Editor’s Note: This article is one submission in a live Masdar blogging contest (find out the entry requirements here). Very simply, the focus of the contest submissions is to: “Describe your city in 2030: what will occur due to changes in energy, transportation and water technologies, and how will they transform how you live?” We are sharing this submission here on CleanTechnica because we think it’s awesome and because Masdar is sponsoring CleanTechnica in order to raise awareness about this great competition. I have personally engaged in the contest in previous years, and I hope one of our readers wins this year since it would be great to meet you in Abu Dhabi! For now, enjoy this article and vote for it over on the Masdar contest site if you love it.
By Patricia Widgen Casella
I look at my town, Bermuda Dunes, CA, and sometimes I wonder if this city in the middle of the Coachella Valley will ever become sustainable. Then I see all of these clean technologies out there and I think to myself, you know what? Not only can this town clean itself up, it can absolutely thrive.
In 2030, Coachella Valley, and the rest of the towns that stretch from Palm Springs to La Quinta, will become an example of resiliency in the harsh climate where the mercury can pass 110°F in the summer. We already have a start with the wind turbines that greet drivers as they drive on I-10. There is no question more wind turbines are on the horizon, helping this region wean itself away from fossil fuels.
But other forms of clean energy will also scale as they become more efficient and cheaper. Take solar. There is no excuse why solar cannot catch on like wildfire in the Coachella Valley, and I expect that in 15 years, rooftop solar on homes and businesses will complement the growing wind power industry in our city.
Another solar technology will not only create renewable and safe power, but help Bermuda Dunes and its neighbors become less reliant on food crops. I envision food traveling less distance between farms and supermarkets because of technologies such as the WaterFX system already installed in the Central Valley, several hundred miles north of where I live. This desalination technology, which will filter out contaminates from our groundwater and municipal greywater, will be used to power huge sprawling greenhouses that will grow food easily, responsibly and of course, sustainably.
But the futuristic town I see in 15 years is not just about clean energy. I expect this area to become more congested as Los Angeles and its suburbs become more expansive and residents seek cheap housing farther away. But this does not have to be a negative trend. I see new housing developments taking over old strip malls and brownfield sites. These mixed use developments will be wired for smart grid technology, with each room fitted with sensors to keep them at a constant temperature. Residents will travel from place to place with electric vehicles, called to their front door with a smartphone app that will take them to their destination, reducing the needs for costly automobiles. And for longer trips, those longer cars will take us to a high speed rail that will be the second generation of California’s train system—we will have quick access thanks to a route linking Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Finally, I expect this stretch from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, of which I am in the middle, to be free of the water troubles that plague this region. Thanks to advances in atmospheric water generation—which dates back to the Incas but has long been a pipe dream—we will be able to cheaply and effectively harvest drinking water from the air. Fueled by our ubiquitious clean energy and stocked by an increasingly humid climate due to climate change, homes and businesses will have plentiful water—allowing us to be even more resilient since we will not import water long distances anymore, or will we be training our aquifers.
Water, food, energy and transport are all linked together—and this will be the reality where I am in 2030 . . . only with less stress on our planet.
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