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Freeze On US Solar Plant Applications Lifted

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the it-would-have-melted-eventually dept.

Power 282

necro81 writes "Barely a month ago, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a freeze on applications for solar power plants on federally managed land, pending a two-year comprehensive environmental review. After much hue and cry from the public, industry, and other parts of government, BLM has today announced that it will lift the freeze, but continue to study the possible environmental effects. To date, no solar project has yet been approved on BLM land."

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282 comments

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Frozen? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24048675)

Because Big Oil doesn't like Big Sun.

Re:Frozen? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24048825)

so Big Oil is like Linux right?

>:)

Re:Frozen? (0, Flamebait)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049143)

Because Big Oil doesn't like Big Sun.

Hippies with money don't care about the poor trying to get by with high heating oil/energy costs.

They only care about some rare breed of bird that's almost extinct since it likes to eat plastic bags.

I find the lack of humanity in PETA and other hippie groups appalling.

Re:Frozen? (3, Interesting)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049233)

So your complaint is that environmentalists care about the environment, not people? I have a similar complaint about humanitarians. They don't care about the environment.

Re:Frozen? (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049389)

Hippies with money don't care about the poor trying to get by with high heating oil/energy costs.

"Hippies with money" is an oxymoron. PETA isn't hippies, it's yuppies. Upwardly mobile professionals with too much money and not enough compassion.

Re:Frozen? (1, Offtopic)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049535)

There are many lame things about PETA. But what exactly about them shows a "lack of compassion"? Because they'd ban animal testing? That's not a choice I'd agree with, but it has legitimate moral arguments.

Demonizing people you disagree with is so 90s!

Re:Frozen? (5, Insightful)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049835)

But what exactly about them shows a "lack of compassion"? Because they'd ban animal testing? That's not a choice I'd agree with, but it has legitimate moral arguments.

How about assaulting people over their choice of clothing? Controlling something through fear... oh yeah, it's a terrorist organization. Wow... compassion what?

Re:Frozen? (0, Offtopic)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049937)

I believe the interview where PETA's president equated the life of a child as no better than the life of any animal was when the idea of lacking 'compassion' sunk in. Quotes like:

"The smallest form of life, even an ant or a clam, is equal to a human being." - Ingrid Newkirk

"After a speech on animal rights in 1989, an audience member asked Regan, "If you were aboard a lifeboat with a baby and a dog, and the boat capsized, would you rescue the baby or the dog?" Regan responded, "(If) it were a retarded baby, and a bright dog, I'd save the dog."

(citations upon request, but I'm sure there's even more - they have a pretty harsh history of saying similar things in an endless grab for camera-time.)

/P

Re:Frozen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049673)

and even less clothes!

seriously though, models will get naked if people are cruel to animals?

I'm in Canada, pass me the club!

Re:Frozen? (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049795)

"Hippies with money" is an oxymoron.

Really? I'm pretty sure I went to college with a number of Hippies with HUGE trust funds.

Re:Frozen? (0, Offtopic)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049491)

Hippies with money don't care about the poor trying to get by with high heating oil/energy costs.

You know, we've had 7.5 years with a president who is all about oil and couldn't care less about the environment, and tell me, what exactly has happened to oil prices in those 7.5 years? Oh yeah, they've shot through the roof. And when the Hippie with Money (tm) was president in the 90's, what happened to oil prices then? Oh yeah, they were extraordinarily low. When I got my first car about 12 years ago, I was paying less than $1 for a gallon of gas. Now I'm paying $4.20/ga. The Republicans can act like they're good for the economy, but they're full of crap.

Re:Frozen? (0, Offtopic)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049659)

PETA

This is why they invented -1 Off Topic. Somehow you managed to twist a land resource management issue into a PETA issue. My guess is that the PETA people and the solar people overlap quite a bit, probably because both issues involve populations who attempt to act as responsible custodians of the planet. I'm sure you somehow have a beef against solar energy because it is "hippie", or because Rush says its bad, or you associate it with gay marriage or as an unamerican affront to US's holy wars in the middle east. Whatever the case may be, I hope you hear my laugh the next time you complain that it cost $120 to fill your suburban. Guess what, I saw the oil crunch coming many years ago and my lifestyle reflects that foresight. Gas could go to $120/gal before it starts to even register in my radar. Think about that next time you mix issues and complain about hippies: I'll be able to afford steak when the price of gas goes to $20/gal and you are going to have to sell your truck and move out of the suburbs. Ha!

