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California and the West

Ted Turner teams with solar energy company

January 11, 2007|From Reuters

Ted Turner, the cable television billionaire and owner of vast tracts of land in the West, is forming a venture with a solar energy company targeting California markets.

"Our future depends on changing the way we use energy," Turner said. "We've got to move away from fossil fuels and develop long-term energy solutions that work. Using clean energy technologies, such as solar power, is the right thing to do, and it represents a tremendous business opportunity."

Turner will partner with Dome-Tech Solar, a solar company in Branchburg, N.J., to create DT Solar, a Turner renewable energy company.

The venture has its eye on California, where the market for solar technology is expected to expand substantially. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has set a goal to create 3,000 megawatts of new solar-produced electricity by 2017.

Solar currently provides just 0.1% of U.S. electrical power, but is growing rapidly. Its appeal has grown as prices have headed up for traditional fuels such as natural gas, the electrical grid has aged and concern has grown about emissions of gases linked to global warming.

Financial details were not immediately available.

Bruce Curtis, chief operating officer at Dome-Tech, said Turner would bring economic and political capital to the company. "He won't be a passive partner," Curtis said.

The new venture aims to be one of the biggest solar power system integrators in California, he said.

Dome-Tech, a private company founded in 2003, develops and builds large-scale solar energy systems for commercial, industrial and institutional clients.

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