Monday, October 31, 2011

Chris over at Coyote Crossing has a graphic up that you can’t miss if you care about the deserts.

I won’t spill the beans, you must surf over right away for a graphic which exactly
hits the desert solar issue nail right on the head.

http://faultline.org/site/item/solar_for_the_99_percent/

I wish I had thought of this!

Morongobill

Saturday, October 29, 2011

From the San Jose Mercury News: “Huge solar power plants are blooming in California’s southern deserts.”

Read the article but stay on this page or return for the commentary.

My first thought upon seeing the title was that it was an unfortunate choice of
words, using blooming which suggests those lovely desert flower displays that
appear so fleetingly after the rains, to describe the proliferation of these absolutely humongous power “plants” which like another pest that I am familiar with, kudzu, are taking over the once pristine Mojave Desert.

If I were to have written the article perhaps I might have used blooming in the sense that they bloom like the corpse flower  with a long lasting rotten dead meat smell that would make a buzzard hurl upon smelling it, said smell so ripe
and overwhelming that no one or no thing could stand to be around them, which is the literal truth when you consider the great lengths the energy promoters go to in scraping the earth bare, packing it down with herbicides, etc, building out their monstrous gadgets, then fencing it all in, after disposing of the plants and animals within, in a manner so state of the art that Homeland Security is green with envy.
ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 29 11.59

Here is a photo from the slide show accompanying the article that I have a bone to pick with. The average person reading this would probably think “kudos to BrightSource Energy for using low impact methods combined with mowing the vegetation so that this new solar energy generating plant can co-exist with all of nature’s creatures.” Right? Well they are wrong.

In fact, nothing can be further from the truth. BrightSource has spent millions, as mentioned in the article, to locate all the desert tortoises, and move them to other areas ultimately, and will also purchase land elsewhere to “mitigate” the damage caused by their power plant, taking them from one of the finest tortoise habitats available in the whole desert. By the way, did you hear that one area that they propose to buy for mitigation, is higher up in altitude and that there are hardly any there? Perhaps they think that as the climate heats up, the tortoises will pack up their belongings and march right up there- I swear you can’t make this stuff up folks.

So let me make sure that I get this- the B.S.’er’s are fencing in the whole site with state of the art materials to keep all the animals out and they are only mowing etc on the inside- if it’s that easy on the local environment, then why get rid of all the animals in the first place, why not let them co-exist with this
benign, green, power plant?

In case you haven’t seen it, here is a video which shows a B.S./Bechtel worker
mowing transplanting a hundreds of years old yucca which the company promised to keep safe, per their own documents filed with the CEC. Does this look like the way to transplant something?

Warning extreme violence in this video!

There are some good quotes in the article from folks who have been involved in
fight to save the deserts from the get go, and there is a perspective from one of the workers, who says he is making 35 bucks an hour, which illustrates a point that I have made many times here at this little blog, the bottom line for folks is money and J-O-B-S and not saving the desert, I know this to be true and it hurts me to know that hardly anyone except for a few activists and fellow desert lovers give a damn about saving the deserts, and it has been my contention all along that efforts designed to save the deserts better show the average person who gets all their news from Rush and Fox News, how an alternative would offer up plenty of local and high paying J-O-B-S, and then maybe some traction could be gained to try to stop the runaway freight train that is renewable energy development from totally trashing our deserts---

I guess that I had better stop now before I go on and start trashing the “so called environmental groups” charged with saving wilderness, who in fact are in bed with the other side, aiding and abetting those who wish to carpet bomb the deserts with turbines and windmills, all because of their carbonmentalist
beliefs that the only way to stop global warming and climate change is to sacrifice wilderness, and the desert will be the sacrificial lamb, by building all these plants, while at the same time, still allowing the gross polluters to keep on keeping on, doing what they do best, spewing ton after ton of carbon into the atmosphere, with hardly a wrist slap, said groups taking big fat corporate donations all the while from the polluters; I had better stop now, before I get accused of peddling smut, it sounds so damned indecent, but it is all true, in
my opinion.

Read it and weep, if you give a damn.

Morongobill

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another useless post(trying to keep it real)

Same old subject(problem) for the umpteenth time.

Writer’s block issues brought on primarily by the requirement to make a living,
or balancing blogging for free with the need to keep living in southern California, as in having a roof over my head instead of becoming one of the many mobile homeless you see here in my area.

Last week I worked 60 hours in 5 days and this week about 50-54 hours in the same amount of time, half of which I was handling luggage. The problem is
the hours change daily, for example, putting in a 15 hour shift ending around
2 in the morning and then coming back in 8 hours to do 12 more. It doesn’t leave much time and you end up spending your whole 1st day off resting.