Re:Frozen? (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049861)

I'm pretty sure my families selfmade multimillion dollar empire will be fine.

Thanks for worrying though.

Re:Frozen? (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049977)

multimillion dollar empire

If you are calling a few million dollars an "empire", you are stuck in the 50's.

Government listening to the people?? (4, Funny)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048685)

My god, what next!? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Yes, it's from ... Ghostbusters!

no i was wrong :( (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048701)

Never mind I was wrong. It was government listening to the solar lobby! Move along, nothing to see here.

Re:no i was wrong :( (2, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048885)

It was government listening to the solar lobby

Pretty much. What's stopping the solar lobby from buying their own damn land and building whatever they want there (other than the obvious promise of cheap/free government land)?

Re:no i was wrong :( (3, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049411)

Nothing, but just as with the oil and gas companies, it is much less expensive to lease land from the BLM. Also, you can get a lease on a vast expanse of land which you might not be able to buy contiguously through other channels.

Re:Government listening to the people?? (3, Informative)

Marc Desrochers (606563) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049759)

Applications were unfrozen. This doesn't mean anything more that shutting up all those who complained. Apply all you want, doesn't mean your application is going anywhere.

Continue Building! (4, Insightful)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048689)

We'll just figure out what the effects are after we're hooked up to your juice.

Re:Continue Building! (2, Funny)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049667)

Indeed. And what about the prospect of offshore drilling for solar power? How many seagulls and fish will it displace or kill? I know it's next on the BU$H Agenda, don't try to pretend otherwise!

Re:Continue Building! (1)

znu (31198) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049811)

The environmental impact of large-scale solar deployment is almost certainly less than that of most conventional power generation mechanisms. So continuing on the way we're going while we wait for some long study of the impact of solar doesn't seem very clever. In fact, it insisting that we wait on such studies seems like a pretty transparent ploy to protect existing power generation industry from the market forces that might otherwise undermine it.

More proof of global warming (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24048757)

Some are even predicting U.S. solar plant applications could be ice free by as early as this summer.

Don't review it! (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048765)

Solar power sounds great and is very trendy. Why evaluate the possible consequences for our actions when we can plow ahead blindly? Going ahead with energy policy without considering the environmental effects has worked well for us so far!

Besides, being in favor of solar power helps you score with hippie chicks.

Re:Don't review it! (5, Funny)

StaticEngine (135635) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048965)

I'm not sure if you're aware, but hippie chicks are a pain in the ass. They don't shave their body hair, they're overly concerned with what direction they're facing when making out so they can "harness the natural energy of Gaia", and they think all technology pollutes their auras.

What you want is to score with a hot female electrical engineer, because there's usually a hellion lurking beneath the rose-rimmed glasses and the tight labcoat.

Honesty gentlemen.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049245)

this being /., the mods should have been 'interesting' as 'insightful' implies actual experience with said women

hot female electrical engineer (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049393)

I don't know where you work/go to school but hot female electrical engineers are hard to find, then when you do find one they are usually off a bit, probably due to the bad A game they hear all the time.

Re:Don't review it! (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049401)

hippie chicks are a pain in the ass

TMI TMI TMI

Re:Don't review it! (4, Funny)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049405)

there's usually a hellion lurking beneath the rose-rimmed glasses and the tight labcoat.

Wait a second, are you the author of those electrical engineering romance paperbacks I've been reading?

Re:Don't review it! (4, Funny)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049417)

Yeah, but those hippie chicks are so fit from eating vegan food and walking everywhere.

Re:Don't review it! (1, Informative)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049485)

Don't know if you've looked around, but not all Vegans are fit. There are overweight & underweight vegans too.

