I prepared this statement to be read at the WISE (Women In Sustainable Energy) meeting in Denver this evening.
Greetings from the women of the San Luis Valley!
Recently, I spoke to a woman with One Block Off the Grid. Of their 300,000 fans, she says about 80% are male - and this is probably true for the energy industry in general. I bet when it comes down to the decision of when to put solar on the roof, most of those men will say "let me ask my wife...".
Recently, here in the San Luis Valley, we heard a proposal for a 650-foot tower - directly in front of Great Sand Dunes National Park. Who but a man would have thought of that one? This valley is unique, a wetland in the mountains with three national wildlife refuges, and independent people who don't want to become an energy colony.
Morey Wolfson's STAR report proposes 5.5 Gigawatts of solar in the valley by 2050 - close to a hundred square miles, with big transmission lines to suck all that power up to Denver. Simply from an engineering point of view, this means no power during one of our week-long winter fogs, when the front range typically remains sunny.
We need to bring together the women in each community to decide how to produce our own energy locally - - call it the "Curves of Solar". First, fill the good roofs. Second, build solar gardens for apartment dwellers and those with shade. Last, only if we need to, locate the bigger plants along existing transmission lines, throughout the state.
Please come visit and meet us! We are the first place in America to meet all our daytime energy needs with solar, and for our population we have more off-grid houses than anywhere else in the country.
Joy Hughes, Founder, Solar Gardens Institute http://www.solargardens.org
CEO, Solar Panel Hosting LLC http://www.solarpanelhosting.com