Solar Power Is Wonderful, Really, Except When You Build It Anywhere Near Anything

The New York Times reports on Sen. Dianne Feinstein's latest effort to spur block the development of clean, renewable energy facilities:

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region.

But before the bill to create two new Mojave national monuments has even had its first hearing, the California Democrat has largely achieved her aim. Regardless of the legislation’s fate, her opposition means that few if any power plants are likely to be built in the monument area, a complication in California’s effort to achieve its aggressive goals for renewable energy. 

Developers of the projects have already postponed several proposals or abandoned them entirely. The California agency charged with planning a renewable energy transmission grid has rerouted proposed power lines to avoid the monument.

“The very existence of the monument proposal has certainly chilled development within its boundaries,” said Karen Douglas, chairwoman of the California Energy Commission.

...Mrs. Feinstein heads the Senate subcommittee that oversees the budget of the Interior Department, giving her substantial clout over that agency, which manages the government’s landholdings. Her intervention in the Mojave means it will be more difficult for California utilities to achieve a goal, set by the state, of obtaining a third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020; projects in the monument area could have supplied a substantial portion of that power.

Link via Sonny Bunch, who points out this is just the latest example of anti-renewable energy NIMBYism amongst putatively environmentally-concerned liberal legislators.

In July, Reason science correspondent Ron Bailey (currently reporting from the climate-change summit in Copenhagen) looked at Al Gore's curiously cost-free plan to replace our current energy sources with wind and solar power. 

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  • ||

    this is just the latest example of anti-renewable energy NIMBYism amongst putatively environmentally-concerned liberal legislators.

    Didn't Ted Kennedy haul his crapulous girth onto the Senate floor to speak against windmills going up off of his beach (like miles out)?

  • ||

    Yep. Him and Kerry both objected to building wind turbines off of Marth's Vinyard. They sailed out there afterall.

    Sadly, they were right. Wind turbines are an eyesore and a waste of land. I agree with them on that. But, if I believed that that global warming were a civilization threatening crisis, I wouldn't care what they looked like. I would want them built. And so would Kennedy and Pelosi, if they believed. Of course they don't believe any of it. They just say they do as bait for the choads.

  • Mo||

    I think wind turbines look pretty damn cool. Different strokes for different folks.

  • Independent||

    And they look extra-cool when you compare them to the infrastructure needed to produce other types of energy, like oil refineries, nuclear power plants, and strip mining.

  • dave||

    I dunno. I think nuke plants are sweet. All that huge industro-ness, and the only thing coming out is steam and power.

  • ||

    Boy, it's sure a good thing there's not mining or manufacturing involved in wind power, and that those windmills last forever without any need for maintenance, and that you don't need to sink them into the ground or anything.

    Nope, no infrastructure needed at all, *AND* the provide continuous power.

    Really. The Tooth Fairy promised me.

  • ||

    Wind turbines are an eyesore and a waste of land.

    Good thing they were putting them out in the ocean, then.

  • ||

    Wind turbines off shore not only look better than onshore ones, they fare better. As we are finding out in Arizona, the main source of environmental degradation of windmill performance is bugs. Picture your windshield, 150 feet long, and swinging through walls of flying insects for a few months. It produces a noticeable generative loss due to higher drag coefficiency.

    Offshore windmills experience less of this, and are also constantly subjected to abrasive spray.

  • Darth Gore||

    I find your lack of faith to be. . . disturbing.

  • Darth Gore||

    Also, you know all that hate and anger you been building up? I got this lockbox, see. . . .

  • The Ghost of Ted Kennedy||

    it is also some of the most scenic territory in the West.

    "Most scenic?" It's a stinkin' DESERT!

  • Tacos mmm...||

    You poor, lost soul.

  • Zeb||

    Isn't pretty much the whole west some of the most scenic territory in the west?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Now now - branding is everything.

    As in what used to called a jungle is now a "rainforest"

    And what used to called a swamp is now a "wetland".

  • Hugh Akston||

    And what used to called a swamp is now a "wetland" "our nation's capital."

    FTFY

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I'd say a giant septic tank is more like it.

  • ||

    Yes, but unfortunately not big enough, and now it's overflowing.

  • TallDave||

    Don't worry, the health care bill includes $2.1 trillion in air freshener.