Re:Don't review it! (0, Offtopic)

rrkap (634128) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049821)

Just about all the vegans I know are weak, sickly, obese or severely underweight and generally unhealthy. This plus the fact that all of us have canines leads me to believe that we're built to have some animal protein in our diets. Being a vegan may not be as bad for you as a diet consisting entirely of meat, but it isn't optimal.

I'm not that my diet is optimal. My caffeine consumption alone would kill a lesser man.

Re:Don't review it! (4, Funny)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049455)

hot female electrical engineer

you sir have clearly not been to the engineering building on a college campus. The hot female EE you speak of is a mythical creature, like bigfoot, or a unicorn.

Re:Don't review it! (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049529)

The hot female EE you speak of is a mythical creature, like bigfoot, or a unicorn.

Or a giraffe or the puma! They just don't exist except in paperback books of fantasy!

Re:Don't review it! (5, Funny)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049721)

The hot female EE you speak of is a mythical creature, like bigfoot, or a unicorn.

Oh, they exist, I've seen them with my own eyes. They've just been hunted to the edge of extinction.

Re:Don't review it! (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049523)

So you've dated my ex as well?

Re:Don't review it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049919)

sha - WING!!

Re:Don't review it! (3, Insightful)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049139)

Solar power sounds great and is very trendy. Why evaluate the possible consequences for our actions when we can plow ahead blindly? Going ahead with energy policy without considering the environmental effects has worked well for us so far!

How dare they approve zero projects before the study is complete!

Re:Don't review it! (0, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049197)

The smashing success of ethanol certainly argues in favor of expanding government control of everything.
Ol' Ross even lays out the good news with charts:
http://www.perotcharts.com/ [perotcharts.com]

Re:Don't review it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049709)

who sent you. WHO SENT YOU?? big coal?

Re:Don't review it! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049931)

Besides, being in favor of solar power helps you score with hippie chicks.

Dude, most hippie chicks are older than me, and I'm a geezer. OTOH twenty bucks will get you laid by a crackwhore. Just don't let her in your house!

Hookers beat hippie chicks hands down.

Hmm... (1)

lockwesmonster (1303149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048799)

I wonder if anyone actually cried over this.

Solar plants are dangerous! (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048873)

They will kill all natural plant life, absorb all available sunlight, douse the planet with darkness, freeze up the North Pole, stop the North Atlantic Conveyor, interfere with the mating rituals of rhesus monkeys and cause the whales to change their tunes. It is the end of the world as we know it!

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049095)

freeze up the North Pole

when did it melt?

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (2, Informative)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049533)

Last summer [sciam.com] for the most part, and there are some projections that it will melt completely by the end of this summer.

=Smidge=

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049291)

That's just great. It starts with an earthquake. Maybe some birds and snakes or an aeroplane.

Lenny Bruce is not afraid.

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (5, Funny)

greenguy (162630) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049369)

I can't believe you left out the biggest problem of all: what to do with all that solar waste.

I know I sure as heck don't want a bunch of depleted sunlight in my backyard!

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049617)

Those plants that live on the sun are damned HOT!

I looked up solar power [uncyclopedia.org] in the uncyclopedia. I was going to quote it but WTF, I can't be bothered.

It is the end of the world as we know it!

And REM feels fine.

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (1)

roaddemon (666475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049761)

That's one way to end global warming.

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (3, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049851)

This plan is particularly dangerous when you consider we're not entirely sure how the sun works! Some reports indicate it may be powered by nuclear reactions and it MAY release high amounts of radiation!

We're considering using this in our backyards?!? WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Re:Solar plants are dangerous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049893)

They are not that bad. But they do have one real design flaw. The there is a maximum limit on the available power that the sun throws down per square foot. Its on the order of 230 watts per square foot. And at 40% efficency for current designs its probably much easier to just build some nuclear reactors and burn up our nuclear weapons stockpiles for the next 200 years or so. They also have the advantage of working at night, and realeasing less radiation then a coal fired power plant, and not using up precious silicon needed to make faster web servers to sell me things I don't need.

Typical of the environmentalist movement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24048893)

...ignore the need for science and rush headlong into whatever idea looks good on the surface.

