California’s San Bernardino County slams the brakes on big solar projects

From The LA Times

By Sammy Roth

Feb 28, 2019 | 4:35 PM

California's San Bernardino County slams the brakes on big solar projects

A view of a smaller-scale commercial solar project in Lucerne Valley, Calif., seen on Feb. 25, 2019. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California’s largest county has banned the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land, bending to the will of residents who say they don’t want renewable energy projects industrializing their rural desert communities northeast of Los Angeles.

Thursday’s 4-1 vote by San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors highlighted a challenge California could face as it seeks to eliminate the burning of planet-warming fossil fuels.

State lawmakers passed a bill last year requiring utility companies to get 60% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and 100% from climate-friendly sources by 2045. But achieving those goals will require cooperation from local governments — and big solar and wind farms, like many infrastructure projects, are often unpopular at the local level.

Representatives of national solar developers including First Solar and Clearway Energy urged the supervisors to consider the economic benefits of solar projects, including jobs and tax revenues. They were joined by union members, who told the supervisors that solar farms create hundreds of high-paying construction jobs.

“They’re temporary construction jobs, but that’s what we make our livelihood off of. And to put language in there that strictly prohibits these projects from going forward would be irresponsible,” said Justin Lanford, president of the San Bernardino County chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Get up to speed: Why California’s biggest county is severely restricting solar energy projects »

Dozens of local residents spoke in support of the proposed ban, known as Renewable Energy Policy 4.10. 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.

Sara Fairchild, a resident of Pioneertown, said she’s been working with a group trying to get California Highway 247, which runs from Yucca Valley to Barstow, designated as a state scenic highway. Supporters say the designation would draw tourists and boost local economies. But Fairchild is worried that several solar projects proposed along or near the highway would ruin the pristine desert landscapes that make the area so attractive.

“These vast open areas are precious for their natural, historical and recreational qualities. But they are fragile, and no amount of mitigation can counter the damage that industrial-scale renewable energy projects would cause,” Fairchild told the supervisors. “Once destroyed, these landscapes can never be brought back.”

A view of Lucerne Dry Lake in California's San Bernardino County, where a large solar project has been proposed.

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Joel O'Bryan
March 1, 2019 10:12 pm

Maybe they read Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley;

“I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Yes, there will come a time, (probably a lot sooner than the eco-nutters would like to admit) when those solar works will be colossal wrecks — boundless and bare of output. Collecting sand far away.

Next to those big solar farms will be this stone pedestal inscription:
Look on my Renewable Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
I am Ozzy of San Dimas, King of Climate Morons!

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
March 2, 2019 12:15 am

Ozymandias was Pharaoh Ramesses II, before they could translate his name.

They could not believe how many statues he had made. But then he became known as the ‘great chiseller’ – appropriating older statues by carving his name on them.


P.S. Why can we not post images anymore…?

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
March 3, 2019 9:14 am

Joel, very appropriate . . . thank you.

When the time comes for even the smaller solar farms to fall into to disuse and disrepair due to their economic infeasibility, they may be left in place for “automatic” recycling. The solar cells will degrade back into silica sand, the aluminum supports will oxidize and degrade back into alumina sand, and the other trace elements (copper, alloying elements of various metals, solar cell dopants, etc.) will return to being trace minerals in the earth from when they came.

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Gordon Dressler
March 3, 2019 10:31 am

Errr . . . last sentence: “whence”, not “when”

kent beuchert
March 1, 2019 10:27 pm

By the time these solar and wind farms have covered the landscape, the molten salt nuclear revolution will arrive : enormous amounts of energy provided by generation plants that occupy one ten thousandth the land required by wind and solar – a few acres that can be anywhere – in a town or city.

Reply to  kent beuchert
March 2, 2019 12:09 am

Well, the earliest commercial designs for molten salt are over a decade off… then there’s the money and time needed to build them. We’re looking at late 2030s at best.

Meanwhile the Gulf States, India, N Africa are covering their deserts with solar panels and large scale batteries…

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 12:16 am

“Bloody wogs, can’t even count their goats.”

