Monday, February 14, 2011

This photo shows how large the Bechtel portion of the Ivanpah SEGS is. Plus thoughts about the future of Ivanpah, and an offer for Bechtel/BrightSource.

This photograph was taken at the Nipton Road offramp of I-15 before it hits the
Cal-Nev state line. I have cropped the photo to reduce the file size and to draw your eyes to the construction area.
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Note that this is a small picture, the original is available here for your perusal.

This blogger has personally walked from one end of the metamorphic hill(that’s the small mountains on the right side starting above the semi and flowing to the right edge of the
photo) to the other, as well as having walked around the perimeter of the whole formation and across the top and along the ridge in places, I believe that I can say with authority that that the construction area, the white band going across the middle of the photo above the freewayand ending near the metamorphic hill is huge. There is no other way to describe it.

Please note that the metamorphic hills are also huge and that this photo was taken from a
vantage point some miles away, I tell you this, so that you aren’t fooled by the size of the
photo itself.

When I took off from the offramp heading back to Jean, Nevada to the Goldstrike Hotel and
Casino, where I am firmly ensconced for one more night, I started clocking the mileage
when the I reached the far left edge of the construction, it is about a mile wide.

And the work is only in the beginning phase.

You ain’t seen nothing yet, just wait until this project is fully built out- you won’t even recognize the area.

But I have seen enough to formulate an opinion about the effects of this construction upon the animal and plant life of this end of the Ivanpah Valley.

They are doomed, I don’t care what siren song is sung about the virtues of mitigation, stick a fork in them, they are done. Just from this project and not
even counting the others about to come down the pike.

Go back up and look at that photo again.

Did you notice how neatly the area above the freeway has been cut in half? Now picture in
your mind’s eye, to the right of that area, over a hundred thousand big mirrors mounted on top of tall poles pile driven into the alluvial flood plain soils, hovering over formerly lush vegetation which has been mowed to a foot or so high, all animals removed and fenced out,
and contrary to the promoter’s promises to the contrary, now home to the ravens, public enemy number one to the endangered desert tortoises which will have been translocated to
the area above the construction area and future site area, and  home to many tortoises already. Who knows what the mortality rate will be, but I can tell you this, the Mojave National Preserve is already being tortoise fenced off in places to keep possible diseased non-resident tortoises from entering.
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You see that orange fencing material? This photo was taken today right near the park
entrance off Ivanpah Road at a brand new building that has gone up by the road, I noticed
what appeared to be pens of some sort in the yard- but I have no firm information on the
purpose of this building, here is a photo, perhaps an astute reader might know what this
building is for.
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There are so many projects planned for this end of the Ivanpah Valley that you can’t even keep track of them all. But I have seen enough to figure out that things don’t look good
for Ivanpah. Note in this photo from my (spy) excursion yesterday, do you think this desert
area will ever recover? Honestly.
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I don’t think it will, and remember this is just a small portion of Bechtel’s area set aside
for their use in the construction of the solar plant.

Here is another example of what a desert solar farm looks like and how it affects the land.
This photo was taken by me yesterday in Daggett, at the site of a now decommissioned solar
facility, which may have been built by LUZ, the company that BrightSource Energy morphed
from into its’ current state.
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Notice how clean and flat the dirt is and how packed down it is? If this solar farm was still in operation for solar,
there wouldn’t even be one leaf of grass anywhere under those mirrors. In all fairness, BrightSource now says
most of the vegetation will stay at Ivanpah but must be mowed to a low height, the jury is out on how well the
creosote and other plants will respond to this. But since there won’t be any desert tortoises around, it won’t matter
if they don’t flower, I guess.
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This just occurred to me. I have been told by some that maybe I am being a little tough on BrightSource/Bechtel regarding this project, that maybe my love for this landscape and area are blinding me to the obvious need for this project.

Okay, here’s the deal. I know for an undisputed fact that I get regular visits to my site from Bechtel, from 2 or 3 locations, including their headquarters. I have also been visited in the past by BrightSource at this site.

Invite me to visit your construction area shown in these photos. Give me the nickel tour. I am off sundays and mondays. I can drive up, no problem. Show me around, let me
take some photos, and I will even offer you space on this blog to put your side forward. No promises though, from either side
expected to be given or received.

This little blog doesn’t get a lot of readers, but it does have some influential readers. Again, I know this for a fact by looking at my visitor logs.

I know that I have been a harsh critic of these projects, and to be fair to the other side, I make the above offer.

Folks, if you have something to offer, maybe I have missed something, or glossed over a point that you feel is important, feel free to either email me or make a comment to the post.

Remember, the only dumb comment is the one you didn’t make when you felt like it
needed to be said.

I welcome your input.

Morongobill, from the Goldstrike Hotel and Casino in beautiful Jean, Nevada.

 

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