Hey, the great unwashed are clearly capable of making complex decisions without the need for any kind of analysis. The people on TV told them so.

Oldthinkers unbellyfeel goodthink.

No Solar Projects Approved (5, Insightful)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048905)

I wonder if the BLM has approved any oil wells on BLM land......

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (3, Insightful)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049055)

Gosh, you could actually find out, instead of posting vague, unsubstantiated rumors on the Internet. What am I thinking? This is Slashdot! Mod him up!

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (3, Informative)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049135)

I looked, but could only find old articles that ruled in favor of the oil/gas company drilling on Native American land for oil.

If you have more recent ones I'm all ears. :p

"Land Management Bureau, rejecting appeal by 10 American Indian tribes and environmentalists, rules Anschutz Exploration Corp may drill exploratory oil well in southern Montana near ancient rock art site Indians consider sacred
May 23, 2001"

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049265)

Sounds a little bit more like it wasn't on Native American land, but instead was non-sovereign land where they had some site they considered sacred.

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049857)

I consider that particular oil well sacred. The Indians can't get rid of it now. So there.

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (5, Informative)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049359)

From the BLM web page:

http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy/oil_and_gas.html [blm.gov]

It wasn't too hard to find. Being on the main blm web page and all. To answer the question, the BLM does have quite an investment in selling leases for exploiting natural resources. Although, it doesn't explain why they wouldn't be interested in selling leases to exploit sunlight. Of course, we might find out that this was a directive from someone higher up in the administration.

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (3, Insightful)

jguthrie (57467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049579)

On the other hand, we might find out that environmental impact studies were completed on all those oil and gas wells before the leases were granted. Those granted in the last 30 years, at least. Why should solar industry be exempt from the requirement to have environmental impact studies done?

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (4, Informative)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049813)

They're still going to do the studies, and from what I'm seeing they're not planning on approving any of the leases until that study is done:

FTA:
"The BLM in 2006 completed a similar study of the effects of wind farm development in the Midwest. The agency did not, however, halt applications during that process, which began in 2003. Resseguie said that was because wind resources were geographically dispersed and there were no multiple applications for any single location, as there are in California for solar plants."

So it sounds like they were just trying to close the queue so it wouldn't get clogged up while they waited on the results of the survey. It doesn't appear to in any way impact when they will start approving leases.

Re:No Solar Projects Approved (3, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049837)

when's the last time you heard of a serious sunlight spill?

Coal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24048909)

Yeah, because coal mining operations and oil drilling are so much more environmentally friendly.

Good! (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048913)

Maybe, just maybe we can begin to harness some clean energy into wider usage.

Re:Good! (2, Insightful)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049103)

We're so lucky that the solar cells can now be grown on trees, and don't come out of some high energy use chemical process anymore. That's finally really clean energy.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049199)

Whereas dumping shit loads of pollutants in the air from know dirty filthy processes for oil and coal ir far better?

Re:Good! (1, Insightful)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049681)

Sorry when the facts bother you, but solar only recently made it past the "break even" point in regards to energy produced over energy put in during production. It's like "clean" electric cars, they are pollution free on the road, the pollution has just been moved to power plant.
Now, a nuclear plant however ...

Germany has them (5, Insightful)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048919)

While we whine about 'environmental considerations' of grabbing free energy from the sun, other countries are actually doing something about it. I was just in Germany where solar cell farms have been built in many places along the autobahns. Further, there are huge windmills everywhere (turning VERY slowly--Any bird which hits one of these is not paying attention. In France they've gone whole-hog nuke for electricity. There isn't a project alive that we can't make take ten times longer and make ten times the cost over our 'concerns.'

Re:Germany has them (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048993)

Further, there are huge windmills everywhere (turning VERY slowly--Any bird which hits one of these is not paying attention.

In germany they don't have stills hidden every 5 feet in the countryside. We can't help it if our birds are a bit "slower" in the head because of that! Someone please think of the birds?

Re:Germany has them (3, Informative)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049141)

I guess you weren't in Germany more towards the end of the year, when all those windmills are turned off. The only reason they have windmills is that they have government subsidized guaranteed prizes for the electricity they produce. When they have generated their year's quota, they are turned off to save on maintenance cost. Was really funny the last time I went there; Dec. 30, and all was still. January 1st comes around, and what a view of spinning activity.