Reply to  brians356
March 2, 2019 3:51 am

they sure wont if they hide under the solar cells
and mayhap nibble anything loose on them;-)

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 2:08 am

I was wondering why do they use the term “virtual Battery” Virtual as in non-real makes no sense, so it must mean virtual as in virtual signalling, derived from virtue. Something is lost in translation.

Also, the solar panels are virtual too, since they are not real yet. and they are for virtual signalling as well. I wonder how much will these panels last. My guess is that the first sand storm will cover the panels with dust, or even worse, sand, and they will stop working. And that will not be reported since nobody cares.

R Shearer
Reply to  Urederra
March 2, 2019 6:24 am

Mainly, it’s the fantasy that the combination of all the electric cars and appliance can be connected and controlled by a centralized “smart” system to function as a giant battery.

In practice, it’s similar to the fantasy that even though the wind may not be blowing someplace, other windy locations somewhere connected through the grid can compensate for these losses and back up fossil power is not required.

By comparison, these are far less ridiculous than the notion that air travel can be replace by high speed train.

Reply to  R Shearer
March 2, 2019 8:13 am

I would never allow the batteries in my EV to be used as a virtual storage device. Why should I foot the bill? The charging system needs to be more sophisticated and cost more. The batteries and charging system is subject to more wear and tear, decreasing its life and my costs. The home electrical system needs to be upgraded to support this. The chances of a fire is greater and my battery does not last as long. And I get to pay for all of this for nothing but a virtual plaque on the house,

Sam Pyeatte
Reply to  R Shearer
March 2, 2019 12:49 pm

Instead of building a gigantic and expensive “Rube Goldberg” machine that might work at most 10-12 hours a day, just build a natural gas power plant the works 24-7 for a fraction of the price of the “Rube Goldberg” machine?

Reply to  Sam Pyeatte
March 2, 2019 3:33 pm

THAT plan will never fly with the environazis.

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 2:08 am

Griff, “the earliest commercial designs for molten salt are over a decade off…” perhaps they could name it Crescent Dunes.

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 2:17 am


After some two years’ deliberation and review of about one hundred concepts, late in 2002 GIF (then representing ten countries) announced the selection of six reactor technologies which they believe represent the future shape of nuclear energy. These were selected on the basis of being clean, safe and cost-effective means of meeting increased energy demands on a sustainable basis, while being resistant to diversion of materials for weapons proliferation and secure from terrorist attacks. They are the subject of further development internationally, with expenditure of about $6 billion over 15 years. About 80% of the cost is being met by the USA, Japan and France.

At least four of the systems have significant operating experience already in most respects of their design, which provides a good basis for further R&D and is likely to mean that they can be in commercial operation before 2030. World Nuclear Association.

Wrong griff………..Again!

Ben of Houston
Reply to  HotScot
March 2, 2019 8:04 am

I’ll agree with Griff on this. We shouldn’t bank on any technology that doesn’t exist until it has multiple units in operation. The EPA has done this several times, which is why we are required to use millions of gallons of cellulose-based ethanol that simply doesn’t exist

John Endicott
Reply to  Ben of Houston
March 4, 2019 7:37 am

I’d be willing to grant the technology kudos when it can get *one* into commercial operation so that it’s costs and benefits can be properly measured. Before then, it’s lots of hype with little in the way of real world data.

R Shearer
Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 6:15 am

And a great global cooling or lack of catastrophic warming at least shall be obvious to all by then but Ozymandias.

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 8:11 am

I did find an explanation of virtual batteries:

They require everybody to install solar panels and batteries and the capability for the power company to tap the storage batteries as needed. So folks store excess energy during the day, when rates are high(as much as $14,000$AU) and sell it back to the power company, apparently, for 20-30 cents.

What a great deal!

Reply to  Philo
March 2, 2019 1:17 pm

so much wrong with that its hard to know where to start, and I am not a renewables fan
the exagerated $14k happens for a number of hours during the year and is not typical, and you know that. Yes the a battery system will work on basic arbitrage like the Horndale/Tesla battery in South Australia , doing exactly the reverse of what you describe at least for part of its output to generate income.

