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ASAP (American Solar Action Plan) is a non-profit organization building public understanding about how solar, wind, and hydrogen produced from water can make the United States energy self-sufficient.
Recent Developments:
ASAP in the “Solar Grand Plan,” presented below, proposes $20 billion a year utility scale PV plants in the years 2015-2020. PV installations in 2012 demonstrate that the U.S. is moving towards large utility scale solar plants.
Solar Grand Plan:
All the pieces of this world-changing plan actually exist and have been described in the January 2008 Scientific American “Solar Grand Plan” article, which was co-authored by ASAP. The object is to stabilize energy prices for generations to come by adopting the lowest cost, unsubsidized solar and wind production and distribution systems.
The United States has an abundance of solar and wind energy potential – enough to supply its entire energy needs. This can be done using existing technology and at a price that is competitive with current energy prices. But it will take a coordinated national-level effort to get there. The steps are:
  • Construction of PV solar plants in the sun-rich desert Southwest and wind farms in the wind-rich Midwest.
  • Construction of compressed air energy storage (CAES) power plants to firm intermittent solar and wind electricity into a dependable supply of electricity, 24/7, year-round.
  • Construction of an interstate HVDC transmission system to transport solar and wind electricity nationwide.
  • Construction of electrolysis plants to produce hydrogen from water to be used as a transportation fuel.
ASAP’s goals are:
  • Independence from foreign oil with the development of a hydrogen production and distribution system to support fuel cell electric cars, buses, and trucks.
  • Development of a national electricity transmission system to distribute lowest cost solar electricity from the Southwest states and wind electricity from the Midwest states to local markets throughout the U.S.
Help us get the message to state and national elected officials by writing letters, making phone calls, and communicating the ideas to friends, relatives, and co-workers. The U.S. is fortunate in that it is endowed with massive solar (Southwest) and wind (Midwest) resources. ASAP’s research indicates that the lowest cost source – of base load electricity (24/7) is Midwest wind; of peak load electricity (7am-10pm) is Southwest solar; and of hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water is either Southwest solar or Midwest wind.
To many it is surprising that the lowest cost source of unsubsidized solar and wind electricity for electricity consumers in the Eastern U.S. is from solar plants in the Southwest and wind plants in the Midwest. This is true because the cost of solar and wind electricity is determined by the amount of average daily sunlight, as well as the cost of solar and wind installations. The Southwest U.S. has the greatest quantity of average daily sunlight and the lowest cost land for thousands of square miles of solar installations. Therefore, solar electricity produced in the Southwest is the lowest cost solar electricity for consumers in the Eastern U.S. even with the cost of long-distance transmission. The same holds for wind electricity produced in the Midwest states. Offshore wind is too expensive because of the high installation and maintenance costs.
Intermittency is a major problem for solar and wind energy, but ASAP has identified a solution with the application of compressed air energy storage (CAES) power plants, which are described in the Scientific American article and in published peer-reviewed research papers. With the coupling of solar and wind electricity to CAES plants, intermittent solar and wind electricity can be transformed into a reliable source of electricity 24/7. The key is to change our perspective from a local electricity production system to a national system with the production of Southwest solar and Midwest wind electricity that is then distributed to local markets nationwide. In this way, the entire nation can enjoy the lowest cost supply of solar and wind electricity.
Also, the adoption of electric cars is important if we truly want to end our dependence on foreign oil since transportation accounts for 70% of U.S. oil consumption. ASAP is excited about the performance of hydrogen fuel cell electric cars and believe that they will be acceptable to the public since they do not require long battery recharging time. Learn more about the exciting developments in electric cars in the Electric Car Campaign folder. In a few years, ASAP foresees the ability to produce massive quantities of hydrogen by electrolysis of water using solar electricity at a price to drivers equivalent to the price of gasoline today (refer to the published peer-reviewed solar PV-Hydrogen research paper).
We believe it is only a lack of public awareness that prevents the Plan from being immediately adopted. As Mark Twain once said, “Once you lose your ignorance, it’s hard to get it back.” We want to be an organization through which this loss of ignorance is accomplished.

Energy self-sufficiency will allow us to expand domestic jobs and economic well-being while providing us with a sustainable energy path throughout the 21st century. America’s current energy trade imbalance of nearly half a trillion dollars a year is economically unsustainable and must be ended ASAP.

The use of carbon-free solar and wind electricity allows us to reduce CO2 emissions by 92% below current levels, literally ending the threat of global warming.

Solar Energy Campaign
Sun, Wind, and Water - Our Energy Future

Fueling a GM Fuel Cell car

Warren Buffett’s utility company's order for about $1 billion of wind turbines shows how a drop in equipment costs is making renewable energy more cost competitive.

The DOI has approved two solar energy projects located near the Nevada-California border, to supply 550 megawatts, and support more than 700 jobs through construction and operations.

Solar Thermal goes online!
Abengoa has brought online the world´s largest parabolic trough plant, and the first solar plant in the United States with thermal energy storage to power the electricity plant when the sun is not shining.
   Solana site announcement
   Photograph of site

CAES Activity!
PG&E in California is analyzing a site for CAES potential.
   Site project
   PG&E's CAES program

Why Shale Gas Won't Kill Wind or Solar

Baseload Power Plant Options for New York and Northeast

How We Can Store Solar and Wind Electricity to be Used on Demand When the Sun Is Not Shining and the Wind Is Not Blowing: Proceedings of 2nd CAES Conference (20-21 October 2010)

National Energy Indepdendence Plan