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Feinstein: Don't Spoil Our Desert With Solar Panels

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Doomsday101, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    WASHINGTON -- California's Mojave Desert may seem ideally suited for solar energy production, but concern over what several proposed projects might do to the aesthetics of the region and its tortoise population is setting up a potential clash between conservationists and companies seeking to develop renewable energy.

    Nineteen companies have submitted applications to build solar or wind facilities on a parcel of 500,000 desert acres, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday such development would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public.

    Feinstein said Friday she intends to push legislation that would turn the land into a national monument, which would allow for existing uses to continue while preventing future development.

    The Wildlands Conservancy orchestrated the government's purchase of the land between 1999-2004. It negotiated a discount sale from the real estate arm of the former Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroad and then contributed $40 million to help pay for the purchase. David Myers, the conservancy's executive director, said the solar projects would do great harm to the region's desert tortoise population.

    "It would destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem," said David Myers, executive director of The Wildlands Conservancy.

    Feinstein said the lands in question were donated or purchased with the intent that they would be protected forever. But the Bureau of Land Management considers the land now open to all types of development, except mining. That policy led the state to consider large swaths of the land for future renewable energy production.

    "This is unacceptable," Feinstein said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "I urge you to direct the BLM to suspend any further consideration of leases to develop former railroad lands for renewable energy or for any other purpose."

    In a speech last year, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger complained about environmental concerns slowing down the approval of solar plants in California.

    "If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave desert, I don't know where the hell we can put it," Schwarzenegger said at Yale University.

    But Karen Douglas, chairman of the California Energy Commission, said Feinstein's proposal could be a "win-win" for energy and conservation. The governor's office said Douglas was speaking on the administration's behalf.

    "The opportunity we see in the Feinstein bill is to jump-start our own efforts to find the best sites for development and to come up with a broader conservation plan that mitigates the impact of the development," Douglas said.

    Douglas said that if the national monument lines were drawn without consideration of renewable energy then a conflict was likely, but it's early enough in the planning process that she's confident the state will be able to get more solar and wind projects up and running without hurting the environment.

    "We think we can do both," Douglas said. "We think this is an opportunity to accelerate both."

    Greg Miller of the Bureau of Land Management said there are 14 solar energy and five wind energy projects that have submitted applications seeking to develop on what's referred to as the former Catellus lands. None of the projects are close to being approved, he said.

    The land lies in the southeast corner of California, between the existing Mojave National Preserve on the north and Joshua Tree National Park on the south.

    "They all have to go through a rigorous environmental analysis now," Miller said. "It will be at best close to two years out before we get some of these grants approved."

    Feinstein's spokesman, Gil Duran, said the senator looks forward to working with the governor and the Interior Department on the issue.

    "There's plenty of room in America's deserts for the bold expansion of renewable energy projects," Duran said.
  2. CowboyWay

    CowboyWay If Coach would have put me in, we'd a won State

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    Unbelievable.

    Does anyone know how much land is out there? To say solar panels will "Destroy the entire Mojave Desert", is asinine.

    We need to build as many panels and wind towers as we can. You'd have to be a hardcore environmentalist to worry about killing a horny toad or a sage bush.

    Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
  3. ShiningStar

    ShiningStar Well-Known Member

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    So you dont mind if the environmentalists dont get their way, but you are okay with eco friendly engery regardless of the cost?
  4. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    "We need to go green, we need to go green, just don't charge extra and don't put a windmill or solar panel near my yard." typical leftists.
  5. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    Do you realize that solar panels and wind turbines are so ineffecient that they would have to fill the mojave with one or the the other to replace one nuclear power plant.
  6. hairic

    hairic Well-Known Member

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  7. ologan

    ologan Well-Known Member

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    When was the last time you,or anybody reading this,saw a 'Horny Toad'??
    They were thick as fleas on a hounds back when I was a kid.
  8. BigDinAZ

    BigDinAZ Active Member

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    I'm in the renewable energy field, and trust me... you can never make the environmentalist happy. They want clean energy, but then they say your using to much land. It's a complete oxy moron.

