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David McIntyre's picture
Principal McIntyre Environmental LLC

David McIntyre is a former U.S. Marine Corps officer who started his environmental consulting career in 1999 at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground. For the past 17 years, David’s work preparing...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Mar 4, 2019
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I saw this yesterday in the LA Times. That's a pretty strong statement from a part of Southern California that has seen significant solar and wind energy development in the last 10 to 15 years. Obviously BLM land and other private lands will remain open to solar and wind development so it will be interesting to see the affect of this on renewables in San Bernardino County. Also be interesting to see if other surrounding counties take a similar stance. If we assist you with any aspect of permitting or constructing your project please visit our website at www.mcintyre-environmental.com 

 

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 4, 2019

They came from high desert communities such as Daggett, Joshua Tree and Lucerne Valley, where existing solar projects are seen by many as eyesores that destroy desert ecosystems and fuel larger dust storms

This is interesting to read as pushback. There's not much to be done if people do find them to be an eyesore, but I wonder if you're aware of any developments or efforts by solar producers/installers to address the concerns about ecosystems and dust storms? Are there best practices that can be implemented to minimize these effects?

 

 

David McIntyre's picture
David McIntyre on Mar 4, 2019

Matt, all of these projects are required to implement best management practices or other measures to minimize adverse effects. This is documented in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process all of these projects go through. It's also part of the County's permitting process. Ultimately these projects go to the County Board of Supervisors for approval or denial. If the BOS didn't feel that a project had mitigated their effects adequately they could deny it. Clearly there are community members who have felt that these projects have not had their effects adequately mitigated. Instead of dealing with each project individually and judging it on it's on merits the BOS chosen to enact more sweeping legislation against the industry as a whole. They are the BOS and that is their perogative. If the voters agree or disagree we'll see that in the next election cycle.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 4, 2019

Gotcha. Great insights, thanks David!

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 4, 2019

 

"Obviously BLM land and other private lands will remain open to solar and wind development..."

Obviously? David, BLM is a federal agency which doesn't take orders from California government, its gas and renewables developers, or anyone but the Secretary of the Interior. Despite the commercial bent of the Trump administration, DOI / BLM have shown remarkable restraint in approving craven exploitation of land under their stewardship, particularly with regard to the impact of off-road vehicles.

BLM's mission is to "manage public lands to maximize opportunities for commercial, recreational, and conservation activities," i.e., strike a balance. Solar and wind developers who believe they can paper any public vista with industrial junk might want to take note: as pro-nuclear activists have been pointing out for decades, the land use impact of renewables is huge - hundreds of times larger than a nuclear plant - and technology won't make it any smaller. It's the nature of the beast.

It's a shame it had to come to this point. But like the uselessness of solar panels and wind turbines for powering a 21st-century economy, it was 100% predictable.

David McIntyre's picture
David McIntyre on Mar 4, 2019

Bob, yes, unless explicitly stated in a BLM resource management plan BLM lands are open to renewable energy development, although the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan has tried to encourage development in specific areas. Yes, the land use of renewables is much larger than nuclear, although wind turbines and solar panels get more efficient yearly. We've yet to fully solve the issue of what to do with nuclear waste which will have an impact that will last far beyond our lifetimes. Since you think solar and wind are useless for powering a 21st century economy what are you proposing, more nuclear, more fossil fuels? Just curious.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 4, 2019

David, leading climatologists propose building more nuclear, as fast as possible. By mounting a France- or Sweden-scale buildout, U.S. electricity could be 100% carbon-free by 2050. History has shown it's possible. In contrast - despite progress with its Energiewende the recent rise in German carbon emissions only serves to confirm meeting that goal with renewables is a fantasy.

Efficiency with wind and solar really isn't an issue, it's energy density. Even if solar panels and wind turbines were 100% efficient, there's no evidence they offer a practical roadmap to decarbonization. And contrary to contemporary mythology, there is no issue of what to do with spent nuclear fuel. It's being stored safely now without impact on humans, plants, or animals (coal plants release more radiation into the environment by several orders of magnitude, due to the presence of radioactive uranium and strontium in fly ash). With 95% of fissile uranium still remaining in spent fuel, more than likely it will be recycled as fuel for advanced reactors. It's too valuable to waste.

In 2015 climatologists James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira, and Tom Wigley wrote a joint letter to COP21 participants. In it, they state unequivocally: "Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change." At a briefing for U.S. senators last month Emanuel reiterated the point, saying "If we want to decarbonize fast we have to keep nuclear on the table" (video includes a brief history of climate science - highly recommended).

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BqbFnLKJae8

David McIntyre's picture
David McIntyre on Mar 4, 2019

Thanks Bob, you have an interesting point of view. 

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