[singlepic id=629 w=320 h=240 float=right]President Bush chose Sandia National Laboratories as the site on which to sign the Energy Policy Act of 2005 due to the bipartisan leadership of the two New Mexico Senators in getting the legislation passed. This legislation, also known as the Energy Bill, has wide-ranging implications for all aspects of energy in the U.S. It includes a two-year extension of the wind Production Tax Credit that is likely to spur continued exponential growth in wind capacity in the U.S..

Before the signing ceremony the President, the Secretary of Energy, Samuel Bodman, and Senators Bingaman and Domenici of New Mexico toured Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility hosted by Laboratory Director Tom Hunter and solar staff member Chuck Andraka. Although the SES 25kW Dish Sterling solar-thermal to electric generators were the featured items on the tour, the Wind Program’s experimental blades were also on display.  Slices of the subscale nine meter carbon-hybrid blade called the CX-100 (for Carbon eXperimental 100kW) and a full blade from the twist-coupled TX-100 (Twist-coupled eXperimental) set were a part of the tour.[singlepic id=630 w=320 h=240 float=left] These blades are currently being tested at NREL’s full blade testing facility, at Sandia’s Structural Dynamics research group, and in the field at the USDA/Agricultural Research Service station in Bushland, Texas. President Bush noted the “TX” designation of the experimental blade and picked up a section while Hunter explained the novel features of the blades. Secretary Bodman was noted to be particularly interested in all the technical aspects of the items on display. Tom Hunter made a special point of emphasizing the importance of industrial partnerships in bringing laboratory technology to the marketplace.