Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to make his city the greenest and cleanest in the United States, but that goal could be jeopardized, after several environmental groups have protested against the plan to install a power line that would bring power from the desert into the city. This issue has been one of the major headaches of desert solar development groups.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plans to build an 85 mile transmission line, known as the Green Path North, through the Yucca Valley and the San Bernardino National Forest. Two wildlife preserves would be affected by this power line. Conservationists are saying that endangered species could become extinct as a result of the project.
It is Villaraigosa’s promise to lessen Los Angeles’ dependence on coal-based power plants and to attain at least 40 percent of its power from sustainable resources by the year 2020. This is a higher percentage than what California aims to achieve as a whole – one-third of its power from renewable energy sources. The mayor’s objective might be for the good of the city, but environmental groups state otherwise.
Deputy Mayor David Freeman, who is in charge of the city’s environmental agenda, stated that they are reevaluating the proposed Green Path North Transmission Line and the overall program to achieve the most cost-efficient and effective method of reaching the goal set by the city. The power line project has a budget of more than $500 million.
Environmental groups are worried about the dangers the Green Path North could cause in desert areas. This has always been the case for projects constructed within deserts. Proponents of the transmission line might need to find a compromise, in order to turn their goals into a reality. Freeman is thinking of Owens Valley as a possible location for solar power projects. They can also move into Utah, for geothermal power projects.
Conservationists say that destroying unspoiled lands is unnecessary, and that there are other ways to provide the city with clean energy. They can use alternatives, such as solar systems on rooftops, as are found in other major cities. There’s also the Southern California Edison transmission corridor, which is located along Interstate 10.
Los Angeles will need to work on these alternatives if their goal is to be reached before 2020. The city’s intentions are good, but the implementation still needs work on.
Hopefully, they come up with a plan that will benefit everyone, including the desert wildlife.