  • chemman||

    Now only if it operated like my septic tank and digested these turds.

  • ||

    And what used to be called a bum is now a "homeless person."

  • ||

    Nephew Bobby, Jr. who was Teddy's mouthpiece on Nantucket, was quoted in the NYTimes article linked above:

    “This is arguably the best solar land in the world, and Senator Feinstein shouldn’t be allowed to take this land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the environmentalist and a partner with a venture capital firm that invested in a solar developer called BrightSource Energy. In September, BrightSource canceled a large project in the monument area.

  • ||

    “This is arguably the best solar land in the world, and Senator Feinstein shouldn’t be allowed to take this land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review,”

    I hear Phil Jones is looking for work.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Isn't the real reason that wilderness must be protected so we don't run out of precious wilderness?

    Maybe not.

  • ||

    Apparently the land was donated to the Feds by an environmental group on the condition that it be preserved as a national monument. As the treehuggers purchased the land with their own money before setting that condition, I see nothing wrong with Feinstein's move here.

  • ||

    If only the treehuggers and teabaggers could get along, maybe there would be peace in teh world.

  • ||

    And what will they do when the French-Chinese decide to invade Hawaii?

  • Adam R||

    Hire super intelligent otters to eviscerate them?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Teahuggers?

    Treebaggers?

    Sorry, too much/not enough 'nog...

  • Spartacus||

    Huh. If they already owned the land and wanted to keep it from being developed, it seems to me that the best way would be to maintain ownership themselves. Why give it to someone who may or may not follow your wishes?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Because if they retained the land for themselves, they'd have to pay property taxes on it.

  • squarooticus||

    What kind of idiots would trust the government to do the right thing with something like this (or well, just about anything)? The right answer is a private land trust.

  • ||

    +1

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    We're talking about liberals, squarooticus. The question answers itself.

  • hotsauce||

    Nothing except that it's still completely ridiculous. Since when does she respect property rights?

  • ||

    Not so fast. Maybe SOME of the land, but not all of that 1 million acres. No frakkin' way.

    This move is the religious ascetism of environmentalism in full bloom.

  • anonymous||

    How can you talk about what people want to do with their private property when the environment is at stake?

    Still, you give me an idea -- the feds could use eminent domain to transfer the property from themselves (with restrictions) to themselves (without restrictions), for a fair market price.

  • ||

    f'ing brilliant...

  • Jeffersonian||

    When besandaled greens chant about the virtues of solar power, what they forget is that every square meter of solar cells one installs is one square meter of land that no longer has sunlight falling on it. Put enough of those square meters together and you have a serious change in the environment for flora and fauna. If I remember correctly, one green group has already sued to keep a solar power installation from going in on just those grounds.

    Ultimately, greens are atavists, and we'll all be squatting in the freezing dark because of them.

  • Flush Obama||

    Not if we stack them like firewood, douse them with Coleman fuel and strike a match.

  • ||

    unfortunately the smoke they would give off is a controlled substance.

  • dfd||

    Unfortunately?? I see that as a feature, not a bug.

  • smartass sob||

    Shouldn't they be split first?

  • Rich||

    David Myers, executive director of the Wildlands Conservancy [said] “To a large extent this land is the connective tissue that holds the desert together.”

    Yeah ...

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Rename this provision the preservation of endangered dirt act.

  • Rich||

    Actually, given that it *is* "connective tissue", Health Reform covers it.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm angling for "Unicorns Will Shit Our Electricity Henceforth Act."

  • jk||

    Can't have that either. The process of shitting gives off methane - that's one of those awful greenhouse gases that is causing it to snow here.

  • T||

    Not unicorn shit, jk. Unicorn shit actually removes carbon compounds from the atmosphere with no harmful byproducts! You can use unicorn shit for carbon credits.

  • jk||

    Sorry T. I confused unicorn shits with the crap Congress makes. My mistake.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And don't forget, unicorn farts also leave behind the soothing aroma of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls.

  • ||

    You couldn't make up a statement like that and atribute it to a Greenie. No one would believe you. They'd have to say it themselves.

  • ||

    Myers must have hired Alan Sokal to write that sentence for him....

  • Old Mexican||

    Peter,

    Link via Sonny Bunch, who points out this is just the latest example of anti-renewable energy NIMBYism amongst putatively environmentally-concerned liberal legislators.

