Free Markets, Free People

If The Alternative Energy Types Think It Will Be Easy …

It won’t be. There’s nothing “sacred” about wind and solar, certainly nothing which is going to see environmentalists back off of their opposition to anything with despoils the vision they hold of how mother earth should be:

As David Myers scans the rocky slopes of this desert canyon, looking vainly past clumps of brittlebush for bighorn sheep, he imagines an enemy advancing across the crags.

That specter is of an army of mirrors, generators and transmission towers transforming Mojave Desert vistas like this one. While Whitewater Canyon is privately owned and protected, others that Mr. Myers, as head of the Wildlands Conservancy, has fought to preserve are not.

To his chagrin, some of Mr. Myers’s fellow environmentalists are helping power companies pinpoint the best sites for solar-power technology. The goal of his former allies is to combat climate change by harnessing the desert’s solar-rich terrain, reducing the region’s reliance on carbon-emitting fuels.

Mr. Myers is indignant. “How can you say you’re going to blade off hundreds of thousands of acres of earth to preserve the Earth?” he said.

As I’ve said before, if you think that these groups are going to let anyone carpet the Mojave Desert with solar panels and endanger its eco system, you haven’t been paying attention to what has been going on here for the last 50 years.

Terry Frewin, a local Sierra Club representative, said he had tough questions for state regulators. “Deserts don’t need to be sacrificed so that people in L.A. can keep heating their swimming pools,” Mr. Frewin said.

But that’s precisely what it will take for solar to make any appreciable difference, given the technology available today. The ironic thing is the movement to plus up solar is being driven by a Democratic administration and putting it into direct conflict with one of its more loyal constituencies.

It is also causing dissent within environmental organizations as well:

“It’s not enough to say no to things anymore,” said Carl Zichella, a Sierra Club expert on renewable power. “We have to say yes to the right thing.”

We’ll see who wins in the end and what the eventual political cost will be – but you can rest assured, there’ll be nothing easy about implementing solar and wind if environmentalists have any say.


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15 Responses to If The Alternative Energy Types Think It Will Be Easy …

  • I doubt those environmental groups will have the political clout to prevent change.  There may have to be compromises, but if we want to maintain relatively cheap energy, we’ll have to make some sacrifices.  Ultimately, while nice views are grand, peoples economic well being comes first.

    • Sure. 

      Now do a study on how long it took the Seabrook Nuclear power plant to come on line and the cost involved.

      Fighting succdessful rear guard actions for 25 years is almost as good as a victory,  slowing these power sources down is almost as good to  enviros as stopping them totally.  The longer they can delay them the better because it ties up money and resources, and given enough time and delay, the public may come round to their way of thinking.    And hey!  if things go well, maybe some plague will wipe most of the country out so the birds, fish and furry animals can have their land back!

    • You may need political clout to prevent change but it doesn’t take much clout at all to delay change.  Take a close look at the time it has taken for some Project’s Environmental Impact Statement to get to just the Record of Decision, not counting getting past the lawsuits which followed.  An excellent example is the New Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River just outside DC – 4 years just for the first EIS.  A two year injunction to allow the court to rule on the resultant lawsuit and then another two years for the the court mandated 2nd EIS.  Eight years to do what everybody and his dog knew needed to get done in the DC area and for the betterment of the DC area.  All held up essentially by the residents of a single high-rise development. 

      There was a concerted attempt to prevent change with the Wilson Bridge lawsuit but the result of the delay meant the cost of the bridge also was affected – to the tune of over double the price tag.  All in all it took over 12 years to bring the new Wilson bridge on line.  And that was for a project where the engineering and mechanics were known up front.  What is going to happen with all of the “developmental” technologies and the resultant delays just to allow for the environmental process.

      And I am not going to do much more than mention the unmentionable Kennedys and their hold up of the EIS for the Windmill station off the coast of Cape Cod because of its unsightlyness.  You want more examples, I got a few hundred I can share with you.

      And don’t think there will be some sort of waiver for the process.  To support the Stimulus Bill the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has already produced a memo for the public essentially stating that even though there is a strong intent to get shovels in the ground on all of these stimulus sponsored infrastructure projects, the environmental process is still in place.  The CEQ invites innovative methodologies in producing those documents but makes it very apparent  the letter and intent of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) must be followed.

      • I’ve always had a “only Nixon can go to China” view on how such things change.  A conservative Republican probably can’t speed things up because the left would gang up on him or her.   But perhaps an Obama will have the political clout to push through changes.  I know many of you are convinced that Obama will refuse to break with environmentalists on issues like this, but he might surprise you.

        •  Unless Obama can find a way to circumvent the law (NEPA) then he is bound by the same stipulations required for all – Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative.  When I mentioned the CEQ, do you understand that it is the President’s Council for Environmental Quality that I am referring to?  The CEQ works directly for Obama.  The CEQ put out the memo I referred to before.  Obama has made no move to shortcut the process and until he does so, my point stands.  Nobody needs to prevent anything, the required delays with the environmental process will do all the damage that needs to be done to his agenda.  And if it doesn’t, then you have to question the underlying requirement for the agenda.

          • NEPA has been deployed by environmentalists at every step in the process of trying to bring new energy producing entities on line – coal, nuclear, oil and gas, refineries, etc.

            To believe the same process won’t be used in the same way to stop any other entity which environmentalists view as threatening to the “ecosystem” of a particular ares seems, well, naive at best.

