Biologists scour Mojave in desert tortoise roundup.

What has this society come to?
Construction of the Ivanpah Solar plant starts.

Clear the land of life for power generation that could be achieved by installing solar panels on rooftops where it is used. The bulldozers, fences, and powerlines are next.

The science shows that half of these endangered desert tortoises will die and an equal number of the tortoises that will be displaced but the moved tortoises will die as well. It’s all a charade under the guise of GREEN ENERGY that is being greenwashed by many of the big “conservation” groups.

Other alternatives were never examined because that would get in the way of the profits of those big power companies who will profit at the expense of the taxpayers and more importantly habitat and wildlife. There is a playa just across the freeway where Bob Abbey, the director of the BLM, likes to landsail. It was never considered as an alternative site.

The effort in San Bernardino County’s panoramic Ivanpah Valley, just north of Interstate 15 and about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, disrupted complex tortoise social networks and blood lines linked for centuries by dusty trails, shelters and hibernation burrows.

Biologists scour Mojave in desert tortoise roundup
Los Angeles Times

Ivanpah Power Plant – Not Clean Not Green

Michael J. Connor, Ph.D.
California Director
Western Watersheds Project

Ancient Mojave yuccas on the Ivanpah power plant site. (2009) © Michael J. Connor, Ph.D.

Ancient Mojave yuccas on the Ivanpah power plant site. (2009) © Michael J. Connor, Ph.D.

Secretary of the Interior Salazar is about to initial a series of major giveaways of public lands in California to industrial-scale solar power producers. These “fast-tracked” power plant projects have had truncated environmental reviews in the current administration’s rush to place huge chunks of public land in the hands of developers to build on them at public expense.

The Ivanpah Solar Power Plant project is a prime example. The project’s proponent, BrightSource Energy, will build an experimental “power tower” solar power plant on over five and a half square miles of high quality desert tortoise habitat in California’s Ivanpah Valley. The 1.7 billion dollar project will be primed with $1.3 billion in public “economic stimulus” funds provided by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

The project is the first of a number of power plants proposed for public lands in the Ivanpah Valley. A photovoltaic plant is planned right next door to the Ivanpah power plant. Just down the valley over the Nevada border is the proposed Silver State power plant. These and other projects will block off the Ivanpah Valley, turn the North Ivanpah Valley into an industrial zone, and will have major consequences for rare and endangered wildlife. Although the ESA-listed desert tortoise population is declining, the Ivanpah power plant will split the North Ivanpah Valley, eliminate desert tortoise habitat, require that resident tortoises be relocated placing them and any resident tortoises at the relocation site in danger, and will severely compromise connectivity and gene flow between important desert tortoise populations. It will also impact foraging for bighorn sheep and other wildlife, a number of rare plants, and an assemblage of barrel cactus unrivaled elsewhere in the Golden State. Native Americans cultural remains including unusual stone structures will be stranded in a sea of mirrors. The agencies don’t know what these structures are, so how can they be important? No matter that the local Chemehuevi Indians don’t share that view.

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Solar Or Wind Power? Why Not Both?

Using satellites to produce energy could eliminate the need for other power sources but how do you get the energy back to earth? Beam it.

This idea has been around for a while but it could have profound impacts that aren’t well understood. I find these kinds of stories fascinating and I think they relate to the discussions we have here.

Questions that aren’t addressed here are what effect would this have on climate? Yes, it could obviate the need for new sources of power but what about the effects of the beam itself? What about transmission lines and who would control it once it gets here? No doubt it would be controlled by some megacorporation if past history is any guide.

Other practical questions are how do you protect such a large object from space debris? What would such an object do to the night sky?

Solar Or Wind Power? Why Not Both?
Discovery News

Energy chief stuns environmentalists with renewable energy approach

Nevada’s energy chief wants to take Federal Lands and hand them over to energy companies.

Jim Groth, an appointee of Governor Jim Gibbons, published a declaration which calls for turning the State of Nevada into an energy colony and he doesn’t think it should be subject to National Environmental Policy Act requirements.

“The greatest thing holding Nevada back from achieving economic success right now is the need to satisfy onerous policies or laws and have the ‘right’ paperwork in order,” Groth writes in his “declaration.”

Nevada has become the latest target of energy producers and transmitters of all stripes. Gigantic solar and wind plants as well as geothermal plants have been proposed on public lands. El Paso Corp’s Ruby Pipeline has received preliminary permission to pass through northern Nevada’s most pristine sage grouse and pygmy rabbit habitat. There are also a number of proposed transmission lines to support these developments.

Public lands are not a renewable resource and the kind of development proposed in Nevada will have devastating impacts on wildlife there. It is time to make a major push towards rooftop solar and conservation rather than these centralized power plants on public lands which require transmission lines that lose power getting the electricity to where it is used.

Energy chief stuns environmentalists with renewable energy approach.
Las Vegas Sun

California utility plows ahead with midsize solar

PG and E to install 500 megawatts of solar that doesn’t require transmission lines-

Finally, doing solar electricity the right way. It’s called “distributed power generation” as opposed to centralized generation. The solar cells will go on the vast rooftops of malls, and office complexes (or adjacent to them) in California.

After spending over 20 days exploring the California and Nevada deserts I am more opposed than ever to the use of lands that are remote from the load for solar electricity.

California utility plows ahead with midsize solar. By Martin LaMonica. Green Tech in CNet News.

Sierra Nevada from across lower Owens Valley. In my opinion not the place for a vast solar farm. Photo taken April 2010 by copyright Ralph Maughan

Environmentalists make plea for desert preservation

A group of environmentalists says renewable energy goal shouldn’t come with destruction of native plant, animal life

Sunset © Ken Cole

The Ivanpah Solar site lies on public lands in the center of very important desert tortoise habitat so the company proposes to move those tortoise to a new area before construction begins. This is a strategy that has been tried in the past that resulted in utter failure. Even the environmental impact statement acknowledges that one in six will die after being moved.

Renewable energy is important, but where it is placed matters. Is it right to be placing these giant wind and solar power projects and the additional power lines on vast swaths of public lands that are important habitat areas for many imperiled species or would it be better to place the power generation where it will be used? Rooftop solar is a viable alternative with the prices of solar panels dropping. Simply using the heat of the sun to heat homes and water results in significant energy savings. Do we need more power? Do we need to destroy our public lands when a more distributed model of energy production is possible?

Environmentalists make plea for desert preservation
Las Vegas Sun

Putting wind and solar on formerly contaminated sites

Could the use of  “brownfields” reduce the conflicts over the placement of these land-expansive uses?

Contamination transformation. Contaminated sites being used to house wind farms, solar arrays and geothermal power plants. Mother Nature Network. By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It appears there is a lot of land in this category and many are near existing transmission lines.