Reply to  yarpos
March 2, 2019 6:16 pm

The Hornsdale/Tesla battery in SA is making a bundle creaming off the top of an increasingly unreliable power grid providing FCAS but it’s a fallacy of composition to think the number required could make those returns taming 100% unreliables. Best to hop in for your chop first. Australia would go broke before their Green nirvana if yellow vests weren’t in the streets in numbers long before that.

I’m with Bill Gates bemused at the Wall Street spreadsheeters and their daydreams so in a modest RV petrol inverter genny I trust but that can be readily upgraded if they keep persisting with their looney toons and the inevitable. You never know they might drive up the price of grid power so much it pays full time.

Reply to  Philo
March 2, 2019 2:29 pm

So more like cloud storage. Only this is for energy storage, not memory storage.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 12:21 pm

AbuDhabi economics doesn’t really apply anywhere but small oil-rich sheikdoms.
Abu Dhabi is not exactly your poster child of poor Third World countries or even rich countries with a large geographically spread population. Actually it is pretty much the opposite.
AbuDhabi subsidizes gasoline to the point they might as be giving it away to their citizens. Same for electricity.
So spending a few Billion dollars on a grid battery that can stabilize the grid for only about 6 hours (then its depleted and needs fossil fuel electricity generators to recharge it) when electricity is practically free anyway only works in when consumers don’t have to pay for it in the first place.

India is ramping up coal power plants. You know that. Solar is only a gimmick in India, just as in the US.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
March 2, 2019 3:32 pm

India is ramping up coal power plants. You know that. Solar is only a gimmick in India, just as in the US. As is China, and as in China. Solar is a niche/gimmick item, up until it achieves actual parity with real electricity production systems, such as nuclear. Or Hydro. Perhaps coal, too. It will never be in the league of the Evil Marcellus Shale Gas!

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 1:10 pm

gee, the renewables fans are always talking about the next unicorn technology thats just over the horizon, cant everyone do that?

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 5:26 pm

Obviously a people of little wisdom in the ways of “Renewable” hucksters and snake oil salesmen. They even believe that you can cure aids by having sexual relations with a virgin and assume someone’s power/ability by eating them.
PT Barnum was correct about suckers and a greater proportion are born in Africa.
At least in the case of N Africa, they found a good use for the now greening Sahara

Reply to  griff
March 5, 2019 10:53 pm

Curious…do you ever get tired of being stupid and wrong?

Reply to  kent beuchert
March 2, 2019 7:21 am

The molton salt reactor revolution has been just around the corner for SIXTY YEARS now.

Your assertion is preposterous.

Bryan A
Reply to  Gamecock
March 2, 2019 5:29 pm

Ivanpah is a Molten Salt generator, though one heated by concentrated solar, which does make a great bug zapper and bird cooker.
AND still requires gas fired heating to keep the salt molten at night. So far from perfect but existing.

John Endicott
Reply to  Bryan A
March 4, 2019 7:40 am

Last I looked, Ivanpah is *not* nuclear, so the “The molten salt *nuclear* revolution” that kent constantly bangs on about still doesn’t exist.

Reply to  kent beuchert
March 2, 2019 2:39 pm

…the molten salt nuclear revolution will arrive…”

Why limit them? Again? Some more? The most advanced nuclear plant operating in the U.S. is “Generation 2”. Think of that. Seventy-five years after the demonstration that an atom can be split and release energy, we are only into the second generation of working reactors. Why? I believe it is because of over-regulation. Those regulators pretty much let it be known, or even wrote standards and specifications, forcing all manufacturers to use that same design. The regulators could not have done more to create a dangerous industry if they had tried! (Maybe that was exactly what they were trying to do?) All innovation stopped (for the most part) and we are still using the same antiquated design all across the U.S. Can you imagine the outrage we would hear if regulators had clamped down on the cell phone industry at generation 2? How would you like it if your only choice was an iPhone II? With its notoriously weak battery? There is a “Generation 3” nuclear reactor I guess, because I hear the designers are now working on a “Generation 4”, but I think the best way to get to clean, safe nuclear energy is to get the regulators out of the way!!!

Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
March 3, 2019 3:20 am

I am a big fan of nuclear – it can keep the lights on; that is why the watermelon party hate it.
I also agree that regulations appear to have different levels of impact depending on the perceived ‘need’ for the technology.
Three-quarters of a century ago, the Manhattan Project produced a working atomic bomb in double quick time. Not sure if they had safety policies, but there was a war on, and they delivered. Thank goodness!
Now, nuclear power is astonishingly hard to build [and the effects of an accident, were one to happen, could be – very – nasty, and not least on the reputation of nuclear power].
Yet it seems that almost any fly-by-night chancer [as well as, perhaps, some more reputable operators] can build a tower an eighth of a mile tall, buried in a massive concrete block that will persist for a century or two, and chop rare raptors for fun – on the tax-payer dime [or tax-payer pound here in Londonistan, an EU Satrapy].
The watermelons perceive a ‘Climate Emergency’ – when it is only weather, as we have had for tens of thousands of years – but need to defraud the populace for their kicks.

Sensible nuclear regulations are still needed.
I would like to see sensible regulation of bird-chopping towers, too.


Reply to  auto
March 3, 2019 3:32 am

“Sensible nuclear regulations are still needed.” Already have them, regulations are not the major stumbling block, nuisance lawsuits are. Just look to US Navy, they have been operating nuclear power systems, safely and successfully, for a long time. And France, they seem to have a clue, have not melted any holes to the center of the planet or irradiated their populace. Silencing the greentards is what we need, got plenty of regulatory oversight and direct knowledge build and operate nuclear power plants.

John Endicott
Reply to  kent beuchert
March 4, 2019 7:42 am

the molten salt nuclear revolution will arrive

So you keep insisting. Get back to us when there is *one* in commercial operation so we can properly evaluate how it lives up to your endless hype. Before then all you are doing is blowing hot air (if we can’t harness that, we wouldn’t need a molten salt nuclear revolution)

March 1, 2019 11:23 pm

Why are pristine desert landscapes pristine? Because the land is no damned use to anyone.

If it was that “fragile” it would not have been there so long as “pristine desert”.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Greg
March 1, 2019 11:32 pm

You seem to misunderstand the mindset of eco-nuts, Greg. Nothing can be built anywhere, ever.

I’ve been waiting for the NIMBYs to target solar and wind installations. It is like the irony of watching one endangered species eating another. [Thanks to my wife for that one.]

Reply to  Dave Fair
March 2, 2019 5:38 am

It’s not the NIMBY’s anymore. It’s the BANANA’s.


R Shearer
Reply to  Kamikazedave
March 2, 2019 6:30 am

Has a certain appeal, no pun intended.

Another Ian
Reply to  Greg
March 2, 2019 12:22 am

The ecological definition of “fragile” has nothing to do with the fragility as of, say, fine china.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Greg
March 2, 2019 4:31 am

But the beauty of this approach is that it turns the Alinskyite tactics against them. How many hydroelectric projects have been stopped or delayed for generations because a snail darter or a rare roach might maybe possibly be inconvenienced? We must embrace the sacred and irreplaceable cosmic relevance of the pristine desert habitat!

Reply to  Greg
March 2, 2019 12:09 pm

Quite often, pristine desert landscapes aren’t. I read an article by some eco-weenie complaining how a mine several miles outside of Death Valley National Park was disrupting the park’s “pristine” environment and sho7ld be shut. This totally ignored that mining had gone on in the land that became the park since the 1800s. There are displays throughout the park that celebrate the history of the multiple mines and their deserted supporting settlements. But somehow this was equated with “pristine”.

Garland Lowe
March 1, 2019 11:33 pm

NIMBY will be the downfall of renewal energy. Kennedys killed wind turbines off Cape Cod in 2005.

John M. Ware
Reply to  Garland Lowe
March 2, 2019 1:30 pm

I think that’s all to the good, one of the rare things for which the Kennedys actually deserve thanks. Wind turbines are unsightly, expensive, ineffective, and deadly to bird life, so to have none of them off Cape Cod is actually a good thing–right?

