I've been a field producer on local independent journalist/CL contributor Rhiannon Fionn's investigative documentary project called Coal Ash Chronicles for the past two or so years. Back in November, the project took video journalist Kevin J. Beaty and I out to Delta, Utah, to do a profile piece on nearby Millard County's Intermountain Power Project's coal ash beneficial re-use practices. While we were out in the desert, we found the damndest thing: ECG Utah Solar 1. It's a 300MW solar power facility in the works that is tapping into a coal power plant's infrastructure to bring renewable energy to six municipalities in Southern California, L.A. being the largest.
Considering North Carolina's coal ash woes, thanks to the massive Duke Energy spill into the Dan River a couple of weeks ago, West Virginia's before and after that, ECG Utah Solar 1 offers a model for communities beginning to actively look past coal power. We decided to take a second trip back to Millard County just to cover the creation of what will one day be one of the nation's largest solar power plants. Here's what we found.: