Letter to the editor: Manzanar Committee opposes LADWP Solar Ranch

 Looking east from the visitor’s center at Manzanar National Historic Site. The floor of the Owens Valley, along with the Inyo Mountains in the background, are visible. But this view could be destroyed by a massive solar energy generating station, proposed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. National Park Service Photo

Looking east from the visitor’s center at Manzanar National Historic Site. The floor of the Owens Valley, along with the Inyo Mountains in the background, are visible. But this view could be destroyed by a massive solar energy generating station, proposed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. National Park Service Photo

Manzanar Committee Denounces LADWP Proposal To Build 1,200-Acre Solar Farm Near Manzanar

LOS ANGELES — On August 16, the Manzanar Committee announced its opposition to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) proposed 1,200-acre Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, which would be constructed east of the Owens River, but in a direct line of sight with the Manzanar National Historic Site, which lies to the immediate west.

The proposed site would generate electricity that would be delivered to LADWP customers in Los Angeles. But generating that energy would result in the destruction of Manzanar’s historic solid waste dump, which has not undergone an archeological study. Equally important, the site’s approximately one million solar panels, along with buildings, large equipment, transformers, a substation, transmission lines, and much more, would destroy a significant portion of the historic landscape surrounding Manzanar National Historic Site.

“The importance of maintaining and enhancing the physical characteristics of the Manzanar National Historic Site cannot be downplayed or overlooked,” said Manzanar Committee Co- Chair Bruce Embrey. “One of the most powerful parts of Manzanar is the unobstructed view, and that many of the structures, gardens and other features of the World War II American concentration camp have not been bulldozed over or destroyed by ‘development.’

“Some of the best and most memorable parts of Manzanar have always been seeing the remnants of the camp set in contrast to the natural landscape of the area,” added Embrey. “The continued restoration of the gardens, the apple orchard, and other crucial archaeological aspects, including Manzanar’s World War II-era solid waste dump, which undoubtedly contains historically significant artifacts—none of that should be compromised for commercial exploitation.”

Embrey noted that while LADWP has supported the Manzanar Pilgrimage for many years, this proposal is yet another blot on their poor record regarding the site.

“LADWP has a long and checkered history regarding the establishment of the Manzanar National Historic Site,” Embrey stressed. “They have offered support over the years to the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, led for decades by Sue Kunitomi Embrey. But the relationship between LADWP and the Manzanar Committee has been marked by serious and fundamental disagreements along the way.”

“LADWP opposed efforts to establish a National Historic Site at Manzanar, arguing instead for a local memorial park,” added Embrey. “Even as late as 1991, they continued their efforts, under then-General Manager Michael Gage, to prevent the establishment of a National Historic Site under the auspices of the National Park Service.”

As a response to an LADWP-supported bill in Congress that would have established a locally administered memorial at Manzanar, rather than a National Historic Site, in an October 5, 1991 letter to the editor, Sue Kunitomi Embrey, one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage and the Manzanar Committee, wrote in the Los Angeles Times:

“The DWP proposal is highly inappropriate and totally unacceptable to the Manzanar Committee for many reasons, the important one being that Manzanar has national significance, and local jurisdiction does not give Manzanar the integrity and national recognition it deserves.”

More than twenty years later, LADWP’s insensitivity and disregard for Manzanar, not to mention the people who were unjustly incarcerated there, and their families, continues.

“The very idea that any land in or around the Manzanar National Historic Site could be used for a massive generating facility would not harm the ongoing efforts to preserve and understand the tragedy of justice that occurred there is simply beyond insensitive, and it’s not just insensitive to the Japanese American community, the survivors of America’s concentration camps and their families,” Embrey lamented. “That gross insensitivity extends to the efforts of the National Park Service, and others who have worked so hard to bring this brief, but essential, part of American History to light.”

“George Santayana said, “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it,” Embrey added. “This is true for our nation, and for the LADWP. Their proposed solar farm will severely harm efforts to remember our past.”

“The long-term, negative impact on the Manzanar National Historic Site cannot be understated. We call on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, as well as the LADWP, to revisit the proposal and find another, more suitable location for the proposed solar generating station.

The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, send e-mail to [email protected], call (323) 662-5102, or check their blog at http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org.


