Update on solar power – #31


(Photo by James Ulvog; one of three towers is in operation.)

Here are a few articles on the down side of solar energy: more categories of environmental damage / bulldozer moving forward a 6,000+ page plan for desert use / late coverage of cancelling another environmental disaster.

9/29 – PA Pundits International – Deroy Murdock – Earth-Friendly Energy Is Anything But – Article surveys the devastation caused by wind and solar power. In addition to many issues I’ve discussed on this blog, the article points out two more.

Untouched desert land has captured large amounts of CO2. Large scale disturbance of the soil, such as building a 3,500 acre solar farm like Ivanpah in the above photo, releases massive CO2 that was captured.

Wind turbines require a lot of rare earth and otherwise dangerous substances. A huge mine in Baotau China produces neodymium for the electromagnet in a slice-and-dice turbine. There is a five-mile wide tailing lake around the mine. Thousands of people are sick and huge amounts of farm land are unusable. That environmental disaster is part of the cost of solar power.

A one sentence summary:

“Clean energy” hurts nature.

10/7 – ReWire – California’s Huge Renewable Energy Plan is Bad for Democracy – Looks like another bulldozer has been turned loose on the California desert.

(Yes, dark-humor joke intended by pointing this out right after the article explaining CO2 is released by huge-scale developments in the desert. I need to drop the amount of sarcasm in my coverage and stick with ridicule.)

After a two-year delay, the feds turned loose a 6,030 page environmental impact statement and zoning planning. It is formally called the Draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan {DRECP} – I’ll call it zoning and EIS since I don’t want to take a full post to explain the document’s purpose.

This will govern the treatment and usage of over 2,000,000 acres of desert. The desert east of the LA and San Diego metro areas to the Nevada/Arizona borders from the Tehachapi Mountains to the Mexico border is blocked out.

The goal is to identify land that will allow 20,000 MW of solar and wind energy to be developed.

Mr. Clarke estimates it would take 210 days to read the entire document for understanding if one were to read 8 hours a day. Comments are due January 9, which is only 108 days after the six-volume document was released.

Mr. Clarke’s comment on this is bad for democracy is based on his estimate that the only people who will be able to absorb the document and provide “substantive” comment will be the staff of federal and state agencies dealing with land usage, researchers from the better funded environmental organizations, and renewable energy companies. He points out that any comment that is not deemed “substantive” (meaning you aren’t making a specific point related to a specific, cited statement in the document) can be ignored by the regulators.

Only by the most narrow-minded definition does that mean there will be any comment from the general public. Only the crony capitalists, their regulators, one specific reporter from KCET, and a few analysts from the richest environmental organizations will get a “substantive” comment in on time.

After reading the article, it sounds to me like the 6,000 page plan is a done deal.

10/9 – Daily Bulletin – Palen solar power project near Joshua Tree scrapped – Already mentioned this on 9/29 here when I discussed Chris Clarke’s article of 9/26. For my education, I note that the Daily Bulletin took two weeks to cover the news. It is good that they did. Took two weeks, but they did.

No comments from the projects’ owner about why they pulled the plug on the environmentally devastating project or their new plans beyond what Mr. Clarke already mentioned.

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