    I'm having issues on a project my company is bidding for a 1 Mw Solar field on the California, Arizona, Nevada border.
  9. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    Read your little eco friendly propaganda and non of the top 13 are close to enough or will ever be close enough to power NYC 10500 MW. Lets break it down number 2 on the list is a 4500 acre solar panel farm that will possibly generate 850MW (850000000 watts) which breaks down to .188888MW per acre but in actuality that is only true during times of peak sun which for arguments sake is 12 hours the efficiency of the solar panel is only 50% on sunny days and more then likely less considering sunny cloudless days are not an every day occurance so I have hard time believing that this method of power generation is feasible to power one city let alone one continent. While solar and wind are great ways to compliment more efficient forms of energy production it cannot compete with nuclear per acre.
  10. adamc91115

    adamc91115 New Member

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    I agree with what you're saying... But that was one helluva run-on sentence :laugh2:.


    We shouldn't even be talking about building solar panel "farms" yet. They will most likely be obsolete in a few years. We need to wait until these things become more efficient... IF they even become more efficient.
  11. CowboyFan74

    CowboyFan74 Cowboys Analyst

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    Don't forget about all those birds that fly into the windmill blades at night:laugh2:
  12. hairic

    hairic Well-Known Member

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    That was just a random article that had nothing to do with the claim of powering a continent (you'd need hundreds of square miles of desert covered, and you'd start with powering Africa). The link was just to illustrate the efficiency of the tech in rebuttal to your claim that you'd have to cover tens of thousands of square miles with solar / wind farms to compete with one nuclear plant. And in response you switched to a claim of per acre, they can't compete. Obviously, when the formula is e=mc2, nothing can compete.

    I also told you to google solar thermal / concentrated solar, which you didn't. Photovoltaic cells (solar panels) aren't involved in solar thermal, reflective material and water is all that's needed, and it provides power into the night with stored heat as well.
  13. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    That is do to fire ants not anything we have done the Horny toad ate native ants as fire ants invade the US through foreign agriculture and immigrants coming into the US. The Horny Toad will not eat the Fire Ants so there food supply is gone and there is no way to save them
  14. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    The question i have is how can it be efficient when it only works when the sun is out. Until they figure a way to store and regulate the power output reliably it is only a complimentary form of energy. Miles, acres whats the difference really you can build one nuclear power plant that takes up 10 acres and it will out power anything. Point being while it would be nice to have 100% completely renewable energy that costs very little to produce it isn't feasible. For example I live in MD which has probably seen some of the highest energy cost rises in the last 18 months, my electric company sends me a bill and asks me every month if I want to pay $10 more a month I can get 50% of my power from wind and for another $10 I can get all my electricity from wind. While $20 month is nothing really it is when you have $400+ utility bill a month when it used to be in the sub $200's. So why should I pay more to be more eco friendly when in the long run it MAY not benefit me.
  15. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    Until we can produce chlorophyll and make it work in solar panels like plants it is going to be a hard road to travel. The best method we have for storing solar is batteries and that works better on smaller scales like homes.

    Right know renewable energy is better used as a compliment to our normal energy and currently it is still way over priced
  16. CowboyWay

    CowboyWay If Coach would have put me in, we'd a won State

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    I'm not anti Nuclear. Remember what they say about people who ASSume.

    I love the "inefficient" argument though. Makes me laugh.

    The Model T was pretty inefficient too, but as people buy and produce cars, they got better and better and better.

    Eco Freindly energy will be the same.

    There is plenty wind and solar stuff out there that would either cut your electric bill in half, cut it out entirely, or to let you get a check from the power companies every month.

    How much you do is up to you.
  17. CowboyWay

    CowboyWay If Coach would have put me in, we'd a won State

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    Hogwash.

    Anyone who is against a solar panel because it is destroying the environment might be second cousins to the unibomber.

    Hardy "typical"

    But you seem to like to deal in generalizations, so please continue.
  18. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    That gets me too. "It doesn't work right now, SCREW IT!"

    Nuclear was once on the drawing board. Good thing the people working on it didn't have the same mentality.
  19. jcollins28

    jcollins28 Active Member

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    Really? Where did you get your info? I'm working on a project right now where they may be using air compressor's to blow air onto those wind mills to turn them. The trade off would be more then enough to power the compressor and still make energy.
  20. ScipioCowboy

    ScipioCowboy More than meets the eye. Zone Supporter

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    Nuclear power is the future. Accept it.

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