In my case, on the 2nd day off I like to go drive somewhere and of course that means no blogging because the next day I may be getting up at 4 in the morning to do an airport run and I won’t feel like staying up late to write.

That is why I haven’t been doing much with these pages or anything else in my personal life for that matter- pardon my vernacular here, but sometimes I feel
that I have barely enough time to wipe my arse- sorry I couldn’t resist that pun.

Another thing is that I have become pretty lazy when I am not working at my day job, I really feel just like reading other bloggers work, let them do the work, and enjoy their writing.

I have spent hours today trying to make programs work which will strip the audio from Youtube music videos and save it as mp3 files and finally thanks to Free Audio Converter I have successfully did the conversion to the new mp4a
standard and sent them to my iTunes library and now am listening to them- see
more wasted time, not spent writing here.

To the other bloggers and websites that carry the feed to this blog, thanks for
letting my link hang out on your page, but you might want to cut me off, I can’t
guarantee any future posting of any serious nature; hell, I can’t believe I ever wrote as many posts as I did, considering how the touch seems to have deserted me now. Thanks again for the time you so graciously offered, one and all.

No promises but I do hope to post again soon.

Morongobill

LiveJournal Tags:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Want to be as important as the eggheads are at the Fish and Wildlife Service? Read here for secret information once known only by their PHD’s!

You know it never ceases to amaze me how adroit and masterful the folks over
at the Fish and Wildlife Service are at manipulating the laws and regulations to the intended effect of allowing renewable energy development on our public lands.

I have discovered their secret and now you are going to be allowed in on it. Now you will be able to do the same thing, that is if you don’t have a problem
with permitting pristine desert wilderness to be bladed over to allow for solar panels and wind turbines to be put up in its’ place.

Now from a mailing list, here is their top secret that no one else has heard of until now:

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 06 13.29

Maybe the Morongobill should sign up for those online PHD programs, I am sure they offer one for someone who wants to pile it high and deep.

Morongobill

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A quick desert trip and thoughts on a Highland Falls Solar Farm in Desert Hot Springs.

Woke up this morning feeling adventurous so jumped into the morongomobile
and drove up to Joshua Tree to pay my monthly storage bill. Of course, the place was closed. So I stuck the check through the door slot and decided to
see if I could find the Landers landfill to determine their hours of operation and what they would take and for how much money.

Here is why I want to clear out some of this junk in the storage.
092611yvjt 004

Could you find anything in that junk pile?

I did find the Landers landfill site and it was closed on Sunday as well.
100211jtyv 002

But at least now I know all the details.

While in Yucca Valley I came across this Jaguar for sale, 1990 XJS with the
v12 engine. According to a friend this is a smooth powerful engine, I can only add that I have heard that it will pass everything but the gas station!
100211jtyv 005

And another shot.
100211jtyv 010

I wonder how this fine automobile would do on the dirt roads in the Mojave
National Preserve? Just kidding folks, I would never mistreat a fine automobile
like this one in that way.

No the MNP calls for something like this.
image

That’s what I did today, drove 250 miles, back here by 1215, averaged 29.8
miles per gallon on my big boat, a 2002 Chrysler Concorde with a 3.5 liter v6,
and no working air conditioning, no photos of any consequence taken, but one
insight gained regarding renewable energy development in the Coachella Valley area.

It occurred to me that the now defunct Highland Falls development in Desert Hot Springs which is now a gigantic eye sore eroding away in the land above
Hwy 62 and Pierson, and close to the site of the legendary “Devil’s Garden” which was plucked out cactus by cactus at the beginning of the 20th century,
an action that motivated Minerva Hoyt into conservation efforts leading ultimately to the creation of the then Joshua Tree National Monument; this now
bladed and graded giant patch of land which will never recover in a hundred of
lifetimes to its’ former status, might best be used as a site for a solar farm.
image

I have driven by this area hundreds of times since the year 2000. It always
disturbs me seeing it there in the distance, stripped of plant cover, just dirt
eroding and blowing away, degraded land, close in to the end users and
consumers of the power, and close to transmission lines already in; remember
there are thousands of wind turbines in the area.

It is my understanding that water issues suspended the development that was to go on here- about a thousand homes and a golf course or two- I say instead
of letting the land go to waste, why not put a solar farm right here instead of say out at stateline, next to Ivanpah SEGS?

Here is an email I received not long ago, I have only edited out the name. I was
not the recipient, but the sender sent a copy to me thinking I might know what
was going on with the development.

