Letter to the Editor: the cost of our luxury

Letter to the EDITOR

ladwp

LADWP headquarters, Los Angeles

Today the Inyo faces difficult decisions regarding proposed solar arrays. We have the ability to make our mark anywhere on the planet, yet lack the restraint to deny our own comforts in favor of preserving nature. As humans, our very fabric and spirit belongs to the land. Our evolution occurred on undeveloped earth, this is why we seek our re-creation through outdoor activities in the wilderness. Undeveloped earth is our heritage; it is our home and protector, our flesh comes from it. As a people we have sacrificed our ability to be good stewards of the earth in favor of convenience. Now that we have scarred nearly every mile of Western California we traverse the once impenetrable Sierra to replace nature with our creation.

A solar panel cannot recharge my spirit; it cannot give me a genuine feeling from life experience in the wilderness. The cultural, historic, biological, spiritual and aesthetic costs of having large solar arrays in the Inyo are too high in relation to any benefit. The panels will be visible for hundreds of miles in the Sierra and Inyo mountain ranges. What is the fate of people who cannot put labor out of their sight, even for a moment? It is slavery. Our utility is dictating how and why we live under the guise of service. This is another tipping point in which the cost of our luxury becomes higher than the benefit we receive from it.

In a few years these panels will be completely obsolete, the landscape permanently scarred, and our rich native and biological heritage destroyed. The Inyo lays bleeding without the ability to protect itself. The rape of our land continues while the real treasures of the earth are scraped away and replaced with industry. The placement of panels in the Inyo by DWP will negate any incidental benefit nature has received as a result of their water actions. The project does not need to be in Inyo, Inyo is probably just the easiest and cheapest solution for the utility. One day water and power technology will obliterate demand and render DWP obsolete. The land will be scarred and the structures abandoned. On that day, it will be too late to turn back the clock and revive our legacy. On that day we will realize the error of our ways. We cannot afford to destroy our limited resource, Inyo the beautiful, with our unlimited penchant for expansion.

Thanks, Mongo Ignacio, Los Angeles

51 Comments
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Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago

Mongo’s hypocrisy – In my city I am mandated by law to recycle grocery sacks, I participate in mandatory trash recycling, I pay CRV on bottles to insure they are recycled, every other year I get a smog check to make sure that my car isn’t unnecessarily polluting, I also… Read more »

MajorTom
MajorTom
8 years ago

Mongo, I don’t feel passionately about a bunch of solar panels a few miles off 395. I think the bigger rip-off is that DWP (and solar energy companies) do not pay any extra taxes to the local governments for degrading the viewshed and making a lot of money off an… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago
Reply to  MajorTom

Super good points Major, I don’t see the valley as a soothing escape just for urbanites, I see it as something to be preserved for everyone; my examples are just from my experience as an urbanite. You bring up another very good point though; different branches of government are restricting… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago

I live in the here and now and prefer practical solutions to the problems we face, solutions grounded in knowledge not speculation. I am of the firm opinion that too often those who failed to apply themselves in school learning math and science resort to sappy spiritualism and religious fairy… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago

I share your dislike for “sappy spiritualism and religious fairy tales” but also know that a deeper, more thoughtful approach to life and its major questions – Where did we come from? What are we doing here? And, where are we going? need serious study. A lack of expertise in… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Gods laws are the laws of the physical universe, the laws of chemistry, physics, biology and the common language is math. If only people spent as much time studying these as they do supposedly holy books the world would be a much better and quieter place.

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago

We are all guilty of over generalization so I am not criticizing anyone from a personal standpoint. I agree with the claim about the laws of the universe. I do not completely agree with the claim about the study and exploitation of natural laws making the world a better place.… Read more »

Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
8 years ago

“Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity.”

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

“gaining the most serious answers in life” No one can possibly know the answers you allude to. How do you distinguish delusion from veracity? And what would you do with those answers if you actually got them? They might make you go the rest of the way crazy. What if… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Each individual has to figure it out for himself, Ken. The truth is always better than an alternative. And, what if the truth were a wonderful thing? You might try looking on the bright side. Serious and long-term observation and contemplation of life and nature reveals amazing truths. Brings to… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

I’ve already found the fundamental truth that underlies all of life —

Don’t s**t the bed

All other truths fall from that.