    It is not simply NYMBY-ism. The enviros are not one bit, one scintilla, concerned about energy production, regardless of how clean it could be.

    If tomorrow a group of scientists found a way to make energy production by atomic fussion a reality, Mrs. Feinstein would be the first in line to block any installation of a single plant in CA, because, again, she and the enviros are NOT interested in human progress, no matter how environmentally clean it could be. They are interested in population control through any means, be it economic means (by making the act of being alive more expensive) or by political means.

  • Jeffersonian||

    +1

  • Fluffy||

    But, Old Mexican, there's already plenty of energy, if only people weren't so greedy.

    If only people would realize that they really need much, much less than they currently have, then we wouldn't need any more solar plants. And all these people would find out that they would be so much happier if they had simpler lives without greed.

  • Jeffersonian||

    And then we'll all live in houses made of gingerbread and sweets and no one will ever have to work again. The End.

  • ||

    You are cracking me up with that.

  • ||

    You ain't the only one 'cracked up'.

  • ||

    Us little people need botox too.

  • Nancy Pelosi||

    No, you don't.

  • oaktownadam||

    I wish I had a dime for every time I've heard "we've got plenty of food to feed the entire world, except that the greedy corporations are hoarding it" from environmentalists in the past few weeks.

  • ||

    Don't they know that global warming will cancel Christmas.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....p;feature;
    Fucking planet killing bastards.

  • ||

    Oil is so cool. Barring an extremely rare accident, you can't even tell where it was extracted from. It's extraction does virtually no damage to the environment. It's easy to transport and use. It provides very compact energy. The competition in oil is wide open. Of course nuclear is even cooler. Regardless, none of this can overcome religious zealotry. I love the environment, that why I support nuclear, and oil.

  • ||

    I've never been a bumper sticker bearer, but now my car has two - one I got from Reason for my 25.00 donation, the other a Glen Reynolds quote: GLOBAL WARMING: I'll believe it's a crisis when the people who say it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis.

  • ||

    No shit. I can't even count the number of alleged environmentalists I've met who think along the lines of "only assholes drive Hummers", yet these same people see nothing wrong with flying for a weekend ski trip or traveling the world for their own recreation (make em worldy, ya know). But that guy driving the expensive vehicle that gets exactly the same gas mileage as a cargo van is a big fat earth-hating jerk.

  • ||

    Well, at least Algore practices what he preaches. He is "carbon-neutral".

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I was once behind a 1970s vintage International Travelall (for those who don't know, do an image search - those things were huge, thirsty gas-hogs woo hoo! - bearing a sticker - I shit you not - saying:

    "How many lives per gallon?"

    Never saw it again, though. Damn shame I didn't own a digital camera at the time... would've been a great image to spread on the internets.

    Bonus: About six feet away, on the other end of the bumper, was an Obama/Biden sticker.

  • ||

    Any of those alleged Greens got pets? Dogs seem to be worse than SUVs. When one of my greenie colleagues went off about SUVs I suggested she preserve the environment by eating her dogs. She wasn't all that amused.

  • oaktownadam||

    There is actually a good reason to turn down further solar projects in the Mojave: water consumption.

    Thermal solar plants require large amounts of water for cooling and cleaning the reflectors.

    Photovoltaics require a fair amount of water for cleaning the panels.

    While the desert has no shortage of sunlight, it has a distinct lack of water. Each new solar project depletes the aquifer that much more...and the Cal-EPA has turned down several projects in the area for just that reason.

    Also, having actually been to the Mojave, it is quite beautiful.

  • jk||

    I've been to the Mojave as well. It is beautiful the 2 or 3 days a year when it rains there. I especially liked the gigantic solar energy farm outside of Barstow - no better place to catch the sun 362 or 363 days a year.

  • oaktownadam||

    To wit:

    "The West’s water wars are likely to intensify with Pacific Gas and Electric’s announcement on Monday that it would buy 500 megawatts of electricity from two solar power plant projects to be built in the California desert.

    The Genesis Solar Energy Project would consume an estimated 536 million gallons of water a year, while the Mojave Solar Project would pump 705 million gallons annually for power-plant cooling, according to applications filed with the California Energy Commission."

