It is not uncommon in this age of truthiness, where news sources either under report or bias their reports of the news, for real news stories to get lost. In fact, with the heavy funding and control of the fossil fuel industry of politics, advertising and news, some purposeful misinformation and disinformation gets in the way of good news renewable energy stories. The following is a small news story as reported by Time Warner Cable News, but a real one, which shows how the solar energy industry is truly an existing and growing confederation of small, medium and large-scale projects.
“ROWAN COUNTY — A new solar farm in Rowan County (North Carolina) is bringing new jobs with it. With each piece workers are adding thousands of solar panels to a farm in Rowan County. o2 energies has hired more than 100 local workers. The project will generate $20,000 a year in property tax revenue. Sheep will also be on the land to eat the grass which will help with solar energy levels.
‘You don’t hear it, you don’t smell it. You really don’t see it. There’s no trucks bringing fuel in and out and there’s no waste to get rid of when it’s done,’ said Joel Olsen, president of o2 Energies. The solar farm should be completed by Dec. 18. The power generated will be sold to Duke Energy and should be enough to power approximately 540 homes. The price tag is $10 million.”
The larger truth is North Carolina is the 4th most prolific solar energy state in new development in the country. North Carolina is also attracting a series of east coast data centers to add to the likes of Apple, AT&T, Bed Bath and Beyond, Facebook, Google, Walt Disney and others. Apple is showing the path forward with its solar powered center, which has surplus power it sells back to Duke Energy. These data centers are power-hungry to operate, so controlling your own destiny with solar energy is key. It is not off subject, but Google has bought a wind energy farm in the Netherlands to power its European center, so it is not just solar energy that is used. And, it should be noted that over 90% of IKEA stores in the US are solar-powered.
Right now in the United States, there are more solar energy jobs than there are coal energy jobs. This trend should not be a surprise and I fault leaders in coal industry regions for not seeing the future and planning ahead. By clinging to the past, they have actually done a disservice to their constituents, as the needed decrease of coal use is not news. It is not too late, though. We should move even more quickly from some of these dirty energy sources to more renewable energy sources. It is not a stretch, as the jobs will be there. And, that is without talking about the huge success of wind energy in places like Texas and 36 other states.
Yet, it may be worthwhile to re-read the quote in bold above from the President of o2 Energies. That should be ample evidence to show what the future should look like, especially since it is already here.