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52 Responses to Letter to the editor: Manzanar Committee opposes LADWP Solar Ranch

  1. Craig September 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I havent even gone through everything you all have been ranting about…. I have a garage with one side facing south… Its a 15 x 35 on one side…. I bought everything, installed it, and im running my shop off of it. TOO powerful… I called DWP and they said I have to do a study on my power usage for the past year… and they said im making too much power according to my power bill… They have to go through a ‘study’ to see what im qualified to put on my house… My solar puts waaaay more out than what I use and they dont like it… They want to be the bosses and set my system ‘only ‘ for what my usage is… WHAT THE FRICK…. I built it to give back and they dont want it.

  2. Craig September 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Why not… you cant see anything from Manzanar ‘Historic’ site… The solar project is waaaaay out on the plains where only the locals roam, and theres nothing out there… The public wont see anything, and if they did they would have to be on Owenyo road on the plains or Foothill road up high… And the only people traveling on those roads could care less about Manzanar.. Come on now…Jobs, Taxes, Green input…. Just my miniscule input…. I travel these hills and flats more than anyone”i think” …I think it would be a cool thing.

  3. Philip Anaya August 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    One more thought .There has been a significant changing of the guard at the LADWP . There is a new Mayor who has let go 4 of 5 Water Commissioners who had previously approved this project and term sheet at the DWP level . Our Supervisiors who have also approved this non binding term sheet by a 4-1 vote will be now dealing with a new group of Comissioners once they are approved by the LA City Council. Before any furthur Inyo County approvals to this project, especially any binding agreements, it would be prudent to let the City and the DWP shake out this approval process for the new Water and Power Commissioners I am sure that Mayor Garcetti wants to have a project that he has a handprint upon. It does not make sense to go forward with this unbeneficial development which has been crafted by the old school DWP management and approved by the retired Water Commissioners. The list of negatives regarding this project just seems to grow and grow. Sorry Jon, Wiki answers says “1 mega watt will power 500 homes” . That’s still a lot of lights on but how about a few of some new homes in the Owens Valley .
    The people of the Owens Valley have one thing in common with all their differences, political, religion, attitudes, age. We all live here because we collectivly love this place. Many sacrifice carrers, income , convinence, we love this place. We need renewable energy on this planet and there are many who are torn between the love of the earth , our responsible actions regarding carbon footprints, the idea that renewable energy can’t be wrong. I should not go into the pros and cons of the question but 200 miles of transmission, no beneficals for the Valley environmentally or economically, no respect for the history that is Manzanar, an untrusted and unreliable developer, who now has a new boss that we do not know and questionable issues of the appropriate geographic settings for photo voltic energy.
    Many of us in our own way believe in the majesty and the power of the creator and the earth upon which we dwell here in the Owens Valley. It is as near to creation as it can be . We see everyday, all around us in the mountains surrouding us places where man has not left a footprint. In some places on this earth there has been human occupation that has respected and wondered about the land and the heavens. We live in one of those kind of places where man’s limited imprint upon the landscape has left something still to love and to wonder at. We do not need a 2 square miles of a PV Ranch in this Valley . We need to retain as much as the natural setting as possible. We need to have the empty expanses that fill that space within us with that wonder . We do not need a PV ranch reflecting, another of man’s technology, his progress, in this particular place . The only footprints needed here are the ones that wash away with the elements ,the wind, the rain and the snow.

    • Jon Klusmire August 21, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      Phil, I checked several web sites for the 1,000 home stat, and it was pretty consistent, so I went to Wiki Answers for the 500 homes you cited: This is copied directly from Wiki Answers:

      “An average U.S. household uses about 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year. A watt is a unit of power, or energy per unit time, so it’s the rate at which energy is being used. A kilowatt-hour (or 1000 watt-hours) is a unit of energy, so 10,000 kWh is how much total energy each household uses over the course of a year.

      This means that each household, on average, uses energy at a rate of about 1 kilowatt (1000 watts, which equal to ten 100-watt light bulbs).

      One megawatt is equal to one million watts, so for one instant, one megawatt can power 1000 homes.”

      This point is only relevant when comparing the cost of large solar plants versus rooftop solar installations.

      • Philip Anaya August 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

        Jon ,here’s the link http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_homes_will_1_megawatts_power
        There is actually two wiki answers web links available. this one that says 500 and the other that says 1000. A BLM solar development expert I spoke with this morning said that they use a very conservative figure of 325-350 homes. Solar development is as necessary as it is amazing for the survival of the planet. There is a lot of empty space between Los Angeles and Independence that does not have as many negative issues as this particular site no matter how many homes will be iluminated. That’s the real issue that the Board of Supervisors and the EIR will address.

