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  • Solar Shutdown: Feinstein to Block Energy Projects

    We need to transform to a new, clean energy economy but we can’t build solar panels in the Mojave Desert if California Senator Diane Feinstein has anything to say about it:

    Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region.

    But before the bill to create two new Mojave national monuments has even had its first hearing, the California Democrat has largely achieved her aim. Regardless of the legislation’s fate, her opposition means that few if any power plants are likely to be built in the monument area, a complication in California’s effort to achieve its aggressive goals for renewable energy.

    Developers of the projects have already postponed several proposals or abandoned them entirely. The California agency charged with planning a renewable energy transmission grid has rerouted proposed power lines to avoid the monument.”

    Years of subsidies and tax credits haven’t helped wind and solar projects compete with more reliable sources of energy. Solar power supplies less than one percent of the country’s electricity demand; wind does slightly better. That’s not necessarily a red flag to stop building more, but it is indicative of how far we have to go and how costly it would be “transform to a clean energy economy” as President Obama said in his remarks to the delegation at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen.

    If the private businesses deem it in their interest to pursue renewable energy projects (without federal help), they should be able to do so. But where these projects may be the most economically viable, such as the Mojave Desert, the government is shutting them down.

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environmentalist and a partner with a venture capital firm invested in solar, told the New York Times, “This is arguably the best solar land in the world, and Senator Feinstein shouldn’t be allowed to take this land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review.”

    This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, the renewable projects have either been thwarted or put on hold because of self-interested in politicians. Cape Wind spent millions in litigation costs, delays and regulatory hurdles in attempting to build a 130-turbine offshore project in the Nantucket Sound that Senator Ted Kennedy long opposed despite the turbines being barely visible from the horizon.

    The Mojave Desert situation is slightly different because Sen. Feinstein says, “the lands were purchased with nearly $45 million in private funds and $18 million in federal funds and donated to the federal government for the purpose of conservation, and that commitment must be upheld. Period.” But if an environmental group wants to preserve these lands, they shouldn’t rely on the taxpayer to fund the purchase nor fund the conservation of the land. In fact, many environmental groups do just that. Private property rights make it possible for the Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited to protect habitat by purchasing land and establishing wildlife preserves.’

    Nantucket and the Mojave Desert aren’t unique. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Project No Project shows that the “Not in My Back Yard” crowd is everywhere. It’s not just anti-oil and anti-coal, it’s anti-energy and anti-development.

    Even with subsidies, tax breaks and mandates, shifting our energy away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy will be a prohibitively costly and difficult task. Senator Feinstein is about to make it that much more difficult.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    34 Responses to Solar Shutdown: Feinstein to Block Energy Projects

    1. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Once again, we are just stupid and cannot think for ourselves, right?

      This is clearly a "not in my backyard" ploy to appease the home of the far left-wing environmentalists in the Sunny and in some places, the waterless state.

      Moreover, when you read the quip about "honoring committments" you have to keep from choking.

      Honoring committments? Is that the same thing we are seeing in the health care reform bills?

      Hypocrites – all of them.

    2. Chadwell says:

      Sure is quite entertaining to watch the no-growth Marxist wing of the enviro movement clash with the crony capitalist lets-get-rich-on-renewable-energy-investments wing….

    3. Stirling, Huntingdon says:

      Gotta love the enviromental crowd, why don't we just give them a large plot of land (somewhere in make believe land) and let them do what they will with only their land. Meanwhile the rest of the this country can get on with fixing the real problems in the real world.

    4. Casey Verdant says:

      Sen. Feinstein’s bill to create Mojave Desert monuments ruins the prospect of subtle, non-invasive solar projects on federal lands. Solar farms could easily and inoffensively be placed on these lands without affecting native species.

      If you’re interested in solar energy or any other alternative energies, check out http://www.greencollareconomy.com. It has hundreds of case studies on emerging green technology and solar power. It's also the largest b2b green directory on the web.

    5. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Practically proves that "climate" is neither side's principal concern!

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    7. YuckYuck says:

      She probably just wants millions or billions of dollars in porkbarrel spending for California in exchange for her concession. As we can see from the healthcare debate, that's the way politics works in the Senate.

    8. Bob, Portland, OR says:

      Well so did Oregon and you know why?

      It is too expensive to run these green things for what you get.

      Good planning there government.

      I am almost convinced you all should take over our health care.


      I hope Diane likes the street because that's where she is going to end up after her next election.

    9. Drew Page, IL says:

      Finestein's objections to solar and wind powered alternative energy are a red herring. She's as liberal as they come and I haven't come across a single liberal who is against alternative sources of energy. No, Ms. Finestein wants something and she is positioning herself to trade off this phony opposition for what she really wants.

      We will eventually find out what that is.

    10. Tom51, Cape Cod says:

      In his useful book "Gusher of Lies," Robert Bryce notes that "in July 2006, wind turbines in California produced power at only about 10% of their capacity; in Texas, one of the most promising states for wind energy, the windmills produced electricity at about 17% of their rated capacity."

