What is being billed as an energy park that would stretch nearly 2,000 miles along the U.S./Mexican border is being proposed as an alternative to the construction of a border wall.
The idea is being touted as akin to the massive public works project as embodied by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s, and one that would respond to the energy needs of both countries.
Spearheaded by the National Academy of Engineering, the proposal is the result of a consortium of nearly thirty eminent scientists and engineers who say the park would include the construction of gas and water pipelines, as well as wind turbines and energy panels.
In a press release, Luciano Castillo, a professor of renewable energy and power systems at Purdue University, said the project would be built in the tradition of previous grand-scale infrastructure projects that may have initially been seen as improbable.
“Just like the transcontinental railroad transformed the United States in the 19th century, or the Interstate system transformed the 20th century, this would be a national infrastructure project for the 21st century,” said Castillo.
Looking at the unusual proposal, Scientific American magazine remarked: “Crazy? Maybe—or maybe not. History is full of ideas that initially sounded wacky yet ended up changing society.”
The project would be built as a kind of opportunity zone for both countries to not just provide energy solutions, but also address water availability issues that challenge farmers on both sides of the border.
Castillo has said that the project would also uniquely respond to the concerns of leaders and interest groups in the U.S. across the political divide, from those who see border security as a paramount issue, to those who are touting the Green New Deal.
Advocates of the project say they intend to more fully publicize the idea in a series of workshops held throughout the southwest in the coming months, while also talking with Congressional leaders about the energy park’s potential.
By Garry Boulard
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