Reply to  John M. Ware
March 2, 2019 3:16 pm

Right, except for the fact that Kennedy wants windmills everywhere, just not in his back yard. He wants them in other people’s back yards or waters, as the case may be. Hypocrisy at its finest.

John Endicott
Reply to  John M. Ware
March 4, 2019 7:50 am

Indeed John, it’s a good thing. The problem with the Kennedy’s is, as Kc Taz points out, the hypocrisy. They didn’t want it in their back yard (Cape Cod) but were all for it being in other peoples back yards. And you see this time and again with lefties and greenies (and most especially greenie lefties). Rules for thee but not for me. You should reduce your carbon footprint, but the green elites get to jet all over the world, drive hummers and live in mansions with large carbon footprints.

March 1, 2019 11:43 pm

Sure seems to me that there is soon to be a massive recycling problem of tens of millions of these solar PV panels. What a waste they only work efficiently a max of 15-20 years, and then only at a low efficiency of <13%-17% annually mid to northerly latitudes like Canada/Germany, and maybe 18%-24% at southerly to equatorial latitudes depending on cloud cover. And that may be generous. Opposite if you are SH…Oh and decreasing annually in output efficiency so that by the time their lifespan is up, they putting out 2%-3% less just with age.

I haven't really heard what the recycling procedure is. Can they easily be melt down like aluminum and be manufactured back into a high efficiency solar panel? When one of these large scale projects is approved, what do they plan to do in 15-20 years when they all toast at once and ready for replacement? I have never read anything about how this is easily solved or what the cost is. Does anyone have any idea? I have a dozen of these 100W panels on my RV trailer for off grid and they are great and convenient, but sure is expensive, especially with the batteries.

Reply to  Earthling2
March 2, 2019 12:00 am

They cannot be reused as solar panels. The process is to dope pure crystaline silicon wafers with arsenic and boron. The patterns made in the wafers is what makes a solar panel. If you melt them they will become polluted and useless for electronic use.

Ok. Someone please correct me. I am just being very brief.

Reply to  Davidq
March 2, 2019 3:54 am

hmm, Im thinking i might be scoring some interesting fencing panels in years to come then;-)
chook shed, sheep shelter, I could find some alt uses for em.

Steven F
Reply to  Davidq
March 2, 2019 2:21 pm

All silicon has to be purified to us in electronics. There are a number of facilities around the world that do this. Any one of these facilities tan mix used silicon recovered from solar panels with there regular silicon input. And process it to pure silicon. Scrap silicon from seconductor manufactures is regularly recycled this way.

R Shearer
Reply to  Earthling2
March 2, 2019 6:28 am

Just drop them off in downsown LA, SF, or other liberal bastions and the growing homeless populations will make use of them to construct shelters in place of plastic tarps and cardboard boxes.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Earthling2
March 2, 2019 10:00 am

Earthling2 wrote: “Sure seems to me that there is soon to be a massive recycling problem of tens of millions of these solar PV panels.

I’ve seen houses where a new roof was put on over an old roof. And, in places a newly dead body is placed in a grave occupied by previously dead bodies.
So the simple solution to solar panels is to place a new model over the ones there now.

This might work 3 or 4 times before gravity takes over. Then there is a problem.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 2, 2019 4:24 pm

Thickest roof I have ever redone was 7 layers. When we had it all stripped off the ridge had risen, the interior had risen, all the central walls’ plaster had cracked. Boy was that woman pissed! We spent a year working for her. One of my all time favorite jobs, once she calmed down.

Reply to  Earthling2
March 2, 2019 7:00 pm

“I have never read anything about how this is easily solved or what the cost is.”

Oh dear don’t you know never to fart in public? Like the ultimate cost of dispatchable renewable power there is no answer because among all the research institutions universities and brains there are certain questions you do not ask as it’s a very bad career move. Hence their is no answer and it’s left to your imagination and there’s only one proper Groupthink imagination or you’re back to farting in public again.

March 2, 2019 12:11 am

but if there was shale gas or oil under those deserts, then it would be fine to drill for it?

Algerians don’t thinks so:

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 12:19 am

“Bloody wogs, can’t even count their goats.”