Alternatively, the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. That’s well documented in a 4 book trilogy.

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
Albert Einstein

Rage against ______?
Rage against ______?
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken –
Anyone ever tell you sound like one angry, angry, angry man?
Why not venture past the politics/econmics that we’re being bombarded with, and take that inner journey to see what’s really bugging you?

It’s usually goes as far back as siblings, parents or a combination.

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago

Another good point Tortoise; spiritualism could have little bearing on the physical world. Although the physical world may affect spiritualism if it is defined outside of religious or magical thinking as a condition of a person or groups psyche. To me the problem that we face is the alteration of… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

I just want to out live Keith Richards!

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Learn to play the guitar like him and you too will be immortal.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago

Let Mongo live in a teepee or in a cave, wear animal pelts and hunt or farm for his food. Frankly, I have absolutely no interest in turning the clock back even 100 years of human development. I hope that spirituality he gushes about makes up for lack of running… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago

No, I don’t think so. His comments do not suggest we turn back the clock (which is impossible) but rather that we think about our lives and consider the impacts of what we do. Spiritual considerations are not mutually exclusive from modern conveniences. Your condescension is only exceeded by your… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago

Good points Tortoise; coincidentally I had begun writing on your very observations this morning. Not so much as they pertain to me, more so in consideration of how they pertain to society in general and the project. I am Mongo the Idiot, this discussion is not about me, it is… Read more »

John Barton
John Barton
8 years ago

I gave a thumbs up for both Tortoise and Mongo as they both bring up valid points. Society needs to find a balance to protect the visual environment while progressing towards a sustainable and independent energy future.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

Desert Tortoise….Here is to hoping more people like Mongo relocate to the Owens Valley….and for some of those that want all this development ,seeking the quick and easy big bucks,the fancy cars and houses he mentioned.well,maybe they should also relocate down south where the area has already been ruined.Maybe I’m… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

I never earned a quick or easy buck in my life, but because nothing comes all that easy I will darned if I am going to walk away from human advancement. I very much want to preserve the comforts I have worked hard for and that means a cool if… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago

Its hard to imagine or even realize that there is a natural world to those of us who live in cities. At home in LA every inch of my surrounding is influence by man, even the sky and horizon are impaired by structures. As I struggle for survival in this… Read more »

The Aggressive Progressive!
The Aggressive Progressive!
8 years ago

Thanks Mongo, I Love your insight man. A sad thing I notice is the Owens Valley happens to be a little too much on the outdated conservative side of thinkers (common in rural areas), and a lot of the respected public is tied or has ties to the LA Department… Read more »

Energy Foundation
Energy Foundation
8 years ago

Contact High Sierra Energy Foundation for any questions.

http://highsierraenergy.org/

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

Mongo…..Glad to see some feel this way about “development” and what it does to the land up here in the Owens Valley…where some want to see it become another Antelope Valley in the 80’s…already talk in my town about all the economic advantages this “project” will bring…..$ 40.00 per hour… Read more »

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Owens Valley should know from Owens Lake that most of the nice pickups bought from that job had out of state plates or LA registration and are no longer in town.

Yacht Rocked
Yacht Rocked
8 years ago

Truth. Pull up Google earth and take a look at Highway 58 near Kramer Junction and just outside Carrizo Plain National Monument. You can see the solar farms and solar ranches arrayed in dense blocks, and construction is continuing rapidly. Very tall new high voltage power lines and transformers the… Read more »

Bishop Beans
Bishop Beans
8 years ago

Outstanding. Mongo Ignacio for mayor of Los Angeles! (or, at least, General Manager of the DWP)

I C
I C
8 years ago

Mongo,
Your words paint the picture. The best place for panels are on the houses that need them. The economics dictate the need for electricity to be generated at the end user’s facility. Decentralize power generation. Stop building future eyesores for our grandchildren to regret.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  I C

Panels on the house is a good idea — if it works at the site. First, I rent. Do I need to install panels on every place I rent? And there’s trees around my house. I get Sun only a few hours a day in the summer. Practically no Sun… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

I really don’t want to see DWP get their whinny whiners way! Did I spell that right?