  4. Jon Klusmire August 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    FYI, One megawatt of electricty is enough to supply 1,000 homes, so this plant will power 200,000 homes.

  5. Philip Anaya August 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    The sun rose this morning at 6:11 am . The Solar Ranch site was still in the shadow of the Inyo Mountains at 7:15 am this morning as I drove south past Independence on my way to Lone Pine. If this solar development was sited for example in the Antelope Valley where there are not any Inyo or Sierra Nevada Mountains, direct solar radiation would be reaching the PV panels soon after sunrise, not 1 hour and so many minutes later. There will be the same effect at sunset and added to those mountain shadows will be the daily cloud development over the Sierra Crest just like there was this afternoon. So there seems to be an ever increasing current list of negatives that poor DWP management and planning seems to either have missed or ignored. Now add; Not the best site geolographicaly for a Solar Ranch and efficent energy generation, not anywhere in a valley that is narrow east to west and has 10-14,000 foot mountain shadows at sunrise and sunset that hinder daily solar radiation.
    Of course DWP could always release some of their required promised real estate holdings in the Owens Valley and use those proceeds to purchase a couple of square miles of the flat Antelope Valley in close proximety to it’s existing transmission lines and to Los Angeles where the list of negatives is not so damaging. This is not rocket science this is just common sense.

    • Reality Check August 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      Philip, you do know that solar panels face south not east so it really does not matter much when the sun shines on the site from the east unless the panels were on a tracker?

      Within a few hours of sunrise, the sun angle is above the mountains most of the year.

      Here is the math; To calulate the total solar production for this area, year round, figure an average of 5.5 full sun hours a day. If the max production of a solar array was 1,000 watts (1 Kw) it would produce 5,500 watts (5.5 Kw) a dayaverage year round. Needless to say there would be much more production in the summer when the sun is high and up longer than the winter when the sun is low and up for a shorter period of the time.

      The 5.5 figure is very high for the United States, with the highest being in southern Arizona at 6.5.

      • Philip Anaya August 21, 2013 at 7:10 am #

        RC, You are correct.I do know that solar panels are installed considering the sites latitude . This angle of inclination is benefical to efficency of the panel . While we can see charts such as this, broad overviews of regions, http://www.bigfrogmountain.com/SunHoursPerDay.html
        Los Angeles has average of 5.62 sun hours a day. The local environment of a project is also a consideration. Shading of a panel restricts efficent photon exchange. Take a look at the National Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) web site. http://solareis.anl.gov/index.cfm
        Locations of where solar development locations are sited are due to many factors . The Owens Valley is not on the list of preferrable locations.

        • Ken Warner August 21, 2013 at 11:47 am #

          But try to find a site like the Manzanar site in L.A. And if you did, it would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate development — or more. LADWP already owns this piece of land.

  6. BighornNV August 19, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Not only will the solar farm be highly visible, the construction and probable lack of mitigation will create a fugitive dust nightmare. The dust will cover artifacts, and will create health issues for the local community and be far reaching on windy days. Dust mitigation requires water or synthetic chemicals . Litigation over CEQA or lack of air quality mitigation will pile up the cost for these solar scammers. Let the people in LA live with their respiratory problems. Keep your dust and Valley Fever.

    If they don’t get the message that we don’t want it here, we can keep suing them until the cost bankrupts them. They will never build this. This is disrespectful to the Manzanar Monument and trashing Owens Valley is not an option when people in LA can get their own solar panels. We won’t let you pimp out Owens Valley so you can waste energy.

  7. sugar magnolia August 19, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    I looked at a map, I think Manzanar committee is out of line here. This is not right next door to the historic site. If they want to oppose the plan, do so on a more logical basis, not some made up hysteria.

  8. Ken Warner August 19, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Benett Kessler August 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm #
    Ken it’s 200 megawatts and one million panels.

    The second part of my question is how much would enough roof top installations in L.A. cost that would produce 200 MW. I figure that it would take between 200 and 300 1MW roof top installations in L.A. because of the difference in the amount of sunshine. between L.A. and the site by Manzinar.

    So how much would 200 or 300 unique, custom 1MW installations cost in L.A.???

    I doubt that they would cost less than the Manzanar site. Given the complexity of unique installations and doing it in L.A. It would have to cost more. Maybe in total twice as much. Maybe that’s the answer why rooftop installations in L.A are not a good alternative to one large site in a remote area.

    Further, the Manzanar site is in the middle of a huge, flat site. There’s a lot of room for expansion.

