Skip to comments.National Parks Advocacy Group Claims Location Of Ivanpah Solar Power Project Comes At Nature’s Expen
Posted on 07/02/2013 1:08:37 PM PDT by BenLurkin
MOJAVE DESERT (CBSLA.com) A national parks advocacy group claims that a massive solar power plant being constructed in the Mojave Desert, southwest of Las Vegas, is generating clean renewable energy at the expense of nature.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which will cost $2.2 billion and has taken three years to build, was developed by Oakland-based BrightSource Energy. Its largest investor is New Jersey-based NRG Energy.
Randall Hickok, the senior vice president of NRG Solara subsidiary of NRG Energysaid the facility contains three 450-foot towers surrounded by 170,000 heliostat mirrors.
You are using the suns heat, reflected by mirrors, to shine on that boiler, and generate steam. From there on out, its just like a regular power plant. Steam turns turbine, turbine turns the generator, youve got electricity, he said.
Hickok said the solar project was constructed in the desert because the area was deemed to be degraded environmentally.
Environmentally, it is less prone to have wildlife than other locations. Its located near some high voltage transmission lines. And its reasonably close to the freeway, so getting equipment in and out was easier, he said.
When Ivanpah is fully online by the end of 2013, the plant will be able to generate power for 140,000 households servicing Los Angeles, Las Vegas and, in some cases, Northern California.
The energy is so clean, its the equivalent of taking 70,000 cars off the road.
There are no discharges to the lands. Its sunshine making steam, and the plant is water-cooled, but its a closed system. Its like a giant radiator in your car, said Hickok.
While Hickok touts Ivanpah as environmentally friendly, construction on the project was halted in 2011 because 127 desert tortoises needed to be relocated.
We are supportive, in concept, of the Ivanpah project. We were not supportive of the location. Primarily because of the impacts on national parks, the Mojave National Preserve, which surrounds us right now. And also because of the impacts to the federally-threatened desert tortoise, said David Lamfrom of the National Parks Conservation Association.
Hickok, however, said they had up to 85 biologists working full-time during the construction period to find the tortoises and get them out of harms way.
Lamfrom said there are better places to build a solar plant.
There are literally millions of acres of disturbed land. There are brownfields, there are mine sites, there are profound opportunities, he said.
It takes the desert a tremendously long time to heal. That is one of the reasons we have to make really careful decisions about where we put these projects. Because if you develop a piece of land in the desert, it may not revegetate properly it may not return to full health for hundreds of years or longer, added Lamfrom.
To date, 25 solar power projects have been approved by the Obama administration nationwide.
As for the Ivanpah Valley, three other plants are planned. One has gotten approval; two others are waiting for confirmation.
Diane Fineswine, D-CA, approves of this project! She killed a project off of I-40 near Ludlow, CA because you may have been able to see it from the Mojave National Preserve. This project is located off of I-15 on the CA-NV border.
Think big $$$$$$’s for her passive approval.
This set of solar collectors is not only an eye sore but it also is heating up and already arid region in a manner that has unknown consequences. It is rather like all the wind mill advocates who are now shocked to see that putting wind mills in the path of migratory birds tends to kill the birds.
I wish the legislative do gooders would just stop and go away
“I wish the legislative do gooders would just stop and go away”
They won’t because they make money for their campaigns and gain power by spending taxpayer money.
Sorry, dude. No way.
There is no change in the total sunshine/heat gain to the area.
You have not seen the place or read any of the scientific data. Localized temps are being driven upward and the local habitat is being destroyed by a bunch of green fascists.
If you want to provide links, I’ll be glad to look at them.
But I can guarantee you the total solar heat gain for the square mile around this plant has not increased. You get X amount of energy per square meter and that’s it. The plant focuses some of this energy more tightly, but it doesn’t increase it.
Now burning fossil fuels (or any fuel) or running a nuclear plant will increase the total amount of energy in the area. Not a solar plant. That’s the big problem with solar, it’s dispersed, and to do much of anything useful you need concentrated energy.
Good old Ludlow...spent most of a summer south of the “town” on a gold exploration project.
Stayed in Barstool and drove to Pudlow every day. I actually enjoyed the place...neat desert...lots of cool critters.
the analogy to think of is what happens when you use a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s energy to a point?
You get increased heat at the focal point and decreased heat elsewhere. Net change = zero.
Thanks for the link.
Article says nothing about the plant increasing the heat of the area, only that it will affect certain species badly and is going to be ugly to look at. The standard greenie objections.
I really wonder if there is anywhere at all you could propose a plant that some environmentalists wouldn’t proclaim to be uniquely sensitive and worthy of protection.
and that was never my point.....At the focal point you get destruction due to over heating....
I’m sorry, I don’t seem to be getting your point.
“At the focal point you get destruction.” Destruction of what? The plant’s boilers are at the focal point, and I assume they are carefully designed to withstand the energy input.
It is not an increase of ‘total heat’ in the area....it is a localized increase in intensities, a loss of habitat....
it is exactly the lack of foresight that the wind mill advocates had when insisting on wind mills....Look through out the bay area....they do not generate as much as originally predicted and they kill migrating raptors....a net lose lose
apparently you are incapable of analogy....I’m done....keep dreaming that these POS will do anything other than blow through larhe amounts of your tax payers money