    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes......tensifies/

  • ||

    Solar Power Is Wonderful, Really, Except When You Build It Anywhere Near Anything

    I lived in the Mojave Desert for most of my childhood. It's chock-full of nothing. If you can't build solar power plants there, you can't build then anywhere in California, because that land is as barren and worthless and unscenic as it gets.

  • Mike M.||

    Having done the drive both ways between L.A. and Vegas, the one thought that I had more than any other the whole time was "please let my rental car not break down out here".

  • Old Mexican||

    Hey, what about the desert tortoise??? You, you... You tortoise-hating monger!

  • ||

    Do They make good soup?

  • ||

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Oh yeah, that's why respecting private property rights solves this.

  • Photovoltaic Lobby||

    "When you get her on the phone, just ask her how much it's gonna cost us."

  • ||

    Having worked in the power industry, it's an old phrase way beyond NIMBY - BANANA

    Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything

    Currently being replaced by NOPE

    Not on planet earth

  • Scott66||

    My brother who is a civil engineer runs across these people all the time and says his group defines BANANA as -

    Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Never Again

    Either version works. The enviros are definately energy BANANAs.

  • PR||

    I like that Siemens commercial where they say "somewhere in America, a house overlooking the ocean is powered by a windmill in the plains". Really? Is wind power from the plains sent that far?

  • Dianne Feinstein||

    You missed the point, peon.

    Those of us on the coast want all of those hideous power plants in the flyover states.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Sure thing, Di. Just don't expect us to wire 'em up to Kollivornia.

  • Nancy Pelosi||

    I still get to keep MY jet plane, though.

  • Al Gore||

    We both do, Nancy. Because we're better than they are.

  • Liberal Speech Policeman #666||

    Jeffersonian is guilty of misogynist hate speech. He is to be captured, alive if possible, and will be taken to a holding area until Guantanamo Bay is turned into our new Thought Realignment Camp.

    In the meantime, he will be bound to a chair in front of Rachel Maddow's desk until his eyelashes bleed.

  • Flush Obama||

    No.

  • ||

    The hypocrisy is shameless. Is anyone surprised?

  • ¢||

    Whoever's press release had the awkward institutional phrase "the monument area" in it over and over again got their money's worth from the Times. The article sermon-bangs on that weird construction about nineteen times.

  • MP||

    "Mrs. Feinstein has long championed desert preservation"

    If she believes her own GW disaster BS, then she'll have more desert than she'll know what to do with.

  • Sandi||

    I took a shit in the Mojave Desert once. It'll be there forever.

  • ||

    Shit in the Mojave Desert is what is known as "food" to a lot of the denizens there.

  • Scott||

    I run and write (libertarian!) editorials for a newspaper down in the affected area and after meeting with the folks behind a large solar plant north of the affected area, I'm pretty sure there's another angle going on here that we're not realizing.

    I suspect exceptions will be made for certain solar plants to be built in the area. I also suspect such solar plants will have labor agreements to use union builders in place before they get federal approval as is the case with the solar project. We will find, when all is said and done, the same old "winners and losers" of government project approvals.

    Not that it matters, but I also suspect a lot of the proposed solar projects were totally speculative in the hopes of getting investors and Obama money and would never had been built anyway.

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    If we were to emulate China this wouldn't be a problem.

    China's solution to environment vs Clean Energy.

  • ||

    I suspect exceptions will be made for certain solar plants to be built in the area. I also suspect such solar plants will have labor agreements to use union builders in place before they get federal approval as is the case with the solar project.

    Oh, so the objection is to inexpensive solar plants. Once we crank up the cost with union labor, then they will be just hunky-dory.

    I don't know why I didn't see that coming.

  • Scott||

    Oh, I also neglected to mention the huge guaranteed government loan from the Department of Energy they were expecting to pay for more than half of its construction costs.

  • Scott||

    Oh, and despite promoting the project as doubling the amount of commercial solar energy in the U.S., it produces less than half the energy of a single nuclear plant, but I'm pretty sure that's something that's been mentioned in the energy coverage here.

  • ||

    Exactly. "Green energy" is a JOBS program, you know. The more JOBS we can "produce" with those contracts the better, right?
    Ergo, the more expensive the upfront costs are, the better.

    Havn't you learned ANYTHING from observing how NASA works?

