California Desert A Hotbed for Alternative Energy

On the state's path towards drawing 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the end of 2010, California is focusing on its southern desert as the site of this alternative energy generation.

"Currently, renewable energy provides only 12 percent of the state's needs. Green energy is needed, and fast. Where to get it? The southeastern corner of California is becoming the state's Wild West of renewable energy."

"Five years from now this patch of desert will hold one of the largest solar thermal plants in the world. An area of 10 square miles will be filled with 38,000 "sun catchers," which look like enormous satellite dishes with mirrors."

"The Bureau of Land Management has received 163 applications to build solar and wind projects on 1.6 million acres of federal land in California. Almost all of them are planned for the Imperial Valley and the desert region north of the valley."

Full Story: Calif. Desert Becomes Home For Renewable Energy



Thank you for this article,

Thank you for this article, for it brings hope that California can actually start generating and utilizing renewable energy. With “high-tech sunflower” satellites that track the movement of the sun in order to optimize the sunlight captured to the un-tapped 2,300 megawatts of geothermal steam, it is very feasible that California will be able to reach Governor Schwarzenegger’s goal of generating 20%, California’s energy from renewable sources, even though it may be after 2010.

When reading this article, a few questions came up. How will the proposed renewable energy power plants, satellites, and geothermal steam turbines affect the environment? While it is clear that switching to renewable energy sources will ultimately help the environment by curbing climate change, are there any considerations being made on the immediate environment, habitats, and wildlife around the proposed power plants?

It is also a valid point to bring up that these renewable energy power plants will also create jobs within the Imperial Valley. The installation of 38,000 solar satellites, along with their maintenance and management will bring in hundreds of jobs to this small city and thus help Imperial Valley thrive. I feel that even if these renewable energy power plants do degrade Imperial Valley’s immediate environment, it would be a worthy sacrifice for the longevity of the overall environment. The Imperial Valley and California would act as a role model placing pressure on other cities and countries around the world to rely on sustainable and renewable energy and therefore help create a more sustainable world.

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