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Page added on December 29, 2008

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Getting renewable power to the people

The Southern California desert could produce a gusher of renewable energy.

Strong sunlight bathes its open plains, even in winter. Powerful winds stream through its mountain passes. Fractures in the earth along the San Andreas Fault heat pools of underground water – the perfect fuel for geothermal power plants.

There is, however, a problem. Most Californians don’t live there.

Any electricity generated in the desert by solar plants or wind farms needs to travel via power lines to the cities, most of them clustered along the coast. And the state’s grid of transmission lines can’t do the job. It doesn’t have enough lines in the right places to carry all that power.

Electrical transmission could turn into a bottleneck for renewable energy.

San Francisco Chronicle

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