Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ever wonder why it seems the big environmental groups are on big wind and solar’s side and not on ours? Maybe this web find might shed a clue.

Hhhhmmmmm- let’s see, in March 2010 I made two field trips to the Ivanpah SEGS
leading into April when I made a field trip to the Calico Solar Site east of Newberry
Springs, California. The former where we are about to be BrightSourced, the latter
where we are about to be Tessera’d and hoisted up to be fried on one of their
thousands and thousands of Stirling engines planned for that site, er that is if they
can get it running, of course.

And of course, other intervenors and interested grassroots activists were doing similar
field trips to sites in the desert such as these or were attending the never ending
hearings to plead the case for our Mojave and other deserts. I applaud them for that.
As one who has virtually no patience when dealing with mind numbing bureaucracy,
I admire their tenacity and ability to keep going out day by day and fighting the good fight.

Now that’s what our side was doing. What about the other side? What were the opponents
doing? Well, I think I know now.

Since a lot of you are probably in a hurry, I have saved pg#1/2 of this pdf file below:

  W oods Institute for the Environment
                                                                              U n c o m m o n            D i a l o g u e

                         Large‐Scale Solar Technology and Policy Forum
                                             Overview and Agenda
                                                      April 8‐9, 2010

Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment is hosting a technology and policy forum on
what is required to make large-scale solar a viable solution for our energy future.  The forum will bring
together scientists, policy makers, industry and non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders to develop
the blueprint for a plan on technology development, regulatory changes and deployment strategies.                      The
forum is co-sponsored by Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy.

The goal of the forum is share knowledge, expertise and perspectives to establish priorities, advance
technology and meet the challenges presented by the implementation of large scale solar.

Forum Objectives

•    What are the values, benefits and challenges that need to be reflected in the implementation of large-
     scale solar projects?
•    What scientific and technology advances can mitigate the most critical impacts of large-scale solar
•    What are the current regulatory and investment challenges to the advancement of technology/science
     developments and to the deployment of large-scale solar, and how can they best be met?

Policy and Legislative Drivers
Although current solar power generation in the U.S. constitutes less than 0.1% of our total energy
consumption (8800 MW of installed solar capacity), large-scale solar projects are moving forward.  Solar
energy is expected to provide a significant percentage of U.S. electrical needs over the coming decades.
The increased interest in solar energy is reflected in recent legislative action. The U.S. House of
Representatives recently passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) and the U.S.
Senate is considering similar legislation.  In addition, the House has also passed the Solar Technology
Roadmap Act (H.R. 3585) that directs the Secretary of Energy to oversee a committee that will advise the
federal government on solar technology development. Concurrently, the Department of Interior is also
conducting a Programmatic Environmental Impact Study on Solar Energy Development that will guide
the development of large-solar energy projects on federal land (anticipated release is September 2010).

Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment
As a neutral third-party convener and trusted source of research and information, the Woods Institute
brings business, government and NGO leaders together with experts from Stanford and other academic
institutions to create practical solutions on key environmental policy issues.

For more information:

Margot Gerritsen (Chair)                                                E:
Associate Professor, Energy Resources Engineering                       I:

            Jerry Yang & Akiko Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building - MC 4205 / 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305
             Phone: 650 736-8668 Fax: 650 725-3402 Email: Website:
Now below is page#2/2- this is where it gets interesting. Pay particular attention to
the industry representatives and the big environmental group representatives.

                       Large‐Scale Solar Technology
                       and Policy Forum                                                                  Forum co-sponsored by:

                                                          April 7‐9, 2010                

Wednesday April 7
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.                  Evening ice-breaker at the Stanford Guest House for early arrivals

Thursday April 8
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.                  Coffee/breakfast available at Paul Brest Hall
8:30 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.                  Welcome and introductions
9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.                 Part I: Solar Vision
                                       Outline the shared vision and goals of large-scale solar technology
                                       Plenary invited presentation by Arthur Haubenstock (BrightSource) and Johanna
                                       Wald (NRDC) followed by workgroup discussions
10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.                Coffee break
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.                Part II: Challenges:
                                       Identify the most significant challenges facing the implementation of
                                       Large-scale solar technology
                                       Workgroup discussions, plenary debrief
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.                 Lunch
1:30 p.m.     - 2:45 p.m.              Part II: Challenges, cont.
                                       Plenary invited presentations by Carl Zichella (Sierra Club), Karen Edson
                                       (CAISO) and Joshua Bar-Lev (BrightSource) followed by continued workgroup
                                       discussions and plenary debrief
2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.                  Coffee break
3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.                  Part III: Solutions
                                       Brainstorm and explore the potential solutions for the most significant
                                       challenges facing the implementation of large-scale solar technology
                                       Workgroup discussions, plenary debrief
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.                  Reception
                                       Remarks by Rick Ridgeway, VP Patagonia, Freedom to Roam
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.                  Dinner for participants at Stanford Faculty Club