  • ||

    Diane isn't the only one that once the actual sites are discussed, verses some utopian nonsense about renewable energy, rainbows and puppy dogs tails; that reject having fucking windmills around them.

    http://www.wind-watch.org/news.....n-updated/

  • lde||

    Solar and wind power are inefficient for the amount of land they take up, and like it or not desert is still an ecosystem and, from an environmentalist prospective, still needs to be preserved. As someone who is an "environmentalist", I feel that Feinstein's doing the right thing even though it contradicts greatly with the "Green energy is only way to go" that oh so au courant with most Dems. I say protect the environment, switch to nuclear.

  • ||

    What if they wanted to build a nuclear plant in the desert, Ide. Still cool with that?

  • ||

    Would use a lot less desert.

    But that cooing water thing comes into play again. There's a reason nuclear plants are built on lakes and rivers.

  • ||

    Just a note. All power plants that use heat to boil water to turn turbines require cooling water.

    The only difference with nuclear is that one nuke plant has the capacity of many coal plants, and thus needs proportionally more cooling water.

    You could, in theory, build a small nuke plant that needs less water, but IMO, the upfront consruction costs for nuke plants (largely associated with the ridiculously-abused-by-activists site permitting process) make it more economic to have one huge plant than 20 small ones.

  • ||

    Correct, i negelcted the fact that any thermal plant needs water.

  • ||

    To be clear though, i say fuck the desert.

    With unlimited resources and manpower, I'd go Fremen on the world's deserts like a fat chick at a buffet. 1k years and we'd have no more deserts to argue about. No Spice either though, so there's a trade-off.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The environmental impact horseshit against building solar collectors in the middle of God and Nowhere, really has me scratching my noggin...

  • lde||

    Completely, I live right next to the largest nuclear power plant in the states and it's in the middle of the desert. Plus there are ways around using a natural source of water.

  • ||

    I think solar photovoltaic panels in the environment look ugly as all hell.

    I think solar concentrators look only slightly better.

    But in an already-developed area, pv panels on roofs can look pretty cool while being functional.

    I'd leave the hinterlands to the hinterlands whenever possible.

    RCDean? I propose razing massive amounts of worthless Detroit neighborhoods to build a nuke plant or two.

  • ||

    I can't wait for the thin-film PV roofing materials to get to mass-production.

    The average single family home has enough roof space to power their fridge and some lights on a sunny day, easy. Its not quite Off The Grid, but hey, savings is savings.

  • ||

    Beat me to it.

  • Mad Scientist||

    I just invented an invisible windmill!

    Now I can (dare I say it?) RULE THE WORLD!

    BWAHAHAHAA!!

  • ||

    You wont be able to take over the world till you mount those invisi-mills on some sharks. Or Bears maybe.

  • Mad Scientist||

    Uh, do those have to be invisible, too ...?

  • ||

    Not until after the 1st strike. Then people will be on the lookout for bears and sharks.

  • ||

    You won't be allowed to build it unless you equip every bird in the US with special goggles that allow them to see and avoid the invisible windmills.

    You don't hate birds do you?

  • ||

    Honestly, I'd much rather have pristine landscape than endless fields of solar panels and windfarms, myself.

    That's why I support building a horde of nuclear plants.

    I wonder what Fienstein's position on nuclear is.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    There is another, more practical reason to not build power plants in the desert; no one lives there.

    There is a factor in power transmission called "line loss". Power lost moving from A to B is dependent upon the resistance of the wire and the (square) of the current flowing thru it. Even tho it might be small, every inch of power line has a resistance amount and the longer those lines are the more resistance. You can eat up a lot of power just trying to move it over long distances.

    In a way Edison had it right. His vison of a power grid was a neighborhood generating station feeding several local homes. Todays analogy would be a nuke plant next to every city.

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    How about the new micro combined-heat-and-power systems? Put a fuel cell stack in everyone's home, and just pipe natural gas to everyone.

    Eliminates transmission loss, and its not like gas lines go down very often. Pipe the CO2 output into a lil hothouse in your backyard to enhance your gardening activities. Could water the garden from the stack too i guess.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    I recall an article in Scientific American discussing this very thing, although this was back in the early 90's before carbon was a big deal. The fuel cell provided power and the residual heat was used for home heating and DHW. Totally self-contained home with the exception of the natural gas line coming in.

