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Denver among 12 cities to share $2.4 million for solar energy

Catherine Tsai
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” The nation must diversify its supply of clean, sustainable, secure energy, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Friday in a city newly chosen to receive funding to help integrate solar technologies.

“The national focus must remain on increasing the energy options available to us,” Bodman said at the third annual energy summit by Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. He said the country needs diversity in types of energy, suppliers and routes as both energy prices and demand rise.



Meeting the challenge will require collaboration from academic, private industry, and state and local governments, he said.




At the summit, Bodman announced that Denver is among 12 U.S. cities chosen this year to share in $2.4 million from the Department of Energy to advance solar energy.

The selection of the 12 cities as Solar America Cities supports an initiative by President Bush to make electricity from solar photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional power by 2015.

Each city will receive $200,000 to integrate solar energy technologies. They are Denver; Houston; Knoxville, Tenn.; Milwaukee; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Sacramento, San Jose and Santa Rosa, Calif.; San Antonio; and Seattle. Thirteen other cities were chosen last year.

The cities also receive technical assistance estimated at $3 million to integrate solar power into energy planning, zoning and facilities and to promote solar power to residents and businesses.

Even as renewable energy develops, the economy will still depend on fossil fuels, Bodman said. That will push the drive for research on oil shale and clean coal technologies as well as carbon sequestration, he said.

He said nuclear power will also be needed to provide clean energy.

Salazar said conservation and raising energy efficiency will also be key.

In December, Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act. It includes mandates for fuel producers to supply at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2022 and to phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs by 2014.

Bodman also spoke of growth in wind power, which was responsible for more than 20 percent of new electrical generating capacity in the U.S. last year.

Colorado, where Gov. Bill Ritter has been promoting an economy built on “new energy,” in recent months has marked the official opening of Vestas Wind Systems’ turbine-blade manufacturing plant and the relocation of wind farm developer Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc.’s headquarters from Texas to Broomfield, Colo.

ConocoPhillips also plans to open a renewable-energy research hub and corporate learning center in Louisville.

About 400 people registered for Salazar’s energy summit, whose attendees included National Renewable Energy Laboratory Director Dan Arvizu and Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner.

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