      Wind power suffers from the problem of intermittency, which means that it has to be backed up by conventional sources in order to avoid disruptions. This is especially true of hot summers when the wind doesn't blow.

      On an annual basis, the whole fleet of Windfans in CA (~20,000) delivers only a net Megawatt hours of real energy roughly equal to only one half the output of a dependable (greater than 95% uptime)average Nuke (1,050 MW capacity).

      Furthermore, the fan blades must be periodically washed – wasting precious water in the desert.

    11. John, NYC says:

      If you cant put a wind farm in a desert, where exactly will they go that will be less intrusive???

    12. Bob , California says:

      It should not be a surprise that Diane is acting as she does. Somehow I remember that her husband has considerable interest in the real estate down in that part of Calif.

    13. Tim Az says:

      There's a clown in Tucson that is trying to install solar and wind farms here in the White Mountains near Holbrook. I don't really care about the windmills so much. But this fool claims to be doing this to save the planet. While insisting on using solar systems that require the use of more water then a traditional coal fired power plant. The aquifer we depend on here has already dropped seventeen feet in the last few years in the town of Show Low. It's about the right people making a profit and not about saving anything. That said I am not the least bit green by Father Gore's standards. I think the water is more important than producing electric for California or Colorado. If he would use only photo voltaic cells I would be less apposed. But the country side would still look like a junk yard one day. could someone enlighten me as to why these clowns only want to use systems that require mass amounts of water? The gains in energy production is not enough to justify emptying our only water source here.

    14. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Before all the biologists and animal planet diversity experts jump on me, if you can't put it in a ___Desert than what are we even talking about?

      Maybe we should sprinkle these things all around San Francisco, LA, and San Diego.

      Maybe we should reopen Alcatraz and ship the GITMO detainees THERE, eh?

      What an honorable profession these politicians have practiced.

    15. Jim Payne--Texas says:

      Can't wait to vote this bunch of thieves and idiots out of our government.

    16. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      Typical democrat move. Will the people wake up and learn that these democrats are ideologial nut jobs that don't even recognize it when they destroy their own country.

    17. Bobbie Jay says:

      good luck voting these derelicts out, if there will be an election, they've already rigged it!



    18. Walnut Creek, CA says:

      BrightSource's proposed 440-megawatt, 4,000-acre Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert is meeting with resistance other than Diane. The system is among 130 renewable-energy applications to build wind and solar projects on more than a million acres of public land under review by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and California Energy Commission. The solar and wind projects require lots of land!

    19. Bill R. Florida says:

      John from NYC has it totally correct. The problem is they can't put the panels in, let alone run transmission lines, as there will be a tortoise, kangaroo rat, Robert Kennedy, Jr., Sierra Club, Arnold S. or some other damn fool in the way. God save us all.

    20. James West Virginia says:

      NIMBY wins again.

      P.S. The Mojave Dessert? Is that like creme brulee? Sounds delicious (if perhaps a bit dry).

    21. KDK says:

      Yeah, she is up to something. Perhaps her investments are raking in the bucks. Wind would be far better than solar due to the fact that solar has a limited life. However, one should use the reflectors that create steam and not the solar that creates a current. I'd think it would last longer. Furthermore, if the gov wants to invest in these things, the public should be made aware of any/all investments in these companies from pols and ex-pols. We want to see where the money is going.

      There are plenty of alt energy projects that have been shelved by oil. I am no fan of oil or banking or the gov since they all play a role. New NUKE reactors can be made. What about fision/fusion?

    22. Linda says:

      I'am with Feinstein on this. Why ruin the desert with a bunch of solar plants. I love it, let them fight this one out.

      Let's drill oil, and quit depending on foreign oil. When is Congress going to start working for us, instead of their own agenda?

    23. Ron de Haan says:

      Wind and solar is crappy technology anyhow.

      The entire Global Warming hype is bad science.

      CO2 is not a climate driver.

      Yesterday Nasa came up with a "great Interstellar discovery" made by the Voyager satellite http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/23dec_voy
      However, this so called "Great Interstellar Discovery was already made in 1978: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1978ApJ…223..589V

      Do you feel conned again?

      Solar scientists Svensmark (Denmark) and Nir Shaviv (Israel) have published extensively about these clouds.

      In fact with this publication NASA confirms the basic theories from Svensmark and Shaviv:

      Nir Shaviv writes:

      “Cosmic Rays, at least at energies lower than 1015eV, are accelerated by supernova remnants. In our galaxy, most supernovae are the result of the death of massive stars. In spiral galaxies like our own, most of the star formation takes place in the spiral arms. These are waves which revolve around the galaxy at a speed different than the stars. Each time the wave passes (or is passed through), interstellar gas is shocked and forms new stars. Massive stars that end their lives with a supernova explosion, live a relatively short life of at most 30 million years, thus, they die not far form the spiral arms where they were born. As a consequence, most cosmic rays are accelerated in the vicinity of spiral arms. The solar system, however, has a much longer life span such that it periodically crosses the spiral arms of the Milky Way. Each time it does so, it should witness an elevated level of cosmic rays. In fact, the cosmic ray flux variations arising from our galactic journey are ten times larger than the cosmic ray flux variations due to solar activity modulations, at the energies responsible for the tropospheric ionization (of order 10 GeV). If the latter is responsible for a 1°K effect, spiral arm passages should be responsible for a 10°K effect—more than enough to change the state of earth from a hothouse, with temperate climates extending to the polar regions, to an icehouse, with ice-caps on its poles, as Earth is today. In fact, it is expected to be the most dominant climate driver on the 108 to 109 yr time scale.

