The productive meeting with BLM, which took place in Reno, represents potential reprieve for the beleaguered valley in the northeastern Mojave Desert as a coalition of smaller groups and concerned citizens speak up for a smarter renewable energy policy that does not involve sacrificing desert wildlands. National environmental groups have not yet spoken up about the two additional solar projects proposed for the Ivanpah Valley--First Solar's Stateline and Silver State facilities--although a Sierra Club representative previously expressed concern to me regarding the potential impacts on rare plants and wildlife.
Construction is already underway for BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS), which will destroy 5.6 square miles of the valley and has already displaced over 125 desert tortoises. The sad scale of destruction can be viewed at the Ivanpah website. An aerial photo of the project taken in March depicts only a third of the planned destruction.
|An aerial photo by Erin Whitfield shows an early stage of construction for the ISEGS project. The bulldozing has already begun on the third block of the facility closer to the mountains in the background.|