Hello,
I found this article and had a few questions about it.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/media-archive/Developers%20dirt%20moving%20challenged.pdf
I live in the unincorporated area adjacent to this development. It is
a terrible waste of land at present, huge holes, no vegetation, poor
drainage in the surrounding areas, and an eyesore. I know the date on
that article is several years old. The last paragraph mentions a
possible lawsuit by your  group. I was wondering if anyone there knows
what happened with the whole situation. The fencing permit and flood
wash permit are of particular interest to me. The fence is pointless
and there are severe drainage issues in my area, likely due to the
fence.
I would like to get rid of this eyesore, but don't know how to go
about it. From what I can find on the internet, this development is
permanently on hold. The owner is attempting to sell it, but cannot
due to a water access issue. This issue seems unlikely to resolve
itself, leaving me and everyone else in my area with this permanent
scar on the land. There also seemed to be some talk of an endangered
species, the palm springs pocket mouse.
I'm not sure what can be done, but your group is the only one I've
found on the internet that seemed to care. Any pointers in the right
direction would be appreciated.
Thank you,

Here is my response:

On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 11:11 AM,  <morongobill@gmail.com> wrote:
> Good morning,
>
> Thanks for viewing my blog and for the email.
>
> I echo your sentiments and it sure is an eyesore, and a possible scenario to
> be played out possibly
> on federal managed lands as these solar and wind projects go into high gear
> in these very troubled economic
> times we live in, as evidenced by Solyndra going out of business after
> raking a half billion federal stimulus
> dollars.As I posted, square miles of desert wilderness could be scraped
> bare, as next door to you, and the
> money might run out or another problem might pop up and kill the deal- as
> with Schellenberger's project-
> my understanding from contacting another local blogger in your area , was
> that the lack of water or being able
> to hook up to it, killed the Highlands project.
>
> One thought that did cross my mind was that a solar or wind developer might
> buy the land and try to get it rezoned for
> renewable energy. I know that off Indian down the road from you and close to
> Hwy 62, a photovoltaic solar field is being
> constructed- I actually posted about- here is the link:
> http://morongobillsbackporch.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-solar-going-up-next-door-to-wind.html
>
> It is a large site and could be easily regraded to the right slope for solar
> and wind, with the continued deterioration of the
> housing market, something may be in the works already, who knows?
>
> There really wasn't much you or your neighbors could do about the original
> project, I believe it was on private land, and
> I am not sure who you could call for help. I got a feeling that there won't
> be too much help coming from city hall.
>
> If you like I could write a followup post on this, I would like to use your
> email but would of course not mention your name,
> but only if you will permit it.
>
> I am sorry that I can't be of more help right now, I hope to come back up
> and walk over the area myself, all I could see wash the damage caused by the
> desert
> wash going through the project, photo's would really portray the
> environmental damage, close to the area once known as the "devil's garden."
>
> Bill Mcdonald


The reply from the person who emailed me:

Thank you for the reply. Sure you can use my email. I've also
forwarded you an email to a preservation group I found on the
internet. I'm waiting for a response. It contains a bit more
information I found while searching the other night.
It seems unlikely this thing will fix itself, but I wonder if forcing
someone to do something may end up worse than what I have now. I don't
think I'd like that development to turn into a solar cell area, and we
certainly don't need any more windmills.

As you can see, we have come to different conclusions regarding the
Highland Falls project area. The person who emailed me would not like it to turn into a solar or wind site, and I respect that opinion.

Having driven up to the entrance of the development and walking some of the
perimeter, there is so much land, almost beyond comprehension, and it lies uphill from the homes below- I wonder if the panels would even be seen by the folks in the houses below. If the solar farm was built, of course there would be construction traffic for a few months but later it would only be a few workers coming and going, a lot less traffic than if a thousand homes were built there.

I am not so sure that putting a solar farm there might not do more to preserve the rural atmosphere there, than if the development had continued as originally planned.
image

Above is the view looking up the street, notice the rural nature of this street, how much busier would it be if hundreds
of homes were built above it. Which would change the rural area most- putting in golf courses and hundreds of homes, or
putting in solar panels on the scraped ground that would not be viewed from these houses?

But it is a local matter, on local private land, with problems and concerns that
should be dealt with on a local level, rather than being shoved down people’s
throats as in Ivanpah.

For me, I think it has potential, but I don’t live there and have no “skin in the game” as some might say. Anyway, it is something to think about- the potential
Highland Falls Solar Farm in Desert Hot Springs.

Morongobill

A late thought. In my original piece I showed erosion photos and talked about
the wash which I observed. Recent events at the Ivanpah SEGS construction site showed how a severe desert rain storm can wreck major havoc upon a
construction site. Comprehensive planning would have to be done for a hundred year storm event, etc and measures taken to prevent that from
happening at this site.
ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 02 20.46

The above photo shows a closeup of the wash I wrote about in the post linked to about this site. The black line broken
on the left side of the wash is the tall block wall that I wrote of. As you can see, planning will need to be done on how best
to handle flow of water through the area after a desert rain.

Morongobill