Sometimes, it ain’t easy being green. Like when you have to fight the construction of a new solar plant to prevent environmental damage.
As public demand and acceptance of alternative energy sources continues to rise, so does the opposition when it’s about to move from the planning table to actual real-life implementation. We saw this in 2006, when a vocal minority of Cape Cod residents (including the Liberal Lion, Sen. Ted Kennedy himself) objected to the Cape Wind Project — which aimed (and is still aiming) to be America’s first offshore wind farm.
Now, it’s hitting California’s largest state park — Anza-Borrego. Or, more accurately, I should say “still hitting.”
Also in 2006, San Diego Gas & Electric proposed building high-voltage power lines through 75 miles of the Desert State Park, to transmit electricity from a large, new solar plant. Predictably, residents of the area were upset about the plan, and set about fighting it. But instead of the aesthetic NIMBYism of the Kennedys, et. al., the folks fighting this project are definitely in the right. The showdown continues to make news.
First, SDG&E said this Sunrise Powerlink project would save San Diego County billions of dollars. First, it was $400 million a year. Then that figure got cut down to $140 million a year. Now it’s pretty much negligible.
Now the company is instead relying on a “disinformation campaign,” effectively presenting the choice as clean power vs. dirty power — assuming, of course, that clean power pumped to cities by tearing up wilderness is cleaner than locally installed rooftop solar panels like they’re building here in the L.A. area.
The State’s Public Utilities Commission will ultimately decide whether or not they can run lines through the park, and so far people have been doing a great job of letting them know how they feel. Hopefully, they’ll take a cue from the California Coastal Commission, which voted down the San Onofre State Park Toll Road earlier this year.
Image by Stepleader.