"Useless Land"

I recently stumbled across a blog--which is an unabashed cheerleader for unimpeded solar energy development--that criticized opposition to BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, and labeled the Mojave Desert as "useless land" that was perfect for solar energy siting.  The blog obviously did not acknowledge the compromises that need to be made as we pursue renewable energy in California, let alone a basic understanding of the Mojave Desert environment.  Yes, some desert land will need to be developed with utility-scale solar.  But the Mojave is not devoid of life, and many Americans appreciate un-interrupted wilderness.  As for Ivanpah, science clearly shows that the site is significant for its unique desert tortoise population, and occurrences of rare desert plants.    While these counter-arguments are likely not news to regular readers of this blog, I had to overcome my initial shock and remind myself that the "useless land" argument is unfortunately one that can gain traction in much of the US, especially since solar energy's economic benefits are touted from Wall Street to the White House.


  1. I agree that the "useless land" argument might
    resonate if it is picked up by the policy makers pushing these projects- especially if it is parroted by all the talking heads allied with them.

    Those of us who love this Mojave desert and the Mojave National Preserve will just have to work that much harder to try to put our message out.

    That "useless land" argument can also work for us, especially if we have specific sites to offer up as alternatives.

    Thanks for your great work getting the word out with your site.

    Bill Mcdonald

  2. Thanks Bill -- you're right that there could be a more organized means of identifying the "useless" or disturbed land to energy companies...giving them some help avoiding some of the best swaths of the Mojave.

    And thanks for the work on your blog! I just realized it didnt show up in the "blogs I'm following" list so I just updated that.

  3. Anthony Dominguez Realtor land specialistSeptember 22, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Well I hope we can all realize that we need renewable energy, and we need to protect the wild life that exists, as well. lets set our minds for a mutual responce and meaningful collaborations.

    I have clients that are able and willing to to sell thier approved mitigation habitats to help if need be. Sincerely, Anthony Dominguez Realtor, 760-524-7913


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