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Showing posts with the label NextEra

Investigation Sheds Light on Industry Influence over Desert Policy

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The Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Interior released a report this month confirming that a senior Obama administration official with cozy ties to the renewable energy industry pressured subordinates to ignore environmental concerns in favor of providing rubber-stamp approval to power plants.  The IG report focuses on the actions of Steve Black - who retired from Interior in 2013 and served as senior counselor to former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar  - because he dated a lobbyist for renewable energy company NextEra and also put his name forward to serve as CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), all while continuing to manage the approval of renewable energy projects on public lands.  At the very least, Mr. Black's actions constitute the appearance of impropriety that undermines our ability to trust Interior leadership to manage public lands based on sound science rather than special interests.

As senior counselor to the Secretary of Interior, Black ha…

Desert Solar Killing Water Birds

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Birds that are typically only found along rivers and at lakes are turning up dead at industrial-scale solar plants in the middle of the desert, according to KCET's ReWire, probably dying of thirst or collision with reflective solar panels.  The birds almost certainly are attracted to the facilities from far away because the field of reflective solar panels or troughs appear as a body of water. 

KCET's ReWire did some research and found that 37 dead or injured birds have been found at the newly-constructed Desert Sunlight (built by First Solar) and Genesis (built by NextEra) solar projects near Joshua Tree National Park.  More than half of the birds are water birds, possibly straying from their normal habitat at the Salton Sea or Colorado River dozens of miles away.  An endangered Yuma clapper rail was found at First Solar's Desert Sunlight solar project, which is at least 35 miles from the bird's nearest habitat.  It is not clear if more birds have already been killed…

Interior Approves More Desert Destruction; Ignores Sustainable Alternatives

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The Department of Interior yesterday announced final approval for three poorly sited renewable energy projects in America's southwestern deserts that will destroy and industrialize nearly 40 square miles of public lands -- an area larger than the island of Manhattan, and almost as much land area as the City of San Francisco.  None of this destruction is necessary since renewable energy can be more efficiently and more sustainably located in our cities or on already-disturbed lands.

As KCET reported, California has installed 1,500 megawatts of rooftop solar -- an energy output nearly equivalent to three Reid Gardner coal plants.  Elsewhere, solar companies are building hundreds of megawatts of solar on already-disturbed lands, such as agricultural fields.  Renewable energy offers us the alternative to preserve wildlands, but the Department of Interior ignored this alternative when it approved the following three projects:

Searchlight Wind
The Searchlight Wind project will be built …