Monday, July 11, 2011

Ivanpah SEGS explained over at Wired Magazine. My opinion of their story, to use their rating- “TIRED”

Surf right over to read the story here or head down to the
supermarket or book store, flip open the magazine to view p.32, and see the
same info in person.

Wired always uses “wired” and “tired” when they sum up new technology. You see in my post title what I feel about their summation here.

Now, remember that I am no expert, no environmental engineer, when you read the following; although some say I have a PHD, or an ability to pile it high and deep!

Here are the bones I have to pick with the Wired editors. Note that the magazine excerpts are in quotes and copyright 2011 by Wired.

“The massive Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California’s Mojave Desert will eventually generate 370 megawatts, a 60 percent increase in US solar-power capacity.”
If it reaches this figure, it will only be on a perfect sunny day, most experts feel it will generate at much lower numbers.

The computer-controlled sun trackers leave space underneath so plants can grow.”
Big deal, there won’t be any animals inside the fence, such as desert tortoises, etc plus how do you think a hundreds of years old yucca or creosote will do after such a traumatic event? We aren’t talking bermuda grass here. These ancient plants may not survive a

mowing like you will see in the above video.

Ivanpah’s power output is comparable to that of a small coal plant—but without the more than 640,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.”
Well right across the valley is a natural gas power plant which puts out more power on a footprint that is much smaller, and it doesn’t put out as much carbon(as a coal plant) either. And it also didn’t need a 1.6 billion dollar federal loan guarantee to get built either!

Now this statement by Wired, I agree with a 100%:

The federal government is loaning $1.6 billion to BrightSource for the relatively risky project—the tech is untested at this scale.”
Yes, the only ones dumb unlucky enough to be saddled with the costs of this boondoggle are the long suffering tax payers, everybody else ran for the hills when asked to contribute. There is a reason why Wall Street with all the billions of dollars at its’ disposal never funded this pipedream.

A couple of other minuses they mention about the native American sites and the loss of animal habitat, I am in agreement with.

One statement they make about the carbon sequestering of the desert being 106 grams per cubic meter, I have no way to verify. However, some scientific studies I have heard about say that the desert sequesters carbon at a rate similar to forests, so who do you believe?

Look this is a typical Wired approach to a complicated situation- a nice backdrop image with a few pluses and minuses, about equal in number, as they always want to be fair, as well as to appear on the cutting edge of geek technology- be wired, not tired- in other words.

Basically, it appears the editors surfed over to wikileaks oops, freudian slip there, I meant wikipedia, read a couple of articles and spent way more time with the graphics department making that cool rendering of the boondoggle solar plant.

But thank the Lord, at least they didn’t commission Alexis de la Madrigal of the
Atlantic to write another puff piece shilling for BrightSource/Bechtel, my thanks to the Wired editors for not consulting him for this- the article is too balanced to have been written by him, obviously.

And you guys thought I was losing it, eh?

I may have been fighting depression lately, but I haven’t lost the ability to know a shill when I see one.

A suggestion for the editors of Wired. Why don’t you hire one of several great environmental writers available to write a detailed story about the struggle for and against this Ivanpah SEGS, a fair and balanced report if you will. I have a feeling that quite a few of your young readership might have an interest in the story. Who knows, it might even get a few environmentalists to subscribe to your magazine.

Just something to think about.

How about you, my dear readers and followers- what are your thoughts on the Wired article and how it was presented. Anything you feel is missing that shouldn’t be?

Enquiring lurkers here would sure like to see what’s on your mind. Feel free to comment at will!



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