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 1:58 am

Bituminous sands are sands soaked with hydrocarbons, toxic material. When you remove the hydrocarbons you detoxify the sands, you can use the hydrocarbons to make useful plastic objects, you can burn them to produce energy and plant food, and you annoy ecologists. Win-win-win-win situation.

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 2:28 am


Your article is over 2 years old.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 7:10 am

Griff – are you funded by Big Wind or Big Solar?

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 7:14 am

griff, …… New York State has billions of cubic feet of shale gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale …… but the Democrat Legislature said it is ILLEGAL to drill a gas well.

Reply to  griff
March 2, 2019 8:53 am

Griff, you conveniently ignore the huge difference in the footprint with windmills per unit of energy produced versus drilling especially today with horizontal drilling.

Donald Kasper
March 2, 2019 12:45 am

The problem with desert solar projects is they consume all the flat land where all the roads are giving people access to the mountains. Once the farms are in place, the land is no longer accessible as making new roads on BLM land is impossible. The environmental red tape is exorbitant. The second problem is every project gets a huge well to keep the panels clean in areas getting 4 in of rain a year, so it is all fossil water. It is not going to be replenished. Third, it kills migrating bats that pollinate a lot of desert plants. Fourth, it says socially flat ground biosphere is to be exterminated and everything has to move into the mountains and cliffs to live, if they can. The problem is the mountain are rocks, so uninhabitable for animals like the horned lizard and desert tortoise.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
March 2, 2019 7:10 pm

“The problem with desert solar projects is they consume all the flat land where all the roads are giving people access to the mountains.”

Could they make the solar panels strong enough to drive on? Just trying to be helpful with where we’re all going.

John Endicott
Reply to  observa
March 4, 2019 7:55 am
John Endicott
Reply to  observa
March 4, 2019 8:05 am

And, further to that, all it takes is some common sense to realize solar roads aren’t very sensible. For solar panels to produce any decent amount of energy they need to be angled towards the sun (not flat on the ground) and clean (have you ever looked at the road surfaces? dirt, leaves, and other debris has a habit of accumulating on the sides and the middle with only the path of car tires being the “cleanest” areas and even those get their nooks and crannies filled with various substances which would degrade a panels usefulness).

Jim M
March 2, 2019 12:49 am

I would be curious as the the energy balance on the cradle to grave on solar panels.

Has anyone seen an analysis?

Dennis Sandberg
March 2, 2019 1:38 am
Here’s one of the better links. Keep in mind that wind is only available 1/3 of the time and solar about 1/5 so obviously backup is required. If the EROI for wind is shown as 18 in the real world it’s 6, solar at 15 is really 3. Both of these at those values are below what is becoming considered the 7 minimum threshold for a sound investment (IMHO…I’m not an expert, but renewables appear to be a horrible waste of limited capital).

March 2, 2019 1:41 am

Legally speaking, there is no such things as renewable energy.

The universe itself will die a heat death.

So what is the appropriate legal response to solar farms, that are not renewable? And are driven by a fusion reactor?

Reply to  Leo Smith
March 2, 2019 5:54 am

They ran the universe simulation again to check that prognosis – and came up with 42.

Shouldn’t use climate models for the entire universe, bad idea.

March 2, 2019 1:45 am

Representatives of national solar developers including First Solar and Clearway Energy urged the supervisors to consider the economic benefits of solar projects, including jobs and tax revenues. They were joined by union members, who told the supervisors that solar farms create hundreds of high-paying construction jobs.

If the solar farm creates hundreds of high-paying construction jobs, and maintenance jobs, tax revenues and free fuel for Tesla drivers, then the electricity prices are going to be high. You cannot have everything. Some people believe they can, but then Solyndra and Abengoa happens.

Reply to  Urederra
March 3, 2019 5:35 am

An added JOB is added cost. Period. And added JOB is added benefit ONLY when the economic value that is produced by the job-holder exceeds the cost that is created by the addition of the JOB.

March 2, 2019 2:35 am

Have there been any cases in the USA of persons destroying solar panel farms and especially windmills, or the tower carrying the power.

When the masses are ignored, then we will see a reaction against such costly and visually damaging projects.