      So here you have it.

      Our sun and our position in the interstellar space determines our climate, together with our sun, oceans and volcano's.

      We must forget all about AGW as quickly as possible.

      This is the real stuff.

    24. John says:


      Do you really think the Greens care about anyone but themselves? As far as the water goes it is much more efficent to use a boiling water plant than photoelectrics and as such it makes them more money? How many Greens are willing to make a cut in THEIR standard of living? Look at Al Gore, he has a huge mansion, uses mostly private jets and has a fleet of large cars and says everyone else needs to cut their energy use. Robert Kennedy is another one. He wants windmills everywhere except where he can see them from his big yacht.

    25. Ron Miller, Murfrees says:

      I really agree with Linda.All the pols in Washington are following there interests and to h— with the American people.We have just seen how the pols sell there votes openly for the first time. This is just what they do under the table with the lobbiests all the time. When the Admin. challenges other Countries to clean up there corruption I just cringe. I feel we have a corrupt goverment as bad as most. The politions in Washington are really our number one enemy and the Muslems come in second. I hope we remember all these underhand tricks and vote out every dem. as they come up for reelection.

    26. Indy, San Diego says:

      This was predictable as the sun coming up in the morning. Here is a perfect example why Green technology is a joke, especially in California. There are to many invirowhacko groups to count in this state, one just as crazy as the other. That's why there has been almost no improvements to the infrastructure in over three decades. There are billions of cubic acres of gas reserves, and some of the most fertile oil reserves in the country.There is so much oil off the coast of Santa Barbara it's seeping up on to the beaches.This state could have been solvent for decades from oil sales alone. Instead they spent a dollar fifty for every dollar of revenue, until we were broke. Finstein, Boxer, Pelosi, Waxman, all in the pockets of the invirowhackos.If they get their way,the only transportation in the state that's afforable will be by bus or rail. Unless of course you are a liberal eletists with plenty of carbon credits to jutify your lifestyle.

    27. Pingback: Dems: We Need Clean, Renewable Energy, But Don’t Try And Implement It : Stop The ACLU

    28. Jason PA says:

      My gosh, can you do ANYTHING in CA? Can't water the crops because of the delta smelt. Can't build any nuclear powerplants. Can't drill for oil. Can't build solar plants in the middle of freakin' nowhere. Can't can't can't.

      Liberalism is a disease of the mind. Just look at what they've done to CA!

    29. Pingback: Globull Whining – on its last gasp! « TWAWKI

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    31. Stas Peterson says:

      Mrs. Feinstein may be a typical Democrat boodler and legal thief, providing lots of government set-asides to her husband's business interests, but she at least has the ability to think, after a fashion. Spending lots of more money on subsidy ridden uneconomical 'energy projects' that produce little net energy but drive up energy prices, is not stupid.

      California is close to an energy disaster brought to fruition by the revolutionary Marxists masquerading as members of the Democrat elected elite, and now governing the State.

      Typically, these NIMBY panderers can find reasons NOT to implement or erect the basic infrastructure of a developed society. With increasing speed California is de-industrializing, industry is fleeing or bankrupting, and finding it impossible to find productive employment for its population. With all the unemployed, it can no longer raise taxes to feed the growing morass of government demand for increasing amounts of money, while providing fewer and fewer services that taxpayers really want.

      The day of reckoning is drawing closer as the referenced article will reveal.

    32. allen simmons says:

      It took a century to build our electricity delivery systen and a half century for our interstate highways. These accomplishments were

      successful because our country was united. The USA, now, seems to be on a bizarre hate binge. I suggest our citizens pity their heirs, pray for a miracle, and learn to cook Chinese cuisine.

    33. Steve Real, Columbia says:

      Extent of Mojave Desert a survey made by the USGS which covers 25,000 square miles

      Deputy environment minister Astrid Klug said there were now 250,000 jobs in Germany's renewable energies sector and an overall total of 1.8 million in environmental protection. The number of jobs in renewables will triple by 2020 and hit 900,000 by 2030.

      Enron CEO Ken Lay mocked the efforts by the California State government to thwart the practices of the energy wholesalers, saying, "In the final analysis, it doesn't matter what you crazy people in California do, because I got smart guys who can always figure out how to make money." according to the statements made by Freeman to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs

      Going green in the Mojave desert is a no brainer and it makes sense economically and environmentally.

    34. ngw oklahoma says:

      Americans need to come together to have all the products to be used if they are going to work, be able to fix. We need to drill now and here, It works. It sound like the extreme enviromentalist dont believe in working, that means having a socialist goverment. We kicked out a lot of illegals after world war 2, so americans had jobs. We count first.

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