        • Additionally, it does not take a massive public outcry to bring a program to its knees.  One well written brief along with about a $45 filing fee in Federal Court and a judge sympathetic to environmental causes and you can shut down the greatest of projects.  Even small groups of environmental activists have acted in this manner for years – Successfully.  (Talk to Air Force people in Arizona regarding one indivdual shutting down Goldwater Gunnery Range for over a year and you will see what I mean.)  You are assuming environmentalists, generally from the left sphere of the political spectrum, will bow to the will of the Obamas of this world – regardless of their convictions.  You want to see some literature I have regarding some beach front property in Florida?

  • McQAs I’ve said before, if you think that these groups are going to let anyone carpet the Mojave Desert with solar panels and endanger its eco system, you haven’t been paying attention to what has been going on here for the last 50 years.

    Though I’m sure that the econuts would be shocked to hear this adjective applied to them, they are fundamentally SELFISH.  In their SELFISH quest to satisfy their own desires (a nice view, preservation of some species, etc), they run roughshod over the desires and even the needs of others.  What makes it worse is that they can cloak their selfishness in virtue: “We’re doing this for THE PLANET.” It’s part ‘n’ parcel to Teddy Kennedy opposing a windfarm on the coast of Taxachusetts because it would spoil the view while he’s enjoying his third fifth of the day.

    “Deserts don’t need to be sacrificed so that people in L.A. can keep heating their swimming pools,” Mr. Frewin said.

    Pay close attention, s***head: people NEED that electrical power for more than just heating their swimming pools.  They also use it for little things like heating and cooling their houses, keeping the lights on, cooking, running businesses, hospitals, telephones, etc.  The most extreme of the econuts seem to think that life as we know it can go on without cheap power, that (somehow) our society will function just fine without gasoline or coal or cheap electricity.  They don’t live in the real world.  I’m reminded of some nutjob college professor (IIRC in Oregon) who was soooo proud of herself for driving an electric truck.  Yessir, she wasn’t using a bit of gasoline.  Indeed, it didn’t cost her much of anything: she plugged in her truck WHEN SHE GOT TO WORK and that kept her batteries charged.  It never seems to have occured to her that the electricity was provided gratis by her boss, and that it wasn’t produced by magic: it came from either burning fossil fuels or damming a river somewhere.


    • Actually, running a car for free is pretty clever.    Everyone is selfish to some extent, but until now the existence of cheap energy in the form of oil meant that people wanting to stop alternate energy projects had little opposition.  In fact, they’d get support from people in big cities who fancy themselves environmentally friendly, there was no cost.   As oil prices climb again, the political winds will shift, and the battles won’t be so easy for environmental extremists to win.

      • So, “running a car for free is pretty clever”, eh?  So too, I suppose, are robbing a bank or embezzlement if one can figure out a way to get away with the crime?

        Allow me to introduce you to a handy acronym:

        TANSTAAFL – “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”.

        The professor in question did not power her truck “for free”; she merely didn’t pay for it herself.  This is the lie that underpins “free” national health care or any of a number of other liberal programs: the idea that, just because there is no immediate, direct cost to the consumer, it doesn’t cost anything for anybody, or at most it weill be funded by “the rich”.

        Please understand something: the woman in question was a THIEF.  Oh, I’m sure that she didn’t have mens rea; she’s a lib and therefore doubtless lacks the cognitive ability to understand that she was stealing from her employer, rather like a mentally handicapped person or a child who lacks the mental development to know that taking and eating a candy bar in a shop is wrong.  But the fact remains that she was taking something from her employer and patting herself on the back for being so environmentally friendly.  This is the other great trap of liberalism: as I wrote before, it allows the worst behavior to be cloaked with phony virtue.

  • We could have the views and nuclear power without upsetting Teddy Kennedy’s view. 

    If it were up to me, the Luddites would not be allowed energy.  Not a single kwh of electricity, nor a gallon of gas, nor a single dry cell, or even a wood fire.   The spectacle of Al Gore jetting around the world to deny me a lifestyle that is not one hundredth as wasteful as his is too ridiculous to contemplate.  

  • One teensy-weensy problem problem with putting solar cells in the desert.  They have to be cleaned periodically because dirt and dust reduce their output. So, where ya gonna get the water to clean them in the middle of the freaking desert?

    • waaa?  You can’t do that!  Spraying water all over will upset the delicate eco system that is the desert!   It will have to be trucked in, and ALL of it will have to be removed when done.  Only the natural moisture can be permitted and it’s a totally static environment.  It became totally static the day I first saw it, and it must remain exactly the way I first saw it on that day until the day I die. 

      Don’t you understand.  This requires an additional study!

    • There’s’ also a little matter of the annual Santa Anas…winds as high as 70-80 mph.  They’ve been known to sandblast a finish off a car caught in one.  Gonna do just great things to those collectors… to say nothing about the “wind sail” effect. 
      I’ve seen a galvanized metal shed roof (on legs, not a building) 12 ft x 48 ft picked up and thrown 25 feet by Santa Ana winds.  They don’t come that strong every year, but we get them in So.Cal every year in _some_ degree of strength, and you never know when the really powerful ones will show up.

  • “If it were up to me, the Luddites would not be allowed energy.  Not a single kwh of electricity, nor a gallon of gas, nor a single dry cell, or even a wood fire.   The spectacle of Al Gore jetting around the world to deny me a lifestyle that is not one hundredth as wasteful as his is too ridiculous to contemplate.  ”

    Fair enough.  However, I think you’re missing the point that many of those people (“hardcore” environmentalists as opposed to Al Gore) Have begun to adopt life styles designed to phase out all use of energy/technology they see as offensive.  That’s the real agenda.  Many of them would contend we don’t NEED fuel/gas/energy to live, and on a basic level they sort of have a point as humans as I species lived for thousands of years prior to the advent of these things. (Just not in a style I would want to live in…)