Reply to  Michael
March 2, 2019 3:58 am

a really good hailstorm or wind event would do a fair bit of damage with no one having to go to jail for it.
ma natures bound to throw a whammy at some of them..shes really quite a bitch on a bad day 😉

Michael S. Kelly. BSA LS, Ret
March 2, 2019 4:13 am

I lived in San Bernardino County for 28 miserable years, and this comes as no surprise to me. What almost surprised me was the installation of the vast wind farms in the San Gorgonio Pass between Redlands and Palm Springs. The “almost” part was due to the sheer environmental blight, and the reason it was ultimately not surprising was that I knew why all of those turbines were there: tax breaks, which my more highly-paid aerospace colleagues exploited to the maximum. Not that it did them much good. The IRS began pursuing people who used these (then) legitimate tax shelters doggedly in the late 1980s. A friend and colleague of mine was accosted in his own driveway by a team of IRS interrogators, as his wife was trying to take him to the hospital to deal with his (terminal) lung cancer. But before that, it was like a gold rush of tax sheltering.

As of 2009, the roughly 3,200 turbines in the desert were producing 893 GW-hr of energy a year. If you devoted the same land area to nuclear plants, they would produce orders of magnitude more energy, with much less eyesore effect.

But SoCal residents hate two things: despoiling vast tracts of unspoiled land, and nuclear power. So they’re basically screwed, which is one reason I moved out.

March 2, 2019 4:13 am

“…solar projects are seen by many as eyesores that destroy desert ecosystems and fuel larger dust storms.”

A bit puzzled by this.

Also, if dust storms are a problem, how do they keep the panels clean? Efficiency goes down when dust coatings are allowed to build up.

Ian W
Reply to  icisil
March 2, 2019 4:52 am

if dust storms are a problem, how do they keep the panels clean?

One of the ‘high paying jobs’ [cough] is panel cleaner – I am sure there is a queue for the task in the hot desert sun. Further North it is a more seasonal job clearing snow and freezing rain off the panels.
All subsidy farms have these jobs. The ones marked by windmills have the bat and bird body collectors.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Ian W
March 2, 2019 7:27 am

Yeah, and those solar panel cleaner jobs and dead bird/bat collector jobs are permanent jobs, not temporary like the construction workers. Those solar panels need cleaning and the dead bodies need collecting year round.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 2, 2019 7:32 am

Were I contracting to clean panels I would do it at night, and charge a higher rate! Win/Win. At least for me.

joe - the non climate scientist
Reply to  icisil
March 2, 2019 5:32 am

“Also, if dust storms are a problem, how do they keep the panels clean? Efficiency goes down when dust coatings are allowed to build up.”

The rain cleans the panels – Oh wait – forgot it doesnt rain much in the desert.

Reply to  icisil
March 2, 2019 5:53 am

You clean them with LOTS of precious, especially in the desert, fresh water.

R Shearer
Reply to  icisil
March 2, 2019 6:35 am

I ride by bicycle by a few solar projects on occasion and it always amazes me how dirty they are with significant area covered by debris, dirt, dust and bird droppings. I won’t be riding by them today as everything, especially the paths and roads, is covered by snow.

Ann Banisher
Reply to  icisil
March 2, 2019 7:01 am

Dust storms are not as much of a problem as sand storms are in the desert. My brother got stuck in one in his car. Took the paint off the car and turned the windshield to a nice frosted glass. One of those and there goes the solar farm.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Ann Banisher
March 2, 2019 7:27 am

“Sand blasting” is an “art form” for making purty cemetery monuments.

And an auto body paint n’ repair shop ain’t worth a hoot without a “sand blaster”.

So, sand storms will also erode the support structure of the solar panels.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
March 2, 2019 7:35 am

Aluminum don’t hold up well to sand blasting and I bet most of the frame work would be aluminum struts.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Ann Banisher
March 2, 2019 10:07 am

Ann B.,
About your brother: this is called a learn-from event.
One turns the auto around so the rear window gets blasted/frosted.
This allows one to drive away after the event.

March 2, 2019 6:45 am

It is long past time that the adults took control in Cali!

