California Desert Plans

Good news from California. AP reports that they have designated 2 million desert acres as appropriate sites for renewable energy projects. Thanks again to Chris Nelder for the link.

That’s 2 million acres out of a total of 22.5 million, or less than 10 percent. There is plenty of desert left for endangered turtles.

I also learned that Google and other operators of the newly opened Ivanpah thermal solar project had a $20 million budget to collect these turtles and locate them elsewhere.

Of course it makes sense to locate renewable energy projects in areas of the desert where there are less turtles in the first place. If they are an endangered species, one would expect them not to show up all over the desert area, leaving some areas more suitable for renewable energy projects than others. And it makes sense to identify those areas, so the developers can save the cost of relocation.

Of course there will be some conservationists who insist that not one acre of desert may be used for renewable energy. They are misguided. Ivanpah will contribute around 1 TWh of clean energy each year, displacing fossil fuel and saving 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions. That is an important contribution to fight global warming, which will lead to massive species extinction on a global scale.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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