  9. alg.smith August 19, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    LADWP was proposing to construct elevated mounds and trenches on Owens Lake to control dust. What if the mounds were elevated islands surrounded by trenches filled with water and used to grow algae for fertilizer and cattle feed? In theory, the elevated islands and trenches filled with water would block wind which would protect solar units from dust. The solar units could be placed on gravel to further help control dust and provide support. This seems like a good use of the open space and water on Owens Lake.

  10. Jay Wheaton August 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    Maybe they could put the installation on Owens Lake it would give them a reason to fix the dust problem at the same time.

    • kwak August 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      The panels-on-the-lake proposal was already looked at; it turns out the parts of the lake stable enough to support the installation weren’t going to be useful for dust mitigation, and vice-versa.

      Here’s an article on more potential problems with benign-sounding solar projects: it could be very bad for the birds that the newly-rewatered lake is attracting in such large numbers:


  11. Trouble August 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Honestly, I would vote no to almost anything DWP wants to do. They have done nothing to deserve my respect or support.

  12. Waxlips August 18, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    In 2006, the Legislature passed and Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law. It directed the California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) to begin developing discrete early actions to reduce greenhouse gases while also preparing a scoping plan to identify how best to reach the 2020 limit. The reduction measures to meet the 2020 target are to be adopted by the start of 2011.

    LACI was founded in 2011 to empower the City of Los Angeles’ primary economic strategy, which is to drive the innovation and growth of Los Angeles’ green economy. LA Cleantech Incubator was funded by the CRA/LA and the LADWP for the City of Los Angeles and is a result of the Clean Tech Los Angeles (CTLA) alliance among the Mayor’s office, the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles, the California Institute of Technology, the Art Center College of Design, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the Los Angeles Business Council, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, LADWP, and the CRA/LA.[2]

    LACI’s Strategic Imperative is to move “the country off of its dependence on foreign fuels…California has already put its stake in the ground with AB 32, requiring all utilities to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. And Los Angeles is ahead of every major city by achieving almost 20% of its energy from renewable resources by 2010. The new strategic imperative is to focus the private and public sectors on the processes and technologies regarding the sustainable consumption of our natural resources.” [5]

    I found this stuff on the Internet.

    My thought is, if all of this electricity is going to LA then why don’t they get it closer. DWP owns lots of land, they can put it somewhere else.

    • Ken Warner August 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      Many of you ask why LADWP chose to put their solar PV plant where they did?

      Why doesn’t someone ask them or look in available documentation for the siting criteria used?

      And here’s a thought. Since WWII was in part provoked by an oil blockade by the U.S and it’s allies on Japan — simplistic description I know — so now a solar PV plant is built proximate to a concentration camp that held many Japanese — there’s some symbolic significance in that juxtaposition. The solar plant symbolizes that fossil fuels will no longer be a source of conflict and human suffering. And is a thoughtful counterpoint to a concentration camp where people suffered for fossil fuel.

      It’s a stretch I know and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of thumbs down for this one.

  13. John Barton August 18, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Ken- I installed 28 rooftop panels on my roof in Bishop and hired a licensed local electrician to make the final connections into my SCE service panel. It is very simple. I produce more electricity than I consume which I “sell” back to SCE who in turn supply it to residential and commercial properties. To break even I have calculated a 7-8 yr payback time.

    • Ken Warner August 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      Ok, then the simple answer to my assuming that there would have to be upgrades to the infrastructure to integrate hundreds or thousands of rooftop installation is that there wouldn’t have to be upgrades to L.A.’s local grid.

      I wonder what SCE would say about that?

      Maybe someone should ask them.

      • Ken Warner August 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

        I went to our local SCE office here in Mammoth and asked what they would have to do to the local grid if 1000 — 1000KW (1MW) rooftop installations came to Mammoth.

        The answer I got from the tech was, “…it depends…” Each and every installation would have to be analyzed for output patterns and how it might load or unload the grid. That’s all done somewhere down South. But the tech said she would be surprised if nothing had to be done to integrate all those sites.

        • To technical for your own good August 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

          Ken ,
          You are getting way to technical. First of all the solar power is not going to come on like a light switch. Yes there will be cloudy days and moving clouds affecting the grid. However that won’t be much different then turning on appliances.

          With the cost of Solar being high you will not see the masses installing it in one area.

          Also Did you notice the smart meter that was installed last summer at your home. Well that will aide greatly to keep the grid going well.

          • Ken Warner August 20, 2013 at 10:17 am #

            Sorry to confuse you with complicated ideas.

