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Wednesday, February 8. 2012
Six square miles of this crap in the Mohave Desert, and not a sound from the Greenies. A landfill would be a more practical use, if you assume that desert is not a worthy ecosystem.
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Too bad I didn't get the money for that project.
I would have helped the USA far more by investing it in Exxon/Mobil stock.
I'm sorry but that QandO column is completely disingenuous. There was (and is) plenty of controversy about Brightstar (and other plans) coming from envirnomentalists
A simple Google search turns up that and plenty more.
"Environmentalists" are just leftist politicians with an angle.
No Conservationist would approve of any of this crap. What has less impact on nature than an one acre oil well, or a nuclear power plant?
Why, oh Why, hasn't anyone had the guts to just tell Las Vegas it would be nice if they would reduce some of their electrical usage.
For example: you can fill rooms in a hotel and make sure that all the vacant rooms are on one floor. That way you can cut the lights off of one floor. Currently Vegas leaves them all on.
They could also reduce some of the sign usage of electricity--it really isn't necessary to draw suckers in--they are gonna come anyway.
RE: Leaving the lights on in Las Vegas...
Why do you think they built Hoover Dam? Electricity for Las Vegas (and Los Angeles and parts of Arizona) This was back when even FDR was pushing abundant electrical energy as a means to create industrial production and jobs.
"Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The dam was controversially named in honor of President Herbert Hoover."
It was a jobs project and hydroelectric was considered low environmental impact.
So now we have a solar project in the back yard of the Leader of the Senate majority. All in the name of jobs and low environmental impact.
I believe Hoover Dam was started under Herbert Hoover (R) (1929-1933). Hoover was a professional mining engineer.
There is an interesting chronology at www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/History/articles/chrono.html
The first interest in controlling the Colorado River goes all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt in 1902. The Boulder Canyon Project Act that really got the ball rolling was signed by Calvin Coolidge in late 1928. It was truly a shovel ready project by 1931 when contractor bids were awarded. The first concrete was poured in 1933 under FDR.
Though not originally conceived as a jobs project, it took on that role along with the flurry of alphabet programs (CCC, WPA, TVA) that were part of the first and second New Deal programs.
It was part of the highly touted Keynesian economics idea of the era that publicly funded projects would "prime the pump" of the economy and lead to growth. There is wide disagreement about how effective the process was, and whether or not we should be attempting it now.
I used to work for Nevada Power. Las Vegas gets almost none of the power generated from the Hoover Dam. It all goes straight down to LA.
Las Vegas gets most of it's power from coal plants outside the city. We also ran "peaker" generators on gas or oil (whichever was cheaper).
Back in the 90's, a company was trying to build a solar plant on (free) government land. They still couldn't compete with the price of coal generated power.
A modern crap circle that can be seen from space. It will puzzle alien archeologists for years.
These things are showing up all over the West. Good news is that they collect the 93% of solar flux that's in the infrared, rather than pretending to be photovoltaic farms. They are sized to put out 300 - 400 Mw. I have not found reliable estimates of cost per kWhr yet to the consumer -
Me neither. I read some very promising numbers from Photonics Spectra, and dramatically higher numbers from AEI.
Everything indicates this is far more productive than PVs, which is what people think of when they hear "solar power." That should be a fact that the general populace is made aware of.
They have some of these plants in Spain. They work but are a maintenance nightmare. Huge amounts of water are needed to constantly wash the mirrors else they degrade too much from dust build up (among other things, birds are another problem).
Of course, this being in desert areas, water is at a premium so most of it has to be trucked in...
Ah! Solar power in Spain. Where the government finally released a report admitting that for each "green" job they lost 3-4 other jobs.
Then there was the solar plant that generated power after midnight.
"Crap Circle"!!!! Perfect!
I love the desert. I have spent many days and hours there (all over it, not just where the picture is taken) looking at the wild flowers, and the critters and the geology.
Where did they put the fossil fuel plant that provides electricity the other 60% of the time?
Of course, there is so little solar/wind power that these facilities can parasitize off the excess capacity the system already has. The real fun begins when these facilities get up to about 4% of total installed capacity.
When I visited Hoover Dam in the early '90s, the guides told us that Vegas got its power mostly from gas-fired plants, while the hydro power from the dam traveled over HV lines to LA. Those leases were just being renegotiated after being written in the late '30s. Make sense to anybody?
I am opposed to government subsidies on alternative energy that only exists to garner government subsidies. having said that I have lived in this part of the country and the environment is not nearly as sensitive as some would have you believe. In fact it is likely the golf course in the picture is more harmful then the solar facility. 1000's of sq/mi of unused desert out there with a mere handful of sites worth keeping untouched. Until you have walked this land and seen it for what it is you do not understand both it's great potential and it's total under utilization. You could literally build a million sites like the one shown and still have 99% of the wasteland untouched. So much potential lets not put up artificial barriers to it's use.
The law says that the electrical power from a federal power project be offered with a "municipal preference." That is, cities get first dibs on contracting to take the power from Federal power projects.
That's why the city of Palo Alto, home to Stanford University, has electric rates far below its neighbors, the one's served by the tax-paying, investor-owned, Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
The Feds even have their own transmission companies, such as the Western Area Power Authority, to get the power from the dams to the cities.
So yes, Los Angeles was able to take the lion's share of the power when Hoover Dam first opened; Las Vegas was a very small place at the time and could only take a little, if any. Too, transmission might not have been available or worthwhile for Las Vegas.
I was interviewed back in the 80s for a job starting up this project's predecessor, Solar One, a DoE funded experiment. As a single guy, to relocate to this desert from the SF Bay Area for what was obviously a boondoggle of a project was VERY unattractive. It's what I've long called a "BYOP site."
The technology behind the "power tower" idea is pretty simple and not that effective. What a waste and dead end.
But as long as there are politicians there will be boondoggles.
I wish they would go destroy the North slope (if destroy they must--the oil companies can pull it off without the destruction) and leave the fragile desert the hell alone.
Let me give you a clue - the stretches alongside I-15 and I-40 and I-10 are hardly pristine desert. There is a lot of invasive commercial and governmental facilities along them.
Sure, there's also long stretches of nothing, but development will happen, but along the main transportation corridors like this project. Pristine desert is the land AWAY from the freeways and railroads.
Imagine the fun hackers could have breaking into this system.