Rural Reader Writes: The Renewable Energy Capital of America


I nominate the Imperial Valley to be the “Renewable Energy Capital of the United States!”

I like the sound of it, because I have pride in our community, but I also want to see more progress which means more jobs. If we have the title, we might work harder to retain it or at least own it.

I took a Solar Energy class at San Diego State University back in the ‘70s. Later that decade, I worked as a temporary technician at a geothermal plant in Calipatria. I have been a fan of renewable energy for a very long time.

I really like the wind turbine fans in Ocotillo. I also did outplacement counseling for a biofuel plant on Dogwood Road when it shut down at the end of a federally-funded energy contract. The facility sits there, waiting for the next opportunity to make electricity out of agricultural excess (waste.)

When I drive to San Diego, the solar fields by Mount Signal and the wind turbines give me the warm fuzzies. Another form of renewal energy!

I see several reasons for this power-related proposal. The main one is jobs. We need to promote the Imperial County and its power potential because it will make the community more attractive for new industrial investment. More industry increases jobs and healthy careers.

So many times in television advertising, there are statements about some commodity, service or business that “We are Number One!” This strategy leads to sales success and product/service consumption. We are #1 (or maybe #2) in the unemployment rate (22 percent) and the antidote for this disease is the injection of industry. Why can’t we say we are #1 in renewable energy?

There is logic to our lordship in renewable energy production. What other community has solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biofuel capabilities and years of documented production and profits? Since we already do so much, we are a leader, and we deserve the label that reflects our production values.

Finally, this is a time of transition. With a new president promising to shake things up, let’s help him put his money (or leadership), where his mouth is! He won the election promising to help improve the economy and the job situation. Renewable energy industries are homegrown and if he wants to “Make America Great Again”, why not start with “the least of these.”

We are a place with extremely high unemployment and severe financial need. It would be a feather in his red cap to reduce unemployment in Imperial County ten points over the next four years. Talk is cheap, but so is renewable energy.

If you like this idea, print it out and send it to an elected official or government labor or energy official. I will send it to some local and state folks and you can too. If you know of anyone who supports clean energy and jobs, give them a shout out as well. Let’s not just start a conversation, but push for a title that is rightfully ours.

Mr. or Ms. Reader you are also a source of renewable energy. Seriously, do something to make the Valley better, and I guarantee that it won’t take all that much energy!