Monday, April 26, 2010

Desert tortoise conflicts with solar

One of the issues surrounding the emerging solar industry in California is the concern that the operations could sometimes conflict with endangered species.

That's apparently at the crux of a debate of sorts in the wilds of northwest San Bernardino County, where a proposal solar array has run afoul of desert tortoise habitat on federal land.

BrightSource Energy Co. wants to install thousands of mirrors to create steam to drive turbines that in turn would generate clean energy for about 140,000 homes, according to this Riverside Press-Enterprise story.

However, the Sierra Club has suggested a revising the project to protect the tortoises. The environmental group says building the development closer to Interstate 15 would protect wildlife.

Federal officials must approve the proposal because it is on land leased from he Bureau of Land Management, according to this earlier New York Times article. Tthe issue is one the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization will track because solar is increasingly popular in the inland Central Valley, where vacant land is in ample supply and power bills are high.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.

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