            You are right. All we need to think about is the light switch and the outlet plugs. Anything more complicated than that makes peoples head hurt.

            Just relax and turn on Opra.

        • John Barton August 20, 2013 at 9:12 am #

          Ken- I get what you’re saying. 1MW isn’t that much power in the overall scheme of things. It’s all about the distribution capability of the lines to get the surplus power to areas of need. If another 1MW was produced locally, it would only mean more of the power produced at the various local hydro plants would sent to other areas that aren’t producing a surplus.

  14. salblaster August 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    solar power plants are going to increase in numbers over the decades to come, it’s a logical alternative to fossil fuel. probably every proposed plant will be opposed by some organization in the community it’s going in, however i think it it would be a good thing for o.v. even though some are saying they would’nt hire locals they would bring their own crews, that was’nt the case when construction began on the owens lake restoration phases. they hired a lot of locals to supplement the crews they brought in. and whats up with the picture with this article, did you climb a telephone pole to get that angle. personaly i don’t think you would even see it from from manzanar at ground level.

    • Benett Kessler August 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

      If you read the photo caption, provided by the Manzanar Committee to go with their Letter to the Editor, it’s a National Park Service photo.
      Benett Kessler

      • Desert Tortoise August 18, 2013 at 10:43 am #

        This won’t even slightly resemble what is being built at Ivanpah, what exists today at Kramer Junction (the junction of US-395 and Hwy-58)or what was planned for eastern Inyo County. PV has a very low visual impact. A good example of what the DWP wants to build can be found on both sides of Hwy 138 west of Lancaster. The PV panels are very close to the ground, and a six foot high chain link fence with fabric covering mostly hides the site. The panels themselves are dark colored. It is not the eyesore planned for Ivanpah, nothing of the sort. From three or four miles away it won’t be visible.

        • Philip Anaya August 19, 2013 at 11:42 am #

          Hey DT ,
          Elevation is 3936′ in Independence The Owens River is at 3740′ above sea level at the proposed development site. Not only does the highway overlook the site being 196 feet higher in elevation , but the slope of the site being east of the river is tilted/angled up away from the River for an even better view . You certainly are going to see 2 square miles of rows and rows of PV panels .
          Who does not like the idea of renewable energy. I really like the idea of PV on both residential and industrial rooftops. I really like the idea of owning my own power source even if it’s grid tied . It makes me more conscious about how much energy I’m using. Allowing Utililities to create and control these huge PV projects has it’s downside and you have to wonder DT, why DWP management would even consider any location in the Owens Valley considering all the collective knowledge of their sordid 100+ year history in the Valley. My opinion, this is a “Not in this Valley” kind of project and I think that DWP better start looking for another place.

          • Desert Tortoise August 20, 2013 at 10:42 am #

            At a distance of three to five miles there will be very little to see. I think the concerns are greatly over blown.

          • kwak August 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

            nothing much to see . . . unless you want to go visit the old railroad grade, or hike up the Pat Keys trail, or visit the big mines, or look down at the valley from anywhere in the mountains.

          • Reality Check August 20, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

            Kwak, so what’s your point. The solar panels will put your eye out?

  15. Valkyrie August 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Ah, the DWP! Always looking for ways to eliminate pesky vegetation in the Owens Valley. Let’s think about the number one economic driver for Inyo County – tourism. This proposed solar industrial site will be visible to recreationists that come to the Owens Valley for its famous and unique panoramas. Plus, it will generate 1500 acres of dust and use water.
    Pave paradise and put in a solar site, to paraphrase Joni Mitchell.

  16. Reality Check August 17, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Solar Power is good for the country and good for the environment. However, the NIMBYs would rather hade a fossil fuel plant or nuke plant in someone else’s backyard and enjoy the benefits of electrical power produced elsewhere, in their community.

  17. Ken Warner August 17, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    This is one of those hollow reasons for not building less damaging power generation facilities than coal or natural gas or nuclear generation facilities.

    “Don’t build it because we can see it”. Good grief!

    Use Google Maps and look at where the power plant will be in relation to Manzanar. It’s about 2-4 miles away. And once again, no alternative solution is offered.

    With all due respect, why is a solar photovoltaic power generation station disrespectful to Manzanar simply because you can see it? And if the waste dump is so important — why isn’t it being excavated now?

    This society seems to relish the opportunity to tangle itself up in meaningless posturing all for the sake of somebodies manufactured sensibilities.

    • kwak August 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      You’re making a false dichotomy: the alternative to a solar plant in the Owens Valley is not coal, nuclear or natural gas.

