Category Archives: Green Energy

Zero Pollution and the Wind is Free

Wind power is clean energy.  It has the lowest carbon footprint and lowest overall environmental impact of any energy source.  It produces ZERO pollution and is powered by a renewable energy source: the wind.

Theresa standing in front of the massive 3 MW energy generating wind turbine

When I see wind turbines, I get excited.  I am inspired by the massive turning blades producing clean, pollution-free energy.  So it was a thrill when we visited the Bear Mountain Wind Park in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. In the above picture, I’m standing at the base of Turbine #34 (click on this and any picture for a larger version). 

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Gila Bend: Leaders in Solar Power

We’re staying in Gila Bend Arizona for the next several days, just outside the Sonoran Desert National Monument.  Gila Bend is a dusty town about 1/2 way between Tucson and Phoenix.  This little 4-gas station town is mostly dirt, sand and sun.  Lots of sun. One of the sunniest states in the U.S., Gila Bend receives 300 days of sunshine per year.

Hats off to the city planners of Gila Bend.  They purposefully created an economic and zoning environment to capitalize on their #1 natural resource: the sun.  Eric Fitzer, the planning and economic-development director for Gila Bend, worked with town leaders to create a “solar overlay zone.”  Utility-sized solar plant zoning normally takes 2 years to meet zoning requirements, a major barrier to developing solar power.  Gila Bend’s upfront zoning reduced this to a mere 6 weeks. (Source: Solar Power Booming)

The 275,000 photovoltaic panels of the Paloma Solar Plant

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Solar Energy in the Parks

Many of the state and national parks have embraced renewable energy.  Installed in 2011, the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park photovoltaic solar panels provide hot shower water and in-slab radiant heat for the bath house and visitors center.  With 310 days of sunshine per year, New Mexico is an ideal location for solar power.  New Mexico is the 4th sunniest state, behind Arizona, California and Nevada. An advantage of rooftop solar is that it uses the existing surface area to produce this power, as opposed to utility-sized solar power stations which require new space to be licensed and used. 

Oliver Lee solar panels

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Louisiana: Land of Big Oil

Having lived in Florida for 10 years, I was quite surprised when I first stepped onto the beach here in Grand Isle, Louisiana.  Whereas the view off the west coast of Florida reveals nothing but the pristine blue Gulf of Mexico, here we counted 34 giant oil rigs in the distance.  The same stark difference is true on land.  In Florida, the coast is lined with mostly homes, condos and hotels, whereas the coast here is packed with oil refineries and storage plants.

Our RV and an oil refinery in the distance

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Green Energy Research

In the Green Energy category and section of the blog, I’ll write about my experiences exploring green energy companies while on our trip. I will be visiting wind, solar and geothermal plants along the route. California alone has over 50% of the renewable energy in the United States. With the most aggressive legislative support of any state, California mandated that 1/3 of all energy come from renewable sources by the end of 2020. This is a growing business, especially out west and one that truly interests me!

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