The High Sierra Energy Foundation has been working on transitioning Mammoth Lakes from its dependency on propane as a primary home-heat to geothermal energy, obtained locally. Currently about 75% of Mammoth Lakes heat source comes from propane—going to local energy would radically effect not only the emissions from the production and burning of propane, but the impact of moving the fuel to Mammoth and then delivery to each home’s fuel tank—the trickle down of energy loss gets converted to energy saved when the movement is made to a local energy distribution network.

The California Energy Commission approved a grant, “Structuring Geothermal Heating District for Mammoth Lakes” for $191,000 from the Geothermal Resource Development Account to the Town of Mammoth Lakes in 2006, which was completed in 2009.

“The grant facilitates developing a structure for a geothermal heating district in Mammoth Lakes,” stated Phelps. “Over the last 20 years there have been numerous technical studies confirming that there is hot water under Mammoth Lakes, but this is the first study that will generate a comprehensive business plan,” continued Phelps. “This project has the potential to become a model for local energy creation and distribution. Mammoth Lakes will be a showpiece for energy efficiency and responsible use of local resources.”

As a Board member stated, “this CEC grant, combined with the recent Community Energy Partnership with Southern California Edison, puts the Foundation well on the way to fulfilling its mission of promoting and developing efficiency and renewables in the High Sierra.”

In fact, electric power production and transportation are the two largest sources of carbon emissions in the United States with California producing 47.24 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. It qualifies as one of the biggest emitters in the United States.