Thanks to Fred Stanback for this article.
In April 2007, a helicopter landed in a backyard in Johnson Valley, California, a desert hamlet of 440 residents on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park. “One of the neighbors went out and asked them what they were doing just a few hundred feet from his house,” Jim Harvey, a local landowner, recalls. “They said, ‘We’re the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and congratulations! You’re the lucky lottery winners of a brand new power line that’s going to come right through the middle of your town.’ ”
That power line is called Green Path North — an 85-mile-long high-voltage transmission wire from Los Angeles through public and private lands, connecting the city to potential geothermal and solar-thermal resources, with the whole shebang to be owned by the LADWP and paid for over the next decade by ratepayers. The cost: up to $1 billion just for the transmission line, plus untold billions for the not-yet-planned power plants themselves. Some 2,000 acres of desert would be sacrificed for a project that would, if it ever gets built, carry about 800 megawatts of renewable electricity — enough for 600,000 homes.
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