Distributed Generation Is The Answer

 

I live out in the Mojave Desert near where a bunch of large utility-scale solar thermal power plants are being planned on public land (HCN, 5/11/09). Thousands of acres of desert tortoise habitat will be scraped, and the company is trying to buy ranchers and farmers out for their water rights, because this power plant is really similar to a coal- or natural gas-burning power plant (or nuclear) in that it uses a lot of water to make steam to turn turbines to generate electricity. Folks around here are worried about groundwater in this already overdrawn basin. Nearby are springs with rare plants and pupfish at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Trying to get involved, I went to a congressional field hearing in Palm Desert, Calif., recently, and was pretty appalled at how our representatives in the Energy Committee are already deciding to use all types of energy: "clean coal," natural gas, nuclear, and big corporate wind and solar power plants on remote pristine ecosystems, that, yes, will have to be "sacrificed."

The frustrating thing was that a local councilman from the city tried to explain to the committee how his town is already making local energy generation and use a reality, with rooftop solar loan programs and a test feed-in-tariff. If all houses and buildings were mandated to be energy-producing in the future, we could have all the energy we needed, produced without the need to construct distant power plants out in wildlife habitat, without the need for long public environmental review processes on federal lands, and without the need to supersize huge new transmission lines to join the remote solar/wind power plants to the cities, which will be costing billions.

Laura Cunningham

High Country News Classifieds
  • MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    For more information visit www. wyofile.com/careers/
  • THRIVING LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE FOR SALE
    Turn-key business opportunity. Successful well established business with room to grow. Excellent highway visibility.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    For more information, visit www.wyofile.com/careers/
  • SONORAN INSTITUTE, CEO
    Chief Executive Officer Tucson, Arizona ABOUT SONORAN INSTITUTE Since 1990, the Sonoran Institute has brought together diverse interests to successfully forge effective and enduring conservation...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a high-impact, nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 27-year legacy using...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Position Summary Join our Team at the New Mexico Land Conservancy! We're seeking a Project Manager who will work to protect land and water across...
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • WILDLIFE HAVEN
    Beautiful acreage with Teton Creek flowing through it. Springs and ponds, lots of trees, moose and deer. Property has barn. Easy access. approx. 33 acres.
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...