Thursday, December 6, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed two ordinances passed by the City Council approving the long-term purchase of solar power from a new development on tribal land in Nevada. The clean energy produced there will be enough to power more than 100,000 homes for 25 years.
The agreement is important here in Los Angeles, as the city moves away from coal and towards solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency.
But we need more from our investments than clean energy alone. We need that investment to lift up communities that have been struggling in this economy. Thanks to the work of advocates over the years, some political leaders are embracing that connection.
“These solar contracts are proof-positive that environmental progress and economic growth go hand-in-hand,” Mayor Villaraigosa said Thursday. The signing ceremony took place at Occidental College, which is home to its own solar array.
William Anderson knows more than anybody about the negative effects of coal. He’s the Tribal Chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, who occupy 70,000 acres of land northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. He has seen his tribal members sickened by pollution from a nearby power plant. He worries about the impact of the pollution on his three-year-old son.
Anderson jumped at the opportunity to advocate for a giant solar project that will provide power to the reservation, as well as to the 1.4 million customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The project will be developed by K Road Power Holdings on reservation land, with the tribe’s participation, and produce enough energy to power more than 100,000 homes.
I got a chance to sit down with Anderson after the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the K Road Moapa Project.