A testament to the power of car ownership and human greed, the city had been laid out in broad open grids, which made transformation more than feasible. Within expansive six-lane boulevards there were no deeply embedded ownership rights, haphazard buildings, and sewage systems to contend with. Not that that should matter, with fabric in play and traditional ownership systems on their way out across the West…. but de facto it continued. As the Seattle lotus had recently discovered, human nature did not change as quickly as social norms and mandates did.
With the six lanes brought down comfortably to four, the solar arrays would be set linearly in the median amidst native grasses, insects, and cacti, and connected to each other within a grid that used smart technologies to distribute load to high-use areas within seconds.
The grid was also tied to a parallel system of “elekis,” electric car gas stations. They would take the place of conventional gas stations within a one-year period, with no fuel supply disruption. The maximum distance from the array to stations across the grid was 20 meters, so efficiency loss was minimal.
Legacy gas stations would be allowed to operate for a time, but within two years all traditional combustion engine vehicles would be off the road. As would 60 percent of total vehicles. A new program mandated sharing of vehicles and residents could take the solar-powered greenhouse tramline Solus everywhere the grid reached. The southern Solus hub would eventually connect 250 miles to Los Angeles and be set within a solar array. If this proved successful, the next connection would be Salt Lake City and then the Denver frontier.
Excess energy relative to grid needs would be transferred through a turbine motor system during the day to be released within the largest reservoir in North America, creating vast potential electricity in the form of stored energy associated with water level increase.
As evening fell and direct sunlight ceased, the differential between rapidly cooling night temperatures and the relative heat of Lake Mead would start the turbines spinning in reverse, with the energy used to power nightlife activities. The Las Vegas energy substation was located in the shell of half-built Resort’s World, with 65 percent allocated for the Strip and 35 percent for residential needs.
The beauty of the system was that it offered predictability. The energy dissipation rates of Lake Mead could be controlled over extended periods, as the turbine-driven energy it stored was well in excess of that used for civic power over the course of any given month.
Even the rare occasion of several cloud covered days in a row, an outlier month––an increasing concern as global warming accelerated––would not deplete the system’s energy. It was a perfectly contained recipe for a sustainability as long as Las Vegas remained under 3 million people, with projected conservation-friendly water usage in place lotuswide.
There was important research being conducted here of course… onanitech, vital to –––‘s economic feasibility, not her thing. Ditto yonitech, which was making breakthroughs that Shayla described in breathless detail each night in the lounge. She was intrigued intellectually, but it all left her dry. The environmental imperative, that of survival on an out-of-whack planet, far outweighed other aspects of her identity.
Having fine-tuned the solar array systems weeks ago, Rose had been frustrated, alone with her thoughts more than usual, trying to fathom this place and what it represented. Just when she was about to request a return to Las Vegas, Sister Agatha had dropped a sheaf of pdfs on her laptop and told her to complete a literature review in the next few days, before going out in the field to Goodall perimeter camp 10 miles south.
Rose yawned and stretched in bed, ready to turn out the light, onanitech’s latest gizmo untouched and in original wrapping on her bedstand next to a pile of well-thumbed books. Just what was so critical about using her intellectual capacities to decipher chemical reactions and phosphate expansion patterns in meteoric turquoise over the past 15 million years?