More on the economic, environmental, and ecological devastation caused by solar and wind power. This post discusses flaws in the master plan to develop wind and solar in the California desert.
Update 11/18: Chris Clarke informs us that You Have More Time to Comment on That Desert Energy Plan. The deadline for comment has been extended from January 9 to February 23, which is an additional six weeks. He points out you better get started. At 8,000 pages, you need to get through 800 pages a day to make sure your comment is thorough and responsive enough that the regulators can’t just throw away your letter.
10/23 – ReWire – California’s Renewable Energy Plan Misses the Point of Renewable Energy – Chris Clarke shreds what logic and rational thought went into the plans to develop the California desert into a massive solar and wind farm.
The 6,000+ page Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is essentially an EIR to develop the desert starting from east of LA and San Diego all the way to the Nevada border. Previously mentioned this plan here.
Mr. Clarke explains the goal of the plan is to develop 20,000 MW of renewable energy in the desert by 2020.
Mr. Clarke says that is equivalent to an additional 54 wing-toasting plants the size of Ivanpah (well, he doesn’t call them wing-toasters) or 8,000 slice-and-dice turbines of 2.5MW capacity (again, he doesn’t say slice-and-dice either, but you get the point). That would be either 54 new Ivanpahs or 8,000 new turbines.
Where does that 20,000 MW number come from? The White House’s goal of renewable energy. Why is that the target? Just because.
That number is the national goal, which this plan converts to the California goal. Why? Just because.
The goal of the plan is to put solar and wind power into the desert. Why? Mr. Clarke points out the circular reasoning of that being the goal because that is the goal.
As a result, many options are dismissed as nonviable. A plan to relocate development to areas that will reduce the devastation to eagle, condor, protected bird, and migratory bird populations is excluded from the study because that would reduce the amount of solar and wind power generated in the desert. The “avian avoidance” option is rejected because it would interfere with the self-defined goal of producing wind and solar power in the desert. The circular reasoning is all the justification needed for the damage to eagles and condors and protected birds in general.
Likewise the option of distributed energy, such as solar panels on roofs of buildings and over parking lots is rejected because, you guessed it, that would interfere with the goal of producing solar and wind power in the desert.
More serious that continual circular logic is Mr. Clarke’s criticism that the plan ignores economic developments over the last six years in solar technology. Also ignores cost of developing transmission lines from the remote desert to population centers.
Check out the full 2,500+ word article for those and additional egregious flaws in the plan.
11/10 – Daily Bulletin – Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan has holes, groups say – Opposition to the master plan for turning the desert into wind farms and solar farms is growing. Groups are starting to identify flaws, such as blocking off migration routes of various animals. Deadline for comments is likely to be extended because of public pressure.