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Been reading this article which was in the Salon of today. I don't know why it ticks me off so much.

The solar power compromise: Sacrificing desert to save the Earth - Page 2 - latimes.com

Larry LaPre, the Bureau of Land Management's wildlife biologist for much of the Mojave, said some aspects of the project have been carefully considered and painstakingly done. Other approaches, however, are "complete nonsense," among them BrightSource's experimental approach of shearing the tops of desert plants so they fit under elevated solar mirrors. The company calls it "gentle mowing."

"To get another barrel cactus, even a small one, takes 100 years," he said, driving around the Ivanpah construction site. LaPre peered through the windshield and ticked off what living things might be left after the developers complete their work.

"The birds are already gone. They're outta there," he said. The site "will have plants, short plants, and it will have mice and kangaroo rats and some lizards. That's it. Maybe some more common birds. The insects are an unknown, because you could have massive losses of pollinators because you have all these insects getting burned in the mirrors."

Jeffrey Lovich studies desert tortoises for the U.S. Geological Survey. In preparing a recent paper, he and a colleague scoured published research analyzing impacts from large solar farms on wildlife. They found one paper. Essentially, Lovich said, no one knows what will happen to wildlife in the Mojave.

"This is an experiment on a grand scale," Lovich said. "Science is racing to catch up."

I don't know whether it is the incompetent but predictable subsidy loopholes which allowed businesses to make profit without doing anything, or the tone of the article, or the scientists expressing worries above. And although it's not mentioned, part of this project was initiated because of the nationalistic hoopla about energy independence.

I guess the upshot is: something has got to give if we want to decarbonise the economy. But we keep pretending it doesn't. Next stop: Lalala-land.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 01:01:10 PM EST
I can address at least one issue. De-centralization of power generation, which is not on the agenda of TPTB.

This Ivanpah project is aimed at power gen for SoCal. Existing rooftop space in the LA city & county limits was enough to power the entire city 30 years ago. Likely at least as true today.

Though some might argue, there are far less endangered tortoises in LA proper.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 02:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy Horse:
I can address at least one issue. De-centralization of power generation, which is not on the agenda of TPTB.

This Ivanpah project is aimed at power gen for SoCal. Existing rooftop space in the LA city & county limits was enough to power the entire city 30 years ago. Likely at least as true today.

Yup teh stupid writ large, but TPTB WILL make big profits, so no worries.

there was a great cover of a 'Coevolution Quarterly' once that showed an LA skyline, with solar thermal on almost all the rooves, back in freaking 1920!

way truer today...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2012 at 06:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those were photos from The Golden Thread: 2500 years of Solar by John Perlin and Ken Butti. Wish i could find some of those photos, in my garage in Frisco i've got a few hundred brochures with those photos, but can't find them on the net.

But it's a perfect illustration of what many renewable energy advocates don't understand, that it's also a social control issue, in which decentralized power generation (or heat) upsets the conventional order.

Here's something from John Solar Thermal History

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Feb 7th, 2012 at 06:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Institutionalized psychopathy:

pervasive pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others ... can involve a lack of empathy or remorse, false emotions, selfishness, grandiosity or deceptiveness; it can also involve impulsiveness, irritability, aggression, or inability to perceive danger

For the psychopath only the The Self and its immediate desires exists, has value.    

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 02:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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