The San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors slammed the brakes on big solar projects and highlighted a challenge California could face if it seeks to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
When we look at the hysteria to replace our current energy sources with renewable electricity from wind and solar, we’re reminded of the phrase from the 1967 Paul Newman film Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to communicate”.
Numerous Politicians and lawmakers are joining the hype and hysteria bandwagon intent on converting our fossil fuel and nuclear electricity generation to wind and solar renewables, but the local citizens are not buying into the conversion miasma without some clear explanations as to what, how and why.
San Bernardino locals are soundly voicing their objections to those land devouring renewable projects that are viewed as extremely wasteful uses of land resources, unsightly monstrosities that destroy vegetation, trees, and wildlife and many see as eyesores that destroy ecosystems and lead to higher electricity prices and lower property values for nearby residents, saying not-in-my-back-yard! So, with no places to locate the renewables farms, what’s next?
To compound this “failure to communicate” with the blue collars, California is already taking actions that may be irreversible! The State’s Congress has already passed legislation requiring 100% of its electricity to be generated from renewables by the year 2045. Thus, no electricity generated from Nuclear or Natural Gas in California by 2045. Dam the torpedoes, they say. Full speed ahead!
To meet this ill-fated target of 100% clean energy by 2045, growth in renewable electricity technology including advanced storage facilities will be required to be up and running on all cylinders by then in order to replace the electricity that is now generated by Nuclear and Natural Gas.
California is phasing out nuclear reactors to generate zero emission electricity. In 2013 California already shutdown the continuous nuclear facility of SCE’s San Onofre Generating Station which generated 2,200 megawatts of power and will be closing PG&E’s Diablo Canyon’s 2,160 megawatts of power in 2024 getting ready for the renewable replacements. Most recently Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti announced the forthcoming closures of three DWP natural gas-powered plants, located at El Segundo, Long Beach, and the Los Angeles Harbor, again getting ready for those renewables. If this wasn’t so scary, it would be laughable.
The powerful organizations like NIMBY – “Not-In-My-Back-Yard”, BANANA – “Build-Absolutely-Nothing-Anywhere-Near-Anything”, SOBBY – “Some-Other-Bugger’s-Back-Yard”, and NAMBI – “Not-Against-My-Business-or-Industry” that put up oppositions to proposed developments in their local area can easily initiate a herd of lawsuits to stop or delay projects for eternity and present significant infrastructure hurdles even for worthwhile projects while creating insurmountable hurdles for bogus projects as they rightfully target pork barrel projects from progressing.
To go along with all the hysteria to support renewables, astoundingly, with all the world’s efforts to protect life, wind farms are “legally” killing hundreds of thousands of top predator birds like eagles and hawks, and decimating bat populations every year. Without any regard for how this affects the ecosystems in their areas it’s appalling that society has given the wind farm industry a get-out-of-jail FREE card.
In 2017, the former President Obamas’ administration finalized a rule that lets wind-energy companies operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years — even if it means killing or injuring thousands of species protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Under the new rule, wind farms may acquire an eagle “take” permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that allows the site to participate in the nationwide killing of up to 4,200 bald eagles annually, under incidental “take” permits without compensatory mitigation. It’s shocking that wind farms can legally obtain permits from the USFWS to kill those majestic bald eagles. I cry foul! I wonder if the renewable industry is proud of those new jobs being created also include those that need to clean up the mess from those creatures chopped up by the wind generator blades and from those fried from the heat from the solar panels?
Our politicians may be oblivious to the governments’ acceptance of animal cruelty toward birds of prey, but the public is loudly rejecting this atrocity toward “taking”, which is a nice word for killing, bald eagles.
The inability of our politicians to communicate their grand plans, inclusive of the Green New Deal, and gain the buy-in from blue collars, before jumping off the cliff is a guaranteed primrose path to failure. The recent rejection of a one million acre solar farm in San Bernardino, California, along with similar expected actions from other local communities will most likely squelch the idea of a Green New Deal and a “super grid” from ever coming to fruition.
Now that politicians have set in motion actions to remove current and proven infrastructures for electricity generation without any places designated to put those new wind and solar farms, what’s next? The over reach of imminent domain is prohibited by our Constitution and that protection has recently been upheld by the Supreme Court. The citizenry of California is not bending over to allow these new energy policies to disrupt their lives and I applaud them.
Ronald Stein is the Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure at PTS Advance headquartered in Irvine, California and a researcher and commentator on climate, energy, environment and public policy.