Sunday, March 2, 2008

Desert ROCK!, power lines, and energy in the west.

This is an image of the Desert Rock Power Plant being proposed by Sithe Global for construction here in the four corners area just southwest of Farmington, NM and adjacent to the Navajo open pit coal mine. This would be the third power plant in the Farmington Area, and the fourth large coal plant in the Four Corners. The 2040 MegaWatt Four Corners plant, one of the dirtiest in the nation, sits a few miles east of town, also on the Navajo Mine. I got this groovy trading card for it off of this site. I wonder if there is a large collectable market for Power Plant trading cards...
Now - I have to admit that enerating power at the point where coal is mined is an efficient design based on the minimized energy requirements for transportation, but I think we have too much of a good thing here in the Four Corners. Already it is difficult most days to see the Shiprock from Farmington, 30 miles to the East. Sitting in between are the plant above, and the San Juan generating plant below.
These two units kick out A LOT of particulate matter, Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Dioxide, and Mercury amongst other foul emissions as well as a boatload of CO2. Now I like to flip to power switch on like the next guy and watch TV, or shed some light on things, but it seems like there has got to be a better way. One solution would be to bring DesertROCK! (<- it's just more FUN this way) online and then shut down the notorious Four Corners station. APS owns that sucker, and I suppose that putting pressure on them and the state of Arizona to eat it's own shit would be one way of going about this.

I had to include this lovely shot of the Navajo Power Plant near Page, AZ. Look a that lovely mesa. Don't the stacks really accent the red color of the rock?!
The picture below is of the plume this sucker puts off. The shot was taken near Kayenta, AZ on Feb 19th, 2008. To put this in perspective, that cloud of crap is sitting over Monument Valley.

I sincerely hope that within my lofetime we look back at this type of wanton pollution with some disdain, as an adult might look back on the excess of youth, and recall these technologies with some wonder at the foolishness of their simple nature.