On Friday, May 7, U.S. Dept. of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the DOE will invest up to $62 million over five years to speed the commercialization and deployment of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems that the DOE says are capable of providing low-cost electrical power. 

The funding will support 13 projects aiming to improve CSP systems, components, and thermal-energy storage.

CSP technology concentrates the sun's energy and captures it as heat, which then drives an engine or turbine to produce electrical power. CSP plants can include low-cost energy storage, allowing them to provide electricity even when the sun is not shining, says the DOE.

The projects receiving the investment will work to improve component and system designs in order to extend CSP operation to an average of about 18 hours per day,

The awards ranged from $1.4 million to possibly as much as $10.8 million.

The recipients are spread across the country from Florida and Massachusetts to Washington State and California.

More information is available at http://www.energy.gov/news/8958.htm.

I think it's good for the government to encourage research into all methods of generating electricity, from cleaner coal, to solar, thermal, wind, tidal, biomass, nuclear, and other options. No matter how much we learn to conserve, generating clean and abundant energy remains key to our country's future success.

What do you think?