Mitch Anderson in Reasons to be Cheerful:
Early this October about 13,000 people descended onto a poplar casino resort owned by The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe in Northern California. But the people arriving didn’t come to gamble or play golf — they were there to access the essential ingredient of modern civilization: electricity. As wildfires raged throughout the state, more than a million people on evacuation alert also had to contend with planned blackouts meant to prevent additional fires sparked by downed power lines.
The Rancheria had recently installed their own small-scale electrical supply grid using solar panels and Tesla batteries to lower emissions and make their community more resilient to disruptions. So when the lights went out across Humboldt County, the Rancheria’s green “microgrid” was one of the only places with electricity. The tribe opened their doors to a whopping ten percent of the entire county’s population, who were able to charge electric vehicles, access the internet and buy much-needed ice to prevent food from spoiling. People lined up for 30 minutes to buy gasoline from the Blue Lake gas station. Kids warmed up from the chilly fall temperatures and found light to do homework.