There's the wind farm, with 140 turbines powering more than 34,000 homes; a utility-scale solar farm nestled in a bed of purple and yellow wildflowers; and to bank that energy, a 30-megawatt battery storage facility.
In the midst of it, sipping from a manmade cooling lake three miles square, is an aging nuclear plant, owned by Exelon.
When nukes were new, they were the beneficiaries of a federal energy policy.
Likewise, a decade or so later wind and solar got the government's blessing, mostly in the form of generous tax credits. If renewables, currently responsible for 15 percent of our electricity supply, are ever going to supplant nukes (20 percent), not to mention fossil fuels (65 percent), it won't be because our survival depends on it, though that may be true.
He'd sold the power company he co-founded to the giant utility Calpine and agreed to stay on and run it for a while.
He was miserable, but quitting meant leaving money on the table.In the late summer, it's a waving carpet of green under a high, blue dome, heat-blasted and silent but for the rustling of corn stalks and, in spots, something else: a low, steady hum.Scores of 262-foot-tall turbines, noses to the wind, trace solemn circles in the sky. Here you can see the past and the future of our electricity supply.After eight seemingly endless months, he persuaded his corporate overlords to let him go.The agreement he reached with Calpine even allowed him to take five people with him, including longtime operating partner Jim Murphy.He was a power industry entrepreneur looking for a defensible niche in the industry, and he found one.Seventy-five percent of his billion portfolio of plant assets is powered by renewables.He remembers a moment during his journey to the West, on a train between Rome and Milan, when his heart leaped at the sight of a set of belching smokestacks."Because I felt, 'Oh, maybe one day I'll be working on a power plant! "Even now, when I go in a power plant, I feel like I'm in an environment that I like and I want to be in."His degree yielded a job at Bechtel, the American construction behemoth that built Hoover Dam--and most of Saudi Arabia's infrastructure.We've seen substantial improvements in efficiency and cost, and dramatic growth.That's clearly where things are going."Polsky provides yet another example of the extraordinary entrepreneurial energy that immigrants bring to the U. He still owns most of Invenergy's stock and has amassed a vast personal fortune--enough to bestow million on his B-school alma mater, the University of Chicago, and disperse 4 million to his ex-wife, Maya.