Re:Germany has them (1)

yayotters (833158) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049607)

...and what a view of spinning activity.

I've seen my fair share of 'spinning' activity in my day...

Tehe...

Power times two (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048925)

Politics and energy, that's power twice over.

i posted this two weeks ago with a better headlin (1, Insightful)

davejenkins (99111) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048929)

funny thing-- i predicted this is almost exactly in the first thread-- but got modded down as 'flamebait'.

eat my photons.

Re:i posted this two weeks ago with a better headl (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049631)

I advocated the same thing as has happened as well. The replies insinuated I was an idiot and got modded up.
My post, no mod points, but at least I wasn't marked flamebait.

An aside. I't good I didn't get modded down, I got modded down enough around that time. I made the mistake of saying I should really abandon my Perl experience and learn Python (because I feel it is better).
Man, did I learn my lesson! Some Perl coder out there is such a rabid fanboy that it would make the other camps (apple, ms, evolution, whatever) envious!

I blame the fact... (2, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048939)

this was mostly misreported by news agencies. They made it sound like nobody could build solar power plants, when it only applied to "federally managed land."

Re:I blame the fact... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049131)

You need to see just HOW MUCH BLM land exists here in the Southwest. It's the vast majority of land where solar could be a viable enterprise. The amount of private land vs government-land (not withstanding Indian reservations, which I suppose could be argued as casino/government land) vastly outstrips private land holdings.

This is a big deal, because bush is shutting off a huge reserve of prime solar generating real estate on BLM land. I suspect if oil was found on BLM land there would be a cry for getting guvamint out of the land business.

Re:I blame the fact... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049327)

I suspect if oil was found on BLM land there would be a cry for getting guvamint(sic) out of the land business.

Yeah, because there's no controversy over drilling on federal land. [wikipedia.org]

Impending profiteering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24048945)

They lifted the ban on solar plants? It can only mean.....

The oil companies figured out a way to soak the solar consumers more effectively. ....as if there was doubt it would happen.

Wow, it makes sense (Crimson Avenger, bow) (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 6 years ago | (#24048987)

This cannot happen, it seems to make sense!

Here is something I have never said before... Crimson Avenger eat crow! Ya, you got the mod points, but I got the Government to take my side! How is that for power! ;)
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=597459&cid=23968419 [slashdot.org]

Possible detrimental environmental effects... (4, Funny)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049027)

Birds instantly cooked in mid air due to highly focused sunlight.

Re:Possible detrimental environmental effects... (4, Funny)

gclef (96311) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049127)

So, it'll give me light, heat, *and* dinner? Tell me again why this is bad...

Re:Possible detrimental environmental effects... (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049159)

And by detrimental environmental effect you mean deliciously 'green' cooking effect, right?

Re:Possible detrimental environmental effects... (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049181)

Is anyone still building those? I know the French had a focused beam driven generator years ago, but it went belly up due to corrosion (they were using molten salt as primary liquid).

Re:Possible detrimental environmental effects... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049421)

This could be used to solve the UT Austin grackle problem *and* generate energy.
Killing two birds with one stone.

Re:Possible detrimental environmental effects... (2, Funny)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049645)

Beam. Two birds with one beam.

Sheesh!! Slashdotters.

Re:Possible detrimental environmental effects... (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049853)

Don't look for the mote in the other's eye when you have a beam in your own. Especially one of those beams. You wouldn't be able to see anything, much less a mote.

Awesome (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049505)

So not only does it create electricity from solar energy but provides free meals as well? Hot.

FFS just go nuclear (1, Redundant)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049161)

while renewable energy is a good long term goal, going nuclear would/does work today [see France] and the excess power allows you to do interesting things when the grid is not using it all [see CERN]. Now that's not to say there aren't issues, but they are known issues and as long as you don't try doing anything stupid [see Chernobyl] and stick to regulations its >99.999% safe.

and while they're at it perhaps they could invest the money needed to finally get fission working too. all this 'being green' is needed while were burning coal, but once we go nuclear we can throw energy about for supercomputers/labs/cars/etc

Re:FFS just go nuclear (2, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049787)

and while they're at it perhaps they could invest the money needed to finally get fission working too.

