think

Los Angeles Community College (LACC) has just raised the bar, exclaims the Treehugger blog, citing the school's announcement that each of its nine campuses will soon have a big enough solar panel array to be able to completely disconnect from the power grid. Many colleges and universities have invested in alternative energy, but this may be the first time a school has endeavored to source 100 percent of its needs from clean energy.

"We believe that what today may seem futuristic can soon be commonplace," said the school's executive director of facilities planning and development.

But the move may not be that futuristic at all. Indeed, in addition to the LACC announcement, OneWorld's Carbon Countdown Megablog has recently highlighted several other initiatives--corporate and individual--to source clean energy on a relatively large scale.

Google is currently undertaking the largest solar installation on any corporate campus in the United States, an endeavor that will generate enough energy to offset approximately 30% of the company's peak electricity consumption at several of the main Googleplex buildings in Mountain View, California.

Meanwhile, solar panels have been installed on the roof of General Motors' parts warehouse in Cucamonga, California. But GM doesn't own them. Another company arranged to pay for the installation and is now selling the energy--which is expected to power half the building's electricity--to GM.

And in south London, Donnachadh McCarthy's home, which hosts an array of renewable energy devices, is returning energy to the power grid. He's exported 20 percent more energy than he's imported this year.

McCarthy, GM, Google, LACC--they're all ahead of their time, but probably not by much. As projects like theirs continue to demonstrate the profitability of renewable energy generation, they'll likely become more the rule than the exception.

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