Big steps in sustainability from the US

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed some headlines that are hopeful from the United States.

The first takes us out to Arizona, where Agua Caliente, a new solar power plant, has been completed. Located on a stretch of 2,400 acres of land, it is the world’s largest fully-operational solar-power plant, generating 290 megawatts at peak capacity – which is enough to power 230,000 homes and is comparable to the energy output of the average coal-fired power plan. The Agua Caliente project will help keep 324,000 tons of CO2 emissions from reaching the atmosphere each year, which is essentially like taking 70,000 cars off of the road.

Agua Caliente, located between Yuma and Phoenix, is the world’s largest fully-operational solar-power plant.
Agua Caliente, located between Yuma and Phoenix, is the world’s largest fully-operational solar-power plant.

All in all, this is some awesome news. The power will be used by the San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and it’s just one more step in California’s plan to source a third of its power from renewable sources. That plan in itself is admirable and something that I personally wish will be attempted by more states.

The second takes us into the Pacific, where the Obama administration has announced that it will create the largest marine reserve in the world by expanding an existing monument around U.S.-controlled islands in the central Pacific. The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will now be nearly 490,000 square miles. Commercial fishing, dumping, and mining will be prohibited in the reserve, but recreational fishing will be allowed with permits, and boaters may visit the area.

 

The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will now be nearly 490,000 square miles.
The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will now be nearly 490,000 square miles.

The area being protected by the administration will expand the protected areas from 50 miles offshore to 200 miles offshore around three areas—Wake Island, Johnston Atoll, and Jarvis Island.

Both of these offer hope and development of sustainability in very different areas, and both are extremely important. While the energy crisis takes headlines, and Agua Caliente is a great development there, the expansion of marine-life protection is important, especially considering how much more land has been conserved than the water ecosystems that tae up a much larger part of the world.

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