Solar Power and our National Landscape


http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/story/681373.html
I have posted the comment section as well, since it is rather enlightening about public opinion.

Bob Cuddy: Solar has got to go in someone’s backyard
Bob Cuddy – bcuddy@thetribunenews.com
Comments (30) | Recommend (5)

“Hey, we don’t like it, either. You think we want to louse up the view out there? You think we spend every waking hour figuring ways to make life difficult for the blunt-nosed leopard lizard?

“Here’s the bottom line: This stuff has to go someplace. And Carrizo Plain beats the alternatives, in terms of disrupting lives, human or otherwise. We’ll try to do as little damage as possible, and we’ll stay away from the national monument, but you have to make way for solar plants.”

I find myself wondering — again — just how badly the solar power people, who want to move forward, feel like saying “put a sock in it” to the yapping of those who want to halt forward progress.

I’m rolling one sentence in particular around on my tongue: “This stuff has to go someplace.”

That’s a reality that the people who oppose everything everywhere simply refuse to accept.

Opponents are saying the proposed solar plants will “destroy” the area. But that’s what every resident of anyplace says when they don’t want something built.

This county in particular has a cabinet full of “don’t destroy” files. The most recent, but by no means the first, is the now-faltering effort to extract oil from the Huasna Valley in South County.

Residents there went so far as to chew through decades of the personal history of the project’s proponents, like worms noshing on a tasty cadaver.

In general, I salute the civic-mindedness of folks like this. They are vigilant stewards of their backyards (as in “Not In My”).

But solar power is different, as are wind turbines. We are talking about the future of the country and, if you want to get melodramatic, the planet.

How long have we known about global warming? It seems like forever. We all know in our heart of hearts that we have to get away from fossil fuels.

Dinosaur remains as an energy source are eventually going to go the way of, well, dinosaurs. It will be a slow death, because the people who take gazillions of dollars from oil production are not going to give that up without a ferocious fight.

But they’re going to lose. Just as an example, the Obama administration has blocked the Bush administration’s 11th hour scheme to open up offshore oil drilling. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors this week is likely to formally oppose offshore drilling, as has the Board of Supervisors in the county just below ours.

The state is getting on board as well. California has rules that require 33 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. If the three proposed solar farms on Carrizo Plain are not built, that goal will remain unmet.

If they are built, it could help. What is being proposed on the plain could generate enough energy to power 800,000 homes.

Taking the long view, these individual political and environmental struggles are skirmishes in a long war. When the battle is done a few decades from now, we will be receiving our energy from the sun and the wind and the sea.

But first, we must build structures to make that happen. Sorry to repeat myself, but they have to go someplace.

It’s time to accept the downside to that and let these solar plants move forward.
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Comments: 30 Showing:

* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
ABC123 wrote on 04/13/2009 10:04:36 AM:

Concerning Large Scale Solar vs. Roof Top installations:

Ya, you pick up some efficiencies in the installation of LSS, but that is offset (or perhaps more than offset) by the cost to improve your grid to move that power where you need it. The grid upgrade cost is avoided with rooftop solar.

Even if other conditions are less than optimal (less sunlight, higher land costs), a LSS closer to your load center (S.F., L.A. etc) can make sense due to the reduction in grid upgrade costs.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
pveesart wrote on 04/13/2009 10:01:12 AM:

First, stop using so much electricity. We (both home and industrial users) waste too much power on non-essentials. Unplug your dryer and string up a clothesline. Second, site new solar facilities over parking lots or on rooftops – not in critical habitat. They belong in Bob Cuddy’s backyard, not on the Carrizo. When we have dramatically reduced our energy demand and all the Wal-mart parking lots and freeways are covered with solar panels, then we’ll talk.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
kenfield wrote on 04/12/2009 10:28:15 PM:

Whew — Fox News has trained SLORider to say “far left liberals” in every sentence. That subliminal overscan subcarrier works a little too well on folks who sit that close to the tube. One can only wonder what else Roger Ailes may have programmed him to do, ala “The Manchurian Candidate.”
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
kenfield wrote on 04/12/2009 10:15:39 PM:

California’s peak load is about 50,000MW in the summer. The three proposed solar plants total 977MW while covering 8740 acres. Can solar plants like this be scaled up to a significant portion of peak load? (I don’t know – I’m asking.) Germany puts solar panels along highways, etc. — even if home rooftops aren’t always practical, there are plenty of other in-town sites for solar arrays.

When they figure out how to convert dark energy into an unlimited source of power using a collector that fits inside an iPhone, is the Tribune going to admit it was a good thing we didn’t cover the countryside with so many solar panels that it looks like the freakin’ Death Star? Unlikely. At least this newspaper is saving the extra juice it would require to write a nuanced analysis of this issue — probably enough to chill Cuddy’s sixpack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and power his daily viewing of “Wheel of Fortune” (on an 11″ B&W with rabbit ears and a government-issue digital converter box).
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
SLORider wrote on 04/12/2009 10:13:42 PM:

Well said, stuck_in_the_mud. When are the far left liberals going to act responsibly? The far left liberals have MANDATED renewable energy and this is the result of their incompetence. To say that distributed solar is cheaper is laughable! Anyone knows that a large-scale factory is cheaper and more efficient than thousands of small installations. Rooftop solar is by no means a poor idea, but you cannot just install it without regard. Weight and wind load calculations must be done, possible structural upgrades, aesthetics, electrical, and not to mention that San Luis Obispo does not get the same solar profile that Carrizo does. The far left extremists are not arguing fact. They are arguing one-sided views.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
Terri wrote on 04/12/2009 09:18:11 PM:

Bob I see you had all the coments taken off!!!! Afraid of the truth!
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
jdchem wrote on 04/12/2009 09:09:44 PM:

We should get Jerry Springer to mediate this discussion.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
LPaso wrote on 04/12/2009 08:31:10 PM:

There is no doubt that these projects will have impacts and clearly the proponents of the projects get that and are trying to reduce impacts. However, opponents to the projects, as NIMBYs usually do, exagerate the impacts, twist the facts and end up proposing solutions in someone else’s backyard. In my opinion, the impacts of not doing these projects is greater than doing them. How long can we go go war to preserve our energy supplies? If you think that these projects will “destroy” the plains, you have never been to a strip coal mine in Virginia or Tennessee. Bob makes some good points.
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
CarrisaBelle wrote on 04/12/2009 07:37:11 PM:

Smaller print is right…we need an energy plan for THIS county. The projects on the plains have nothing to do with creating a sustainable energy supply for our county. All that power heads to the valley. These plants are being promoted on feel good PR, something like .. let these go in (just forget about how environmentally sensitive the plains are) and then we can all feel good about how green SLO County is…. but the truth is all we’re doing is nothing, passing the buck and we are no greener for it. What a horrible example we’re setting. We’re spending our natural resources with nothing to show for it. So instead of those folks over in the valley thinking about how to create there own supply of sustainable energy…or the dreaded concept of Conserving Energy…they get a free pass cause we donated our critical kit fox habitat so they don’t have to give it a second thought. Let’s be a better example, preserve our natural resources and set an example by creating our own susta
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* [@Nyx.AdditionalAuthorInfo@]
CalPolyCity wrote on 04/12/2009 06:51:31 PM:

Hello Dennis,
Is the government going to go ahead with plans which allow new nuclear power sites?
I wonder how many are in a planning stage now? Anyone know the position of the Obama administration on the issue of reprocessing spent fuel rods?

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  1. […] Solar Power and our National Landscape « The Carrizo Plain and … […]

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