I think you mean "fusion" [wikipedia.org] . Fission [wikipedia.org] is what the present nuclear plants use. As to fusion, I'm hopeful yet skeptical, as when I was a kid fission (nuclear power) was going to make electricity "too cheap to meter".

New Mexico Utilities RFP for New Solar Project (3, Informative)

mls (97121) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049167)

In the same week, a group of New Mexico utilities have announced a RFP for a new solar project [earth2tech.com] . This is interesting since a significant amount of land in rural New Mexico is Federally controlled, either by the BLM or military.

Builders or speculators? (2, Insightful)

clovis (4684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049189)

I have to wonder how many of the corporations/people who are asking for permits actually have the intent (and ability) to build solar array farms, or are they just hoping to grab the land rights now so that they can hold it hostage and sub-lease it later to others?

Re:Builders or speculators? (4, Informative)

rrkap (634128) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049935)

California has a mandate that 20% of its power must come from renewables (not including large hydropower plants) by 2012 and higher targets shortly after. The only cost-effective way to meet this requirement is by building massive thermal solar plants very quickly. Lots of the best land for such plants is controlled by the Federal government in one form or another. There are something like 10 500 MW solar farms planned for construction in in various parts of the Mojave desert over the next decade. So, the demand is real.

ok (3, Insightful)

GregNorc (801858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049237)

Someone give me some possible downsides to solar energy. I'm not being sarcastic - I've never heard this line of thought that solar energy is bad for the environment and would like to hear the reasoning behind it.

Downside #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049471)

It doesn't work at night.

Re:ok (0, Redundant)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049635)

Well, I'm pretty sure the downsides are
a) less financial campain contributions
b) no more fake wars for oil
c) energy independence... i mean, interfering less with countries we have no buisness being in

Phew, looks as if there are too many negatives to continue.

Re:ok (1)

Lohrno (670867) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049913)

Some downsides - You have to clean solar panels regularly, and they're not very efficient yet. You have to keep them pointed directly at the sun as well. It takes a little while to recover the investment, since they're pricey for what they deliver. Far be it from me to claim to be knowledgable about these things, but it seems to me the maintanance for wind turbines is far greater than solar panels though. With those, you need to service the motors and such.

Re:ok (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24049939)

How about the fact that the plant and animal life near/under these panels is no longer getting the sunlight needed/required. Yes you could convert most of Arizona into a solar farm if the environmentalists can deal with killing off certain species that depend on the sunlight here. You could also cover most of Nebraska except for that pesky food production we would loose by converting crop fields to solar fields.

Re:ok (5, Informative)

gclef (96311) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049949)

Solar cells are still made from industrial chemical processes, so they're not necessarily very land-fill friendly (obviously, this depends on the chemical makeup of the cell)....and yes, the cells will wear out and require replacement.

Also, as a joker pointed out earlier, since they don't work at night, you need batteries...our battery technology is also fairly heavy on the heavy metals right now. These also wear out, often faster than the cells do.

In the case that the BLM are talking about, there are a number of interesting possibilities:
    * How to bees/other insects react to light reflected back off large banks of cells? Does it mess with their navigation?
    * Do any of the plans to get cables out to the banks of cells mess with the wildlife they're trying to protect?
    * Do the cells have any (potentially) toxic runoff when hit with heavy rains/hail/etc?
    * will any residual heat from the cells mess with the local flora/fauna? (if it's an area that's normally snow-covered in winter, what happens if the heat from the cells keeps it snow-free? Does that mess with any of the local plants cycles?)

Nothing changes. (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049277)

They're still not going to actually _approve_ any of these applications. Instead, they'll just let them pile up while they "study" the issue.

If the Department of the Interior were in control of Saudi Arabia there wouldn't be a drop of oil coming out of it...

Re:Nothing changes. (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 6 years ago | (#24049687)

There would be but it would be $5 a drop.
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