We must sacrifice natural areas to save the environment. I have heard nothing about this until now. Seems like they have mirrors concentrating energy on a “Solex” (obscure 1970’s James Bond reference) Check this out from a paper in uber liberal LA Times:
Industrial-scale solar development is well under way in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. The federal government has furnished more public property to this cause than it has for oil and gas exploration in the past decade: 21 million acres, more than the area of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties put together.
If only a few of the proposed projects are built, hundreds of square miles of wild land will be scraped clear. Several thousand miles of power-transmission corridors will be created.
The desert will be scarred, and no amount of mitigation will repair it, according to scores of federal and state environmental reviews.
“The scale of impacts that we are facing, collectively across the desert, is phenomenal,” said Dennis Schramm, former superintendent at neighboring Mojave National Preserve. “The reality of the Ivanpah project is that what it will look like on the ground is worse than any of the analyses predicted.”
In the fight against climate change, the Mojave Desert is about to take one for the team.
The environmental cost
Larry LaPre, the Bureau of Land Management’s wildlife biologist for much of the Mojave, said some aspects of the project have been carefully considered and painstakingly done. Other approaches, however, are “complete nonsense,” among them BrightSource’s experimental approach of shearing the tops of desert plants so they fit under elevated solar mirrors. The company calls it “gentle mowing.”
“To get another barrel cactus, even a small one, takes 100 years,” he said, driving around the Ivanpah construction site. LaPre peered through the windshield and ticked off what living things might be left after the developers finish.
“The birds are already gone. They’re outta there,” he said. The site “will have plants, short plants, and it will have mice and kangaroo rats and some lizards. That’s it. Maybe some more common birds. The insects are an unknown, because you could have massive losses of pollinators because you have all these insects getting burned in the mirrors.”