by Kevin Brady
Arizona is picking up momentum when it comes to having a robust green economy. The state is particularly strong in the solar power industry; Arizona is a major producer of solar panels. Other green jobs that our state is focused on increasing include the growth of other forms of renewable energy such as biofuel, wind energy, hydroelectricity and geothermal power.
Due to its sheer number of sunny days per year, Arizona has become one of the world’s best solar resources as well as being in the top three states for solar PV installation. It also serves as major producer of solar panels because of the state’s favorable business climate and proximity to California, another major solar market. Tempe’s First Solar is now the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels.
Photo courtesy of Honeywell
The same reasons Arizona is ideal for solar make it a great place for farming algae in order to produce renewable fuels. Phoenix has been rated as the number one potential place to produce algae biofuel in the United States because algae requires huge amounts of solar radiation, warm nights and high temperatures to grow.
Exploiting wind energy has not been a priority for Arizona until recently. The Dry Lake Wind Project is one of the state’s initial plans to harness wind energy. This plan will add 209 wind turbines to the existing 30 at the Navajo County site. Perrin Ranch Wind Farm, with more than 60 turbines just north of Williams, is another project providing wind energy in Arizona. Though wind turbines are relatively new the state, companies such as Southwest Windpower still support 700 to 1,200 direct and indirect jobs in Arizona.
Glen Canyon and Hoover dams serve as huge sources of hydroelectricity for Arizona, California and Nevada. Glen Canyon Dam produces about 4.5 billion kilowatt-hours per year and Hoover Dam is just shy of that at about 4 billion, which serves approximately 1.3 million people in the aforementioned three states Arizona actually sits among the top 10 hydropower-generating states, making it a viable industry in which to seek employment.
Photo courtesy of Brocken Inaglory
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, geothermal energy resources have been used in North America more than 10,000 years ago by Paleo-Indian settlers. And Arizona’s dry climate lends itself to being well-suited for geothermal energy production and thus a booming industry, particularly due to the state’s 60-plus hot springs.
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