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    I've been advocating the same thing. Could you run a fuel cell off of NG? Or would that be used to generate the H?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Indeed.
    Good point.

    The most sensible proposals I have seen would cover highways, parking lots, rooftops and other such surfaces to produce solar power.

  • ||

    In a way Edison had it right.

    Edison never understood AC power, or the benefit of stepping voltage up for transmission over long distances.

    -jcr

  • ||

    (posted in the other energy thread, including here for thoroughness)

    even if scientists and engineers had an "Eureka" moment and found a way to get more energy out of solar-emmited light

    Another decade or two of nanotech research and we just might have panels made of nano-antenna that generate electricity across a wide spectrum (UV, visible, and IR.)

    There's still only ~1kW/m^2 hitting the earth on a cloudless day. That's 500,000m^2 (or 5.38 million ft^2) of panels to replace a 500MW nuclear plant.

    A quick googling gave me 660 acres for a 476MW plant in Nebraska, which comes out to 2.67million m^2. I can't believe they're actually using all that land though, all the pictures I've seen of plants seem a lot smaller (under 100 acres).

    With those numbers, the hypothetical 100% efficient solar panels win. Real panels don't fare as favorably though. Fresh PV panels only convert about 15% of incoming light to electricity, so each m^2 is only good for 150W on a cloudless day. Comes out to 3.3million m^2 to get 500MW, and so nuclear wins.

    Lets not cover the planet in solar panels until they reach at least 50% conversion efficiency. Hell, even then, lets look at power beaming satellites again and screw the terrestrial panels.

  • ||

    I read somewhere that there is a theoretical upper limit of 40% or so efficiency on solar panels. Not sure why.

  • ||

    your 1kW/m^2 doesn't appear to account for the fact that each square meter spends much of the day in darkness (that is, you appear to be using peak sunlight, rather than mean) Wikipedia gives a mean value of 342 W/m^2, though that's across all latitudes, and you can do better by choosing somewhere that has little-to-no cloud cover (Mojave makes sense in this regard...) and is near the equator.

    If To Hayek With You is correct, (probably so, there are Thermodynamic laws that keep us from approaching anywhere near 100% efficiency in processes like this) then we're down to about 140 W/m^2, and we'll lose more due to cloud cover and down time/maintenance.

    Let's say 100 W/m^2. Multiply your area use estimate by 10 to get a more reasonable value.

  • ||

    I did the math with 150W/m^2 for a 15% efficient panel. Cloud cover and daytime% will of course result in a lower figure per m^2.

    I don't believe there is a 2nd Law limit to the process, it's just a matter of using all the light that strikes the panel.

    Current state of the art panels achieve upto 40-45% conversion efficiency using multiple layers that catch a broader spectrum of light. Any light not converted to electricity or reflected becomes heat which hinders the process.

  • Casey Verdant||

    Sen. Feinstein’s bill to create Mojave Desert monuments ruins the prospect of subtle, non-invasive solar projects on federal lands. Solar farms could easily and inoffensively be placed on these lands without affecting native species.
    If you’re interested in solar energy or any other alternative energies, check out http://www.greencollareconomy.com. It has hundreds of case studies on emerging green technology and solar power. It's also the largest b2b green directory on the web.

  • Lord Jubjub||

    There is another point I found after some research.

    There is plenty of perfectly prepared land that is environmentally useless because it has recently been used for low-value crops or speculative housing projects. The land has been perfectly prepared for the construction of solar farms.

    But it's on privately held lands. The owners are asking for rather a bit more than what the government is offering for its lands.

    Don't color me surprised.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Do I smell "eminent domain" coming from Our Lords and Masters to gobble up the desert in the near future?

    Damn private land-owners. Wanting market value. Piffle. Don't they know it's For the Common Good?

  • ||

    Feinstein needs to be defeated in her next election. She has been there too long and done too much damage. She treats the office as a sinecure. This latest stunt shows her to be beyond the pale.

    I've been through the desert on several occasions and it is hundreds of miles of nothing. As another commenter said above, if you can't build a solar farm here, you can't do it anywhere. I prefer concentrated solar to PV, but you can get lot of electricity from a 5x5 mile square of land devoted to either technology. You can't much of anything else except borax and some other minerals. So how is getting a lot of electricity from the land vs. little or nothing of anything else not an efficient use of the parcel? Plus, the solar plants can someday be dismantled if necessary, so even in the unlikely event that environmental damage is done, it can be readily undone (albeit at a loss for the farm operators).

