A Maryland company has received approval from the San Luis, Ariz., City Council for an ambitious energy project.
Now the hard part begins.
Clean Wind Energy sought and received approval for rezoning of nearly 900 acres near San Luis to construct two wind energy towers that it has claimed could generate enough electricity for 1.6 million homes through a downdraft process using desalinated water from Mexico and high altitude winds.
Many see the project as a pipe dream or perhaps even an investment scheme. They doubt the technology exists to achieve the goal or that the Maryland company has the financial capability to do the project. The company will have to prove both before it can move forward.
It will be a long process even under the best of circumstances.
The company will have to get approval from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to lease the land, do an environmental impact study that could take up to three years, get approval from Mexico to pipe desalinated water from the Sea of Cortez to the energy site and actually build the project, which could take more than a year.
And, of course, none of that will be possible unless the company can come up with the money. No public investment is planned for the project. Instead, the company will seek private investors and issue bonds.
Some have questioned whether it is a good investment, given all the unknowns at this point. As always, the wisdom of investing is an individual decision for the investor to make. Due diligence and research are always advisable before any investment is made. That is especially true when it is the first commercial project of its kind.
It is also understandable that some in the Yuma area are sometimes skeptical of large projects. They have seen others that have not materialized. Many still ask about an oil refinery that was proposed in eastern Yuma County.
On the other hand, skepticism about new technologies can also be misplaced. Because something is untried does not necessarily mean it cannot be successful. But it will be up to Clean Wind Energy to demonstrate that is the case.
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