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Interior secretary says land can generate 100,000 megawatts

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Kirk Strobel

Great. One more reason to lock up public land from the public.

Ken Saladczar

There goes the viewshed. Out with the carbon in with the looking at acres and acres of solar panels on these lands that the granola crowd holds so dear. Pick your poison.

Exciting progress


areas under evaluation could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.

Wow, now were talkin!

(Kirk, did you read the article? These lands will be opened up for commercial solar development.)

Why all the focus on solar?

What good is solar power generation when half of a given 24 hour period it produces no power? Are we going to become a 3rd World country where there is mandatory or rolling blackouts at night because solar power only works in the day time? Same thing with wind power. What happens when the wind doesn't blow that day?

Thinkin' Man

Covering these valleys with cadmium-laced PV cells can't be good for the resident animals. It will be telling whether environmental impact statements are done and whether environmentalists give these projects a free pass.

At least oil and gas can be safely produced in a farm, orchard, vineyard, or wildlife refuge as is has been done in California and the Gulf Coast for decades. Try that with solar panels, or try windmills in a bird refuge!

Kevin Greene

Kirk - please get a clue. Every gigawatt we produce from our own land, mobilizing the sunlight that falls there every day, is energy we don't have to burn fossil fuels to produce.
This is a fine reversal from one more corrupt action, late in the game, by Team Bush: a 2008 move to lock up virtually all the BLM lands and delay solar-energy development, by pretending that long environmental reviews were needed. This, from the Administration which had such a dismal record on the environment, just about the same credibility as Iran has in running elections.
Now, the solar energy industry needs to get busy and build those plants.
That's better for all of us.
Especially those who live in the Great Basin states.

Robert

This is a bit two-faced of our Interior Secratary. First he cancels the legal bids of several tracts of land several miles away from any national park for oil and gas exploration and production. Now he wants to lock up land to put solar pannels which are equally damaging to the land not to mention the harmful chemicals required to produce solar cells. Like a previous comment noted, "pick your poision".

Casey McCarthy

Kevin-

You need to let go of your obviously inbred hatred of all things Bush and live in the here and now. The points concerning environmental impact are valid and need to be discussed. The cost associated with the manufacture, capture and delivery of large scale solar farms and their overall impact on the environment needs to be compared to today's current methods for oil and coal recovery and production. Want to be fair and honest? Look at the whole picture and stop the bashing.

Dell

I'm for solar and wind, but the article is misleading. It only talks about capacity, not actual production which is about 1/3 or less of capacity.

Any companies that build solar also get at least 40% of the project paid for by taxpayers in the form of direct subsidies and tax breaks. Probably will get land lease discounts as well.

Drinkin' Man

On the subject of living with oil wells.
Ever been to that oil-slick of beach at Corpus Christi? Would you like some Alaskan crab from the Valdez spill? Yummy!
You've never been to the Persian Gulf I'm sure. I have. The water pollution from oil production is staggering. A sheen of oil covers the surface of the water in every bay I saw.
Truth is the biggest threat to this country is the billions of $ flowing to Saudi Arabia to fund our oil habit. Can't eliminate it. But this is a good start. Who are these people getting all weepy over some scrub brush in Nevada? The best use for that desert wasteland is solar farms. Bummed about losing your "view"? Jeez, we're talking solar power here. Zero pollution while in operation. No toxic fumes, no cancerous effects, doesn't even kill salmon! We must have power. If we lose a bunch of useless desert, no worries. Oh, the plants do not work 24/7? Hey chief, it's called scheduled maintenance, at nighttime! And the payback is, we get the oil monkey off our backs!!

ClWelker

Kevin: The Cadmium/Tellurium issue is not an environmental impact if you recycle the panels at the end of their useful life. The heavy meatl risk is in the recycling, not in the use.Its is also an essential heavy metal in the PC you are using right now.

basinboy56

Thinkin' Man: You nailed it. There is bound to be some wacko fringe enviromental group, if not some of the more well-known domestic terrorist enviro groups, that will find a way to stop these projects because they will adversely impact some plant, bird or animal that no one has ever heard of.

Great!

We should all be for new sources of domestic energy!

Now, if we can just get these idiots to stop talking about taking away our current sources, we'd be golden!

Captn Kirk

I think they are talking about ACTIVE SOLAR (mirrors heating water to drive steam generators). And to those who think that solar energy is 12 hour a day thing, think again... ever hear of energy storage? Pump water up the hill during the day, and generate electricity at night by running it down hill through turbines. Hellloooo

Utahn

Kevin,
I think you were missing the point of other posters. Every time we want to turn even a shovelfull of dirt and impact statement must be done. Environmentalist always decry the development of our wilderness. This will be developing our wilderness and it will be interesting to see if the Sierra Club and other groups sue to stop this project the same way they would if this was an oil or gas drill. I doubt they will since it is all political anyways and all about the all mighty dollar.

Kaparowitz Lockdown

All of these touchy-feely projects are show ponies and not practical. The percentage of power generated per acre of land is a fraction of what we need. It's outrageous that in the era of clean coal technology, the U.S. has enough domestic low-sulphur, high-btu coal just locked away in Southern utah to fuel most U.S. domestic power plants for 200 years. But enviro wackos have succeeded in scaring everyone that coal is "dirty." Just on the Kaiparowitz alone, there is a coal deposit that is 25 feet thick, 20 miles wide, and 40 miles long, of high BTU, low-sulphur coal, and it could be mined with minimal impact to the landscape -- visible only at the "portals."

utahenergyideas

We need clean energy, clean air, clean water, clean land and energy independence. We also need to encourage energy efficiency and technologies such as ground source heat pumps.

We may not agree with each other re: CO2 cap/trade, taxes, or our effects on climate.

We do need more renewable energy. Coal is reportedly being removed fast enough in Utah that it could last only 15 to 45 years for use in Utah at current rates.

We will need more electricity to offset a reduction in the use of foreign oil, and we can't afford to just rely on coal.

Do we have existing dams that we could add hydro power to, without putting more land underwater, hurting our rivers and/or wildlife?

It has been pointed out that renewable energy will help the state's economy in places that coal, or gas won't. Renewable energy being added to the mix will increase the life of the Utah coal economy.

Having goals to rely on renewable energy and energy savings to make up the increased demand on power is good.

Anonymous

Fantastic!
Solar Power not Spent Rods

GOOOOOBama!!!

Joseph Atwater

Wake up America...GOOGLE.....Stirling Engine + SunPower!
250,000Homes in Southern Calif powerd 24hrs a day on the 40Acre Solar Grid in Death Valley

Solar for AMERICA

Oil for War Mungers
Free solar for Freedom


Skeptical

Renewable energy is great, in theory.

However, delivering it at affordable (not competitive, just affordable) rates without massive government subsidies and tax exemptions and the like is impossible.

Maybe we could buy wind/solar power from Utah Power at some price, perhaps even near what traditional sources cost. And then pay an extra $5,000 a year so the government can subsidize the renewables? Not a very good idea in my book.

While renewables do eliminate the wealth transfer to Saudis for oil, we will still need many new power plants to have the capacity to deliver power at time when wind/solar sources are unable to produce. The "storable" concept mentioned above is just not close to being cost effective, although theoretically it can provide some energy.

If we really need power, just quit selling the coal produced power from the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta to California. They don't like nasty coal stuff anyway, so let them put windmills on their hilltops and cover their mountains with solar panels.

Every enviornmentalist should be forced to use the renewable stuff and pay the actual cost, since they like it so much.

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