  • ||

    This latest stunt shows her to be beyond the pale.

    Oh, she's been beyond the pale for as long as I can remember. How about that snotty little lecture she gave about how the thousands of people who contacted her office to oppose the TARP plan "didn't understand" it?

    -jcr

  • ||

    * hundreds of (linear) miles of nothing (on either side as you pass through).

  • Benjamin||

    Back when I lived in Sherman, NY (lying about mid-way between Jamestown, NY and Erie, PA) there was an effort to place a wind farm along a ridge of hills paralleling Lake Erie. As anyone who has lived in that region can attest to, there is a lot of wind blowing out of Canada (perhaps all the Canadians gloating over their wonderful socialized health care or something) and when it wasn't dumping several feet of snow on the region it made for great potential energy.

    Of course everyone loves clean renewable energy right? Hell no! There was a campaign to put an end to this vile attempt at marring the scenic views. The bumper stickers of those opposed read, without the hint of irony I'm sure, "Great Idea, Bad Location". NIMBY ad its worst. Eventually it turned into a fight between those whose land was to be used, who were generally pro-wind farm as they were to get a cut of the profits, and those either jealous of not getting anything or those not wanting to mess up their precious view of Lake Erie. I moved before the whole thing was sorted out so I'm not really sure how it went.

    I can attested to the fact that the view of Lake Erie from some areas was spectacular. Especially along the curve of highway where 86 West merged with Interstate 90. Which may explain why so many people smashed into the guard rail there and flew of the curve to their untimely demise. If only there had been some hideous wind turbines there so they could have kept their eyes on the road. We need more wind power marring otherwise beautiful, but deadly, scenery...for the chidren.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Funny that Dems don't want to build windmills in their backyards, or bitch about the "pristine" desert (what kind of pollution can come from solar collection? Stray electrons that didn't get absorbed? Oh, the humanity!...

    ...but we can't drill in ANWR in an area the size of a .

  • Al Gore||

    Gosh, over a hundred comments and no input from my minions Tony, Chad, or MNG... I must fiddle with the mind-control machine settings. Excuse me.

  • jk||

    Global warming - the mind-control drug.

  • ||

    The San Jose Mercury News is reporting today on another solar project, this one near Silicon Valley, that is under fire from environmentalist:

    World's largest solar project prompts environmental debate

    http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_14050919

  • ||

  • ||

    Californians expect less enlightened states to it's east to provide it's power, dispose of it's waste (i.e., do all it's dirty work) for it, so they can keep the Golden State an untouched playground for software millionaires and Hollywood starlets and other super-rich (and the fortunate serfs who remain to serve them lattes).

  • ||

    I am sitting here in my house in the pristine Mojave Desert. We don't have too many visits from Senator Feinstein here (I don't think she has ever carried this district), but I can assure here that wind farms and turbines really are not something that most of us worry about. It is the desert...what are you going to do, turn it into more of a desert?

    If she is opposed to this because she thinks nuclear is better, then I am with her, but if it is just another case of NIMBY, it is bad policy.

  • Wrauny||

    I was just driving through Mojave a couple months back. The solar farms there looked pretty cool. Plenty of empty space and lots of sun. BTW, I wish people would leave CO2 alone -click here

  • ZZMike||

    That's the whole point. The Left - exemplified by people like Feinstein - don't want new power sources, they want to get rid of all power sources (except perhaps human muscle).

  • ||

    Extent of Mojave Desert a survey made by the USGS which covers 25,000 square miles
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mojave_Desert

    Deputy environment minister Astrid Klug said there were now 250,000 jobs in Germany's renewable energies sector and an overall total of 1.8 million in environmental protection. The number of jobs in renewables will triple by 2020 and hit 900,000 by 2030.
    http://reuters.com/article/idUSTRE51N2F920090224

    Enron CEO Ken Lay mocked the efforts by the California State government to thwart the practices of the energy wholesalers, saying, "In the final analysis, it doesn't matter what you crazy people in California do, because I got smart guys who can always figure out how to make money." according to the statements made by Freeman to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis

    Going green in the Mojave desert is a no brainer and it makes sense economically and environmentally.

  • دردشة||

    thanks

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