“Electrify everything” is a mantra of the global transition away from fossil fuels. But what does this look like, as the entire planet attempts to transition to a clean energy system? I went to the world’s third largest solar park to find out, and the story is just out in The New Yorker as part of their special climate issue on #bottlenecks.
Pavagada Ultra Mega Solar Park covers thirteen thousand acres, or about twenty square miles—only slightly smaller than the area of Manhattan. And the way that the public-private partnership secured all that land was through a leasing model that’s being replicated elsewhere. Is it working? I met with peanut farmers and security guards, school teachers and solar farm officials, Dalit women who’ve lost access to the lands they once worked on, now covered with solar.
The massive project was up and running in under four years, but now—four years since then—village roads and schools and other promised development projects are still limping along.
And yet, as I stood in a substation, I marveled at how clean this energy is. Is it possible to make these massive installations work for the locals who find them on their homegounds?
Thanks to the incredible editor at the New Yorker Daniel A. Gross, and the photographer @SupranavDash, whose photographs are featured in the piece. Huge appreciation to journalist Elizabeth Mani in Bengaluru for her translation and reporting assistance.
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