Gunga Din
March 2, 2019 7:14 am

Urban dreamers meet rural realist.

It’s in the rurals’ backyards the urbanites’ wind and solar dreams would need to be built.

March 2, 2019 7:32 am

Oh, my! There is NOWHERE in the U.S. more suitable for large solar installations than San Bernardino County, CA. When they say, “No,” it pretty much means “No” for everywhere.

It is extraordinary the disconnect between the state and the county. The state is all in; the county says, “Nah.”

Reply to  Gamecock
March 2, 2019 11:00 am

“It is extraordinary the disconnect between the state and the county. The state is all in; the county says, “Nah.””

Sheriffs in the US are elected in each county, and their authority, in practicality, supersedes state authority. For example, states pass restrictive gun legislation; sheriffs say, “Eh. no. Not going to enforce such law.”

Reply to  icisil
March 2, 2019 3:27 pm

And New Mexico is leading the way!

March 2, 2019 8:28 am

I was wondering when the people that live where all these projects are BUILT were going to rebel. The electricity is usually going somewhere ELSE, like a city or suburb where there is no room for it. So the city people that want the renewable energy don’t have to deal with the eyesores…

Good for San Bernardino. Make LA, San Fran, Sacramento, etc., install solar farms in their own town/city rather than in someone else’s. Can’t power a city from solar and wind generated inside that city. I think Sacramento should be the ‘demonstration project’ for California’s lawmakers… show the world how to pave everything in Sacramento with solar and wind and still not come close to powering modern society.

Reply to  BobM
March 2, 2019 3:17 pm

Ask the people near Bishop how they feel about draining all their lakes to send water to LA.
Ask the Sierra Club how they feel about flooding the other Yosemite valley (Hetch Hetchy).
The metro votes count more.

nw sage
Reply to  BobM
March 2, 2019 8:28 pm

Looks like its time for the Ca State government to use eminent domain. The land owners lose the use of their lands, the State loses money, etc, etc.

Dr. Bob
March 2, 2019 8:32 am

As bad as a solar panel field looks, I deplore wind farms in the desert. They blot the landscape that I used to think was pristine. Not anymore!. I grew up on SoCal and enjoyed the desert and mountain areas that now are just total wasted scenery. comment image&exph=430&expw=640&q=image+wind+farm+palm+springs&simid=608005043784977878&selectedIndex=2&ajaxhist=0
And California worked so hard to save the Condor only to have wind farms kill them. Ecologists are the worst thing for ecology.

March 2, 2019 9:24 am

California could cover every square inch of desert with solar panels and populate every mountain pass with windmills and it still wouldn’t solve the perceived problem. California lacks the water and landscape for pump storage , hydro is limited, and the eco loonies who control California government won’t allow nuclear so what will be the backup without grid level storage? It doesn’t take much thought to understand California is racing to a dead end with energy. But the California politicians will continue patting themselves on the back for “leading the nation, if not the world” in renewable energy while the people pay the price in dollars and electricity availability.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  markl
March 2, 2019 1:43 pm

The argument that these solar panels will help with climate change fails so they turn to the old standby, economic value of jobs and taxes. Perhaps they should have started out that way, would have had a better chance.

John Endicott
Reply to  markl
March 4, 2019 8:14 am

so what will be the backup without grid level storage

The backup is Arizona, Nevada and other neighboring states from which Cali imports electricity (California imports more electricity than any other state as it is).

Dennis Sandberg
March 2, 2019 2:13 pm

Bituminous sands are simply an “oil spill” by mother nature. Freak geologic conditions forced this bitumen to form on the surface. Big oil is just cleaning up a mess that mother nature made. Where’s the thanks?

Robert in Busan
March 3, 2019 12:38 am

Hallelujah! The Greens are finally eating their own. Knew it would happen evetually. Now that solar is RIGHT OUT, next on the agenda is living underground in caves. (Please don’t tell me this has already been seriously proposed.) Radon cancer trust fund here we come.

March 3, 2019 7:07 am

So this will encourage the low efficiency rooftop solar instead variant with the extra jobs that go with no economies of scale. That maximizes the lobbyist spin from rooftop installer companies. Nuts!

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