Saturday, May 06, 2017

Towards A Positive Future on the North Coast

Volunteers assemble a small section of a much larger array
Here on the North Coast of California, the future became tangible with the launch of a community-scale solar array micro-grid by the Blue Lake Rancheria, a 91 acre federally recognized and sovereign tribal nation.

“This is our piece of Earth that we’re not going to leave," said Arla Ramsey, vice-chairperson of the tribe, as quoted by Lost Coast Outpost. You can’t pick a reservation up and move it. So if we’re going to live here, and our children are going to live here, or seven generations from now, we have to keep it healthy and clean, and that’s our goal.”

According to  "decentralized energy" website reporter Diarmaid Williams:

Funded in part through a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission's Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, the system allows the reservation to operate independently of the power grid in coordination with local utility Pacific Gas & Electric. This project incorporates the largest solar array in currently in operation in Humboldt County... is estimated to save the Tribe over $200,000 in annual energy costs, will reduce at least 150 tons of carbon per year and will grow Tribal clean energy jobs by 10 per cent.

The Lost Coast Outpost story continues:

The rancheria worked with an array of technology experts, national labs, local businesses, the state and PG&E. Plus, for almost a decade, the rancheria has developed a close relationship with Humboldt State University and its Schatz Energy Research Center, which played a key role in making the microgrid a success.

“The kinds of technology we’re installing and integrating together, it hasn’t been done before,” said SERC founder Peter Lehman. “So this project and the knowledge we gain from doing this, the lessons we learn from doing this, are going to be applicable in many situations in this country and around the world. So that’s how progress occurs — there are pioneers, and we’re the pioneers in this project, and people follow on after the pioneers.”

The Eureka Times-Standard added this:

California Energy Commission commissioner Karen Douglas said Californians across the state are stepping up to address the affects of climate change. “This is a real example of how we can help meet our greenhouse gas goals,” she said. “ ... There’s a community resource here as a result of this project.”

No comments: