Sorry for all the solar news lately, but events are moving fast: Students desperately trying to keep the Decathlon on the National Mall say they've found out that the Department of Energy has chosen National Harbor -- in Maryland -- as the new site for the competition.
E&E Newstalked to spokespeople for the Departments of Energy and the Interior, who didn't deny the decision, but said that a final agreement hadn't been signed.
The massive development just south of the District line has already siphoned off quite a bit of D.C.'s convention business, which has been distressing people like Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton. From scanning through National Harbor's venue brochure, it seems likely that the Decathlon would sit on the 64-acre "Plateau" (pictured above) that's a half mile away from the center of "town."
Besides a stick in the District's eye, it's not hard to see why this is a suboptimal solution from a public standpoint. The spot's located just outside the Beltway, and the only way to get there without a car is via bus from the Branch Avenue Metro station. Not impossible, but much more of a schlep, and not something that most of us are just going to swing by during a long lunch.
I'm sure the Departments of Energy and Interior will fully explain the decision when they're good and ready.
Report: Solar Decathlon Skips the District, Moves to National Harbor was originally published by Washington City Paper on Feb 9, 2011.