Friday April 9
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.                  Coffee/breakfast available at Paul Brest Hall
8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.                  Opening and recap of first forum day
8:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.                 Part IV: Strengths and resources:
                                       Share forum participant knowledge, expertise and resources that can be
                                       utilized to meet the challenges and implement the vision and goals of large-scale
                                       solar technology.  Identify next steps.
                                       Workgroup discussions, plenary debrief
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.                Plenary closing and next steps

For additional forum information:

By the way, I highly recommend a surf over to the woods-stanford web site listed. While
there, be sure to read the .pdf file scoping-comments from the public, very enlightening.

By now, it probably has sunk in, even into the most die hard and rabid Sierra Club or
NRDC member, die hard in the sense that you follow dictates from your headquarters
and maybe are not too involved with the grassroots part of the environmental business.

But before the morongobill goes into that, please allow me a “mea culpa” moment.

I readily confess that even though I have always loved the Mojave, I never got involved
in any way re: its’ environment, until I began this blog in January of this year. So I arrived
late to the table, and not too hip on what was going on. But I wised up in a hurry, let me
tell you- with the help of some desert activists who were kind enough to point me in the
right direction, they know who they are, thank you. I have made mistakes along the way
and I apologize if I offended anyone along the way. I do not intentionally try to hurt
people who have helped me.

But people who while on the one hand are preaching to us about how we got to save the
planet by sacrificing big now, by allowing the deserts to be paved over with windmills
and heliostat mirrors and gigantic transmission line towers, that’s another thing. They are
fair game to me.

Having recently exposed the hypocricy of the national headquarters of the Sierra Club, for
saying all along that distributed power wasn’t good enough to solve California’s energy
needs and that we must have concentrated solar power plants, and turning out that their
own rooftop was completely virginal, and totally solar panel free- they had the gall to rate
the nation’s green colleges for the New York Times Green Blog- a fact I pointed out to
the gray lady and that she published- now I discover that while I and other activist types
were out traipsing through the deserts or in the hearing rooms- Carl Zichella of the
Sierra Club leadership and Johanna Wald of the NRDC leadership were in a two day
seminar at Stanford University with BrightSource Energy and other renewable energy bigwhigs- discussing how they were going to implement large scale solar projects!
Even the morongobill in his wildest dreams, never suspected such perfidy. Perfidy, yes
even treason, treason in the sense of betrayal to the original goal, vision, and ideals
laid down by John Muir, god rest his soul, over a century ago. Of course, he has been
spinning in his grave for about 30 or 40 years now, starting when the leader of the
Sierra Club went along with the Glen Canyon dam and the spinning probably attained
warp speed when the priority became to massage the erroneous zones of the corporate
donors, to keep those big checks coming in. I, for one, would really love to shove
one of those big checks up the SC and NRDC leadership’s asses where the solar rays are not emitted or to hang them off one of those sterling engines where the
solar rays come to a point.

So all along, something never seemed right about those big environmental groups as
now constituted and I never sent them a penny. The smaller organizations have kept
fighting the good fight mostly, and hopefully have steered clear of the industrialists and
the polluters and their corporate enablers. At least the ones I follow have. Keep up the
fight, mount up men and ride to the sound of the guns!

It is starting to sink in that we may lose the Ivanpah and Imperial site battles. But at least
we in the grassroots know it wasn’t anything we did wrong. We are not the ones who
have been cutting the deals with big wind and big solar and big venture capital and
big government to allow the Mojave to be raped and pillaged, we didn’t manipulate the
process to exclude evidence or to try to silence criticism or testimony, it ain’t on us.

It’s all on the heads of folks like Carl Pope or Carl Zichella or Johanna Wald and others
of their ilk- odious names if I have ever heard of any, names that I hope will be answered
with curses generations into the future when people ask, what the hell were they thinking,
destroying this beautiful desert when they had all those roofs begging to covered in
solar panels right in their own backyard---

What should we call people that betray a movement’s ideals in such a fashion?

If I am wrong, tell me about it.


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