Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not in my back yard: California’s aversion to wind and solar technology transportation

According to an article in The Washington Post, not only are Californian’s opposed to having wind turbines and solar panels in their back yard, they’re opposed to the very power lines bringing them this alternative energy. It also goes without saying that this is going to be a big problem for California in the years to come since they passed a government mandate back in 2006 that requires that California have 20 % alternative energy by 2010. Alternative energy, according to the article, means a group portfolio of wind, solar, and geothermal. In California, the best solar and wind energy is in the deserts, plains, and remote hilltops like where rancher and political activist Donna Tisdale lives. She has been fighting Sunrise Powerlink for three years against implementing a 123 mile transmission line from the Imperial Valley to San Diego[1]. She thinks that it will destroy the property value of her land, and that “No matter which way you look, you won’t be able to get away from it.”
[1] Peter Slevin and Steven Mufson, Alternative Energy Still Facing Headwinds, 2/17/09, Washington Post.

6 comments:

ncristea said...

It seems like Californians can never be satisfied when it comes to energy. They are the biggest proponents of alternative energy, but with this article it seems as if they do not want to have anything to do with it. Instead of increasing their alternative energy portfolio, they would rather not mess with it because they would have to have more transmission lines to bring it to them. I do not know if California is truly that green of a state if this is true!

David Wogan said...

The situation has been made more complicated lately with California's budget problems. Passing renewable energy policy is a tough matter in and of itself, but paying for it is becoming more and more difficult.

Nate said...

Why do we assume the actions of an activist living on a remote hilltop speaks for all Californians? I am willing to bet the majority of Californians would be in favor of new transmission lines to access renewables. Lets avoid generalizations like this.

Jason C. said...

I have to agree w/ Nate. Having lived in California (San Diego and Ventura County) for 8 years just prior to coming here, I would have to say that most people I met there were environmentally conscious. As a matter of fact, the similarities I see between Austinites and Californians in terms of their views on the environment and their efforts to go "green" is noteworthy. However, it does require a large amount of capital investment to build these alternative energy infrastructure and w/ CA literally going broke, I don't see how they can achieve 20% alternative energy by 2010.

Jacksonite said...

It's funny how renewable portfolio standards are written. Some of them have a hard mandate that will punish a public utility monetarily for not purchasing a certain percentage of their power from renewable generators. Others are only a best efforts type of mandate. Some states, Maine for example, have written their RPS so that it is easily achievable with renewable resources already in place. Texas' standards will be easily surpassed by installed wind. If you're going to mandate it, don't make it a joke but this is politics we're talking about here.

The fact of the matter is that sacrifices will be required to take on agressive standards for renewable expansion and transmission lines will most certainly be a large part of this issue. Donna Tisdale is a prime example of people who want to have their cake and eat it too. I wonder how many eminent domain cases we will be seeing in the years to come.

rmk said...

For another dimension to the debate...

I watched this piece a few weeks ago: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/503/index.html. It reveals the suspicion that has created some of the opposition--that the power lines are being placed under the auspices of green energy but will do more to empower delivery of cheaper (dirtier) conventional energy from Mexico.