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago

Thanks Mongo, have you thought about sending it to LA Times, LA Weekly, lacitywatch.com ?

Deb
Deb
8 years ago

What I find interesting about the solar array information that is being given to us is that no one is mentioning the 2 production wells that are going to be used at the site.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Deb

We did print that info twice.
BK

Daris
Daris
8 years ago
Reply to  Deb

Deb The one thing that I find interesting about the solar array is that it was said that the rain would keep the panels clean. What don’t they understand about our valley “The Land of Little Rain”?

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago
Reply to  Daris

Daris, Sorry for repost, but waste of time to argue about that. Cleaning solar panels often not worth the cost, engineers find phys.org/news/2013-07-solar-panels-worth.html Jul 31, 2013 – Don’t hire someone to wash your dirty solar panels. That’s the conclusion of a study recently conducted by a team of engineers at… Read more »

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago

You certainly should be sorry about both posts; as both are WRONG! If irrelevant pseudonyms posted first hand observation, or even facts, instead of regurgitating assumptions erroneously made by third parties, maybe they could have some credibility. Your posts do not! Fact: birds create guano Fact: many birds deposit that… Read more »

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Russ, So because I “regurgitated” an article about research done by UC San Diego and published by a solar energy journal, it has no credibility? Even if it was completely wrong, you think you are going to counter DWP in negotiations with your personal observations about bird crap? Yeah, I… Read more »

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

No! Eastside, your post has no credibility because the article that you referenced is not relevant to the discussion. The Owens Valley is not San Francisco. Two square miles of panels under a major flyway in a desert is not the same as a a few panels on a house… Read more »

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Russ, the article stated 186 sites between San Francisco Bay Area and Mexican border during 145 day drought, not a few panels in San Francisco. Your narrow interpretation of article is invalid. My argument is that you better have something better than your small system to prove DWP wrong and… Read more »

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

and all 186 sites were not the Owens Valley! You keep looking for data, I’ll keep reporting facts, we’ll see which has any effect. Ah but you are correct Eastside…. I am guilty of wasting time and effort on an irrelevant pseudonym. I’ll make a point of not letting it… Read more »

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ Monroe

Russ, Data is facts compiled for reference or research.

Fortunately we don’t have solar plants in Owens Valley, so one must look to other similar examples. You may want to compile some facts from other small systems if you insist on keeping your data limited to Owens Valley.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

It may not cost effective to hire someone to clean your solar panels but it’s an easily proven fact the cleaning them does make more power. And it doesn’t take a team of engineers to figure it out. I can look at my power generation before spraying off my panels… Read more »

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, what is the total output of your system and frequency of cleaning? 1KW loss in a 14KW system would correspond roughly to the 7.4% loss in 145 dry days the researchers found.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, I wonder — could you cool the panels from below? Like a large heat sink perhaps cooled by water and a radiator like a car? Also, I wonder what overall increase in electrical generation would be with a sun-tracker mount + cooling system? Perhaps an integrated system where the… Read more »

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I have about 6kw. I spray them off maybe six times a year. Tracking panels would make considerably more power. Mine only makes full power for an hour around noon. Anything that moves requires more maintenance. And if you have to pay for that maintenance service that can start to… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, Thanks for the reply. The idea of tracking panel mounts is intriguing to me. I’m thinking about very simple polar axis mounts with adjustable declination angles that are not continuously adjustable but maybe has 4 or 8 stations. Winter Solstice; Spring Equinox; Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox and maybe… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago

Funny how Martian rovers are often affected by dust on their solar panels.

http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20120217a.html

Read the energy conservation strategy NASA has had to adopt to overcome reduced energy production of their rovers solar panels in the very last paragraph.

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago

DT, thanks for the informative link, but you may be comparing apples to oranges here. Mars does have global dust storms and no rain that we have seen. Article does say that wind cleans the panels. You would also have to compare area of panels to electrical load.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
8 years ago

Truth ,Inspiration and Purpose, An amazing communication for us all to think about .Thank you, Ignacio