Pulling the plug on California’s solar extension cord

|  May 14, 2009 |

Arizona is awash in solar energy. But when Edison International proposed to string 230 miles of transmission lines from Arizona’s solar collectors to neighboring California, homeowners in Arizona balked. They didn’t want the transmission towers in their backyards and now the $774 million project is at a standstill.

The case raises some thorny issues. In Washington there’s all this happy talk of alternative energy and ”strengthening the national grid,” but these initiatives could be set back decades if NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard activists) exert their individual or state’s rights. Washington may very well learn that just throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve it. You actually have to go out and talk to the people in flyover country first.

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