Energy Department Posters Showcase the Future of Clean Energy
The series highlights the growing investments in wind, solar and geothermal power
Although the aesthetic of a poster series recently created by the Energy Department‘s Loan Programs Office to spotlight a variety of clean energy sources might evoke the nostalgia of vintage travel posters, the images themselves are focused on the future.
The poster series aims to highlight the future of clean energy in part by displaying specific examples of projects that were made possible through loans guaranteed by the Loan Programs Office, focusing on their environmental appeal as well as benefits such as the creation of new jobs.
For example, one poster depicts the potential of wind power as a clean energy source. By partially guaranteeing a $1.3 billion loan to Shepherds Flat in eastern Oregon—one of the world’s largest wind farms—the Energy Department helped establish large-scale wind energy as a commercially viable option in the United States. The project also created 400 construction jobs and can potentially support 45 permanent jobs.
Utility-scale photovoltaic solar power is another element of the clean energy future that is featured in the poster series. Loan guarantees to five photovoltaic solar facility projects in Arizona and California totaling more than $4.6 billion helped “pave the way” for photovoltaic solar power to become the fastest growing sector of the solar industry, according to the Energy Department.
Another form of solar energy, called concentrating solar power, is also featured in the poster series, due to its potential to become a large source of clean energy. Concentrating solar power typically uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate energy from the sun onto a small area, which then converts into heat to power engines or turbines that can create electricity. The department’s Loan Programs Office funded five of these projects between 2010 and 2011, one of which was the largest solar project in the world when it began commercial operations.
Geothermal power, meanwhile, could make electricity generation cleaner in the future because it produces very small amounts of carbon dioxide emissions and does not burn fossil fuels, according to the Energy Department. It’s also a renewable resource, thanks to the nearly unlimited heat generated by the Earth’s core.
The future is likely to see “innovative exploration and conversion technologies” that aim to make the most of this resource, according to the department.