Friday, November 20, 2009

Solano seeks pay dirt as green energy mecca

Solano seeks pay dirt as green energy mecca
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | November 19, 2009

FAIRFIELD - With abundant wind and sun, positioned in one of the hottest research areas of the country, Solano County would seem a perfect place for renewable energy.

It may be one day.

For now, officials are still trying to figure out how to take advantage of the area's resources. The Solano Economic Development Corporation hosted a breakfast event Thursday to discuss the challenges and the opportunities in moving toward more renewable energy.

'Can we pull our policy folks together to get this done?' wondered Mike Ammann, Solano EDC president.

Since 1995, employment in the clean energy sector has grown by 72 percent, significantly outpacing the growth experienced by carbon-based energy sectors and the rest of the county as a whole.

'It is small today, but it is fast-growing,' said economist Doug Henton, who prepared a report on the subject.

Some of the work is already going on elsewhere at the experimental level, in labs at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and the national energy facilities in Berkeley and Livermore.

Henton said the field is becoming an increasingly popular target of moneyed investors. He presented data showing the amount of venture capital increasing four-fold in just the last two years.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.