While the Town contemplates further austerity measures and Town staffers all discover a certain degree of Greek ancestry, I felt it might be nice to talk about one thing we’ve got going for us – geothermal energy.
The Geothermal Resource Council (GRC) based out of UC Davis and the California Geothermal Energy Collaborative (CGEC) held their annual meeting last month in Mammoth Lakes at the Mountainside Conference Center.
As the CGEC’s Elise Brown said this week, “You have a huge opportunity in the Long Valley area. It’s one of the best places in the state [for geothermal] and it’s underdeveloped. Which is one of the reasons why we chose to have the conference there.”
As Ormat stated in its presentation at the conference, the company paid $725,000 in property taxes to Mono County in 2010 and produced enough power for 22,000 homes.
Here’s the opportunity. California is required by law to have 33% of its energy needs supplied by renewables by 2020. Currently, that number is about 7%. To achieve 33% by 2020, the CGEC’s Bill Glassley says we would need to see 300% growth in renewable energy capacity.
To put this in perspective, California has achieved a 3.7% growth rate in renewable capacity over the past decade.
Glassley said the Bureau of Land Management has revised policy to streamline its permitting process within the past year. As Glassley said, the better the facilitation of permits, the better the chance of obtaining financing and building projects.
But as Brown said, so much of what happens with renewable energy is related to the level of state support. She said there is a fairly strong correlation between tax credits and production.
Mono County Supervisor Duane “Hap” Hazard was the keynote speaker at the event. He said the County is interested in working with the Benton Paiute tribe regarding a few geothermal ideas.
Though Benton Hot Springs is categorized as a “low temperature resource,” there are still some exciting opportunities. Two ideas mentioned by Hazard were a year-round greenhouse and an inland aquaculture.
Too little, too late?
It was interesting to read about the Town’s decision to lay off the school resources officer given the recent drug bust of two Mammoth High School students, who were caught smoking marijuana on campus.
The efforts of Resource Officer Andrew Lehr led to the ultimate arrest of the 17-year old Inyo County supplier.
Given we have two marijuana dispensaries in town, it is always jarring to see one person get arrested for an activity that another person does legally. Apparently, kids are supposed to divine the shades of gray.
We adults are always full of double standards.
Tony Barrett resigned from the Mammoth Lakes Planning Commission this week, citing health issues.
The Sheet naturally tried to bait him as he was heading out the door. “Can you tell us, given your long years of public service, who was your least favorite fellow public servant?
Barrett replied somewhat cryptically that if you had served on the Town finance committee formed during the economic downturn, “you should’ve known where the cheese was hidden.”
So I guess you can flip a coin and say his least favorite politico was either Jo Bacon or Wendy Sugimura.
We had Katie Vane attend the Town/County Liaison Committee meeting on Thursday, where they discussed a few items of note.
In regard to the Hot Creek litigation, Councilman Rick Wood predicted we may have something concluded within 90 days. “We’ll either have a deal or [declare] bankruptcy. It’s not that complicated,” he said.
In regard to air service for the coming year, the County does not appear enthused about participating. County Finnace Director Brian Muir said it’s hard to justify the expenditure when the County hasn’t seen an increase in room tax revenue outside of Mammoth Lakes. Incoming Mayor Jo Bacon argued that air service helps employ County residents. District 4 Supervisor Tim Hansen said his constituents are not in favor. “I’m not against air travel … it’s just a bad time for the County to fork out money.”
If County doesn’t contribute, the consensus was that the Town “will have to figure it out.” Hmmm. Like everything else, I suppose they’ll just try to indirectly charge it back to Measure R. Does an air route qualify as a trail?
Mammoth Mountain’s Chief Marketing Officer, Howard Pickett gave the Mammoth Lakes Town Council a taste of next winter’s air service during Wednesday’s regular meeting. Expect four flights per day, seven days a week. There will be two from LA, one from San Diego and one from San Francisco. In addition, three more flights will be added on weekends: one from Orange County, one from San Jose and another from San Francisco, which means that on these peak days there will be seven flights coming in and out of Mammoth-Yosemite Airport. Pickett was hopeful that contracts with Horizon and United airlines would be signed within the next few weeks. Pickett added that in an effort to have fewer cancellations in the coming year, the flights are all being scheduled earlier in the day in order to avoid evening winds that seemed to be a major part of the problem this year.
Bid on painting!
Don’t forget to place your bid for Laurel Stanford Manning’s Cedar Juniper Tree painting at The Sheet News’ Facebook page or by emailing email@example.com. Bids will be accepted until Wednesday, July 6 and the winner will be announced in the July 9 issue of The Sheet. The painting is currently on display at the Looney Bean if you want to take a closer look. It’s a good cause. Proceeds go to pay for Laurel’s groceries.