Alternative energy has become something of a political football in our country, largely because of lobbying, partisanship and closed-mindedness.
That is unfortunate, as this country needs all the energy production it can get: alternative, traditional or whatever else might be out there.
Although the alternative energy industry is growing here in the Valley, with geothermal continuing to thrive and wind and solar energy industries burgeoning, some of that is at risk as tax incentives for geothermal energy are set to expire at the end of next year and may not be renewed, according to the annual report from the Geothermal Energy Association.
This threat comes as the geothermal industry continues to rebound from a lack of development in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since it takes four to eight years of lead time before a geothermal resource is on tap, uncertainty about tax incentives discourages development, in the Imperial Valley and beyond.
One example of growth in the industry locally is the completion in the last year of Energy Source’s 49.9 megawatt Hudson Ranch 1 geothermal plant. It is the first geothermal plant built in the Salton Sea geothermal reservoir in 20 years, according to an Energy Source official. The plant is expected to produce enough power for 40,000 to 50,000 homes.
Even better for us, the construction started in May 2010 created about 200 jobs, and now that the plant is operating about 55 people have jobs there. Energy Source hopes to have another such plant operating in our area by 2015.
That is one of the great things about alternative energy. It is bringing good jobs to places thought by many to be too hot, too windy or too isolated for development. The Imperial Valley long had been regarded as such, but now is being looked at as an alternative energy hub with limitless potential.
That means good jobs and better lifestyles in general for the Imperial Valley and a better world for those supplied by cleaner energy sources.
That is not something that should ever be a political football.
No political football.
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