One Woman’s Travels Along the Power Line

Every choice, every one of them, has consequences when it comes to our nation’s power supplies.

That’s just one of the insights Julianne Couch learned as she embarked on a cross country trip from the Mojave Desert of Nevada to the Bay of Fundy in Maine, all to learn what happens when she flipped the power switch.

Couch will relate those travels during a free March 19 appearance entitled “Top Nine Things I Learned by Being There: One Woman’s Travels Along the Power Line.” It will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bettendorf Public Library, 2950 Learning Campus Dr.

Julianne CouchCouch is a writer who has lived in Bellevue, Iowa, since 2011. After nearly 20 years living and writing about life in the high dry landscape of Wyoming, she relocated to a rambling Victorian home a block off the Mississippi River where she spends her free time working on home restoration with her husband and getting out on the river.

Couch is the author of Traveling the Power Line: From the Mojave Desert to the Bay of Fundy, Jukeboxes & Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey, and Waking Up Western: Collected Essays.

Her journey across America was inspired by a desire to know more than simply the lights came on when she flipped the power switch. She wanted to learn how electricity was created, where the fuel sources came from and what the environmental and human costs were.

Instead of relying on only information she could find in books or online, she wanted to experience it for herself, searching for her own answers.

Walking ridgelines among wind turbines; standing at the edge of the used fuel pool of a nuclear plant; being on the scene of a Texas gas field during a shale fracking job: these experiences and more helped her gauge the scale, the scope, and the realities of our nation’s energy demands.

In all, her journey took her to:

• Foote Creek Rim Wind Farm, Arlington, Wyoming
• Laramie Basin Electric Plant, a coal-fired power plant in Wheatland, Wyoming
• Cooper Nuclear Power Plant, Brownsville, Nebraska
• Barnett Shale Unconventional Gas Play, Ft. Worth area, Texas
• BECON biomass fuels research center, Nevada, Iowa
• Blundell Geothermal power plant, Milford, Utah
• Kentucky Lake Dam hydropower plant, near Paducah
• Solar One solar power plant, Boulder City, Nevada
• Tidal Power site, Eastport, Maine

Her presentation is made possible by Davenport SCENE with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Scott Community College, one of the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.

Davenport SCENE (Sustainable City Empowered Network for Education) is a unique partnership of several local agencies including Eastern Iowa Community Colleges/Scott Community College Library and the college’s Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center, Figge Art Museum, Davenport Public Library, Nahant Marsh Educational Center, Quad Cities Food Hub, Junior Achievement, Living Lands and Waters, and River Music Experience.

The goal of the partnership is to advance the science and information literacy of Davenport residents of all ages regarding environmental sustainability and energy efficiency in order to move Davenport toward becoming a sustainable city.

For more information call 563-441-4156.