Saturday, February 28, 2009

Arizona Turning 'Drill, Baby Drill!' Into 'Blow, Baby Blow!'

Despite favorite son John McCain's repeated "Drill, Baby Drill!" mantra in last year's election, dyed-in-the-wool Republican-voting Arizona may be in danger of losing it's conservative Red State bona fides if this keeps up.

First, we discovered the state very seriously inquiring into the possibilities of solar power, looking to the sun (of all places!) to be a significant energy source not just for Arizona but for the entire southwestern region of the country.

Today we learn The Grand Canyon State has floated more than just the kite of possibility into the winds of change; it's actually endorsed and permitted construction of a giant wind farm (called Dry Lake Wind Farm) near the mid-eastern part of the state - in Arizona's White Mountain Region - in the grassy, windswept valleys just outside the town of Snowflake.
According to an article (see link above) in this morning's Arizona Daily Star (2/28/09), the giant cylinders for the 425-foot-tall wind turbine towers began arriving by train at the Port of Tucson last week. From there they will be trucked north and east (most likely swinging around Phoenix to avoid the impossibly steep climb out of the Salt River Canyon), through Show Lo, AZ, up State Route 77 to Snowflake. It's a long journey for the heavy construction elements (when assembled, the blades alone on each tower will weigh 7 tons!)
A metaphor perhaps for the long political and economic journey the state has had to make - and the heavy initial cost it may have to bear - to embrace these important emerging new energy technologies. But according to an online publication called Renewable Energy Development, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the state legislature have been relatively out front in their support for renewable energy in the state:
"Both the Arizona Corporation Commission and the state legislature have encouraged the development of renewable energy sources, including wind projects, in Arizona. Arizona utilities are required by the ACC to produce or procure 15 percent of their total electricity sales from renewable sources by 2025 - including wind, solar, biomass, biogas and landfill gas. By the year 2020, experts predict that, if the utilities comply, an estimated 92 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, will be prevented from entering the atmosphere."

As one who's lived here many decades I say Bravo!

What took you so long?


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