      The alternatives are ubiquitous, obvious and well-documented: put the solar panels on the roofs of all those buildings in Los Angeles where the power needs are. From what I hear, they have a lot of sunshine. Building rooftop solar means far less infrastructure than building a big plant hundreds of miles away and exporting it on power lines.

      The Owens Valley isn’t a colony, and shouldn’t act or be treated like one.

      • Ken Warner August 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

        Putting solar panels on all buildings in L.A. sounds like a good idea. There may be a problem managing the power effectively to get it connected to the grid — not less infrastructure but more — which would not be replaced by rooftop solar. Because what are you going to do when the Sun goes down and all the lights turn on? Solar needs to be part of the grid to be useful. Until we learn how to store electricity better which isn’t really close yet.

        And the roof top area of one of the big buildings downtown is no where near big enough to supply that building its electrical needs even during the noon day sun.

        Your suggestion is not an alternative either. And if you don’t build solar of one kind or another, the alternatives are as I outlined. Not in Owens Valley. But somewhere.

        And there is sunshine and then there is permacast. The overcast that lasts nearly year round now all along the coast.

        I think small solar installations have a place but they aren’t a viable substitute for big installations — yet.

        • Benett Kessler August 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

          I will just point out that rooftop solar arrays can be hooked up to feed the grid.

          • Ken Warner August 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

            Sure. That’s not the problem. Imagine trying to hook up hundreds of individually owned buildings in L.A. There would have to be a whole separate business entity to manage just that. Getting permissions. Dealing with all the “viewshed” issues.. Multiply LADWP’s project by a thousand and you might come close to the complexity of managing all those issues.

            And there is not such thing as a standard roof. Each little installation would have to be unique and custom made. Who would do that?

            Look at the site in Google Maps. It looks to be about 4 miles wide and at least 10 miles long. Design one easily serviceable unit and replicate it 10,000 times. If one fails,just pull it out of the array and plug in another one.

            As they say, “The devil is in the details.”

          • Benett Kessler August 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

            I see what you’re saying, but keep in mind DWP has a program for residents and commercial users to install solar that becomes part of the grid and reduces the installers power bills.

          • Ken Warner August 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm #


            I’m not saying one or the other. Maybe do both. Do everything possible to do. There’s never just one solution.

            Think if we had Brightsource under construction. The LADWP project and rooftop and small scale installations everywhere. If that was done all over the country that would be a huge step forward away from fossil fuel.

            But the U.S. is the Worlds second largest producer of natural gas. It’s really cheap right now and is the prefered fuel for generation plants. It’s going to be a while before that changes. PV solar is going to have to get a lot cheaper to compete.

            It will but it won’t happen soon. But the more installations — large and small — the faster it will get cheap. That’s one reason objections to installations like Brightsource and Manzanar are so frustrating to me. If people keep saying no, it will just drag this whole thing out. And if it’s continually delayed, there will come a time when natural gas is no longer cheap and then what? No PV solar and no cheap natgas and we’ll all be screwed. Well you people will — I’ll be dead.

          • Benett Kessler August 17, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

            No one in the newsroom is saying no to the solar project. I was making a point about rooftop – home and commercial – installations. There is a whole environmental process to go through and more to learn on the project. We do see the value of solar generated power.
            Benett Kessler

        • Wake UP! August 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

          Ken ,
          Get a clue dude.

          There is no big infrastructure that a utility needs to do to have buildings hooked up to the grid to place power made by solar or wind projects back on the grid.
          As long as the building is already serviced by the utility its no big deal.

          If you are referring to projects like Manzanar then yes you must have transmission lines to handle the capacity.

          No as far as DWP is concerned they have a lot of nerve to place the project at Manzanar. it is like a pissing match lately with DWP. DWP has other places they can do this that they have the land.

          Those bureaucrats need to go away far far … They are like locust. They need to go.

          We as a community have to fight this. We have to kill that EIR

          • Ken Warner August 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

            Take a look at the site on Google Maps. The project is not AT Manzanar. It’s 3-5 miles away from it.

            And you really think that if somehow most buildings in L.A. had solar panels, there would be nothing needed to be done to enable the local infrastructure? That it would “just work”/

            Maybe you are right. We’ll never know. Because if that was going to be done — it would have been done already. There’s a reason why it hasn’t been done.

            Thanks for your thoughts though.

          • Ken Warner August 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

            I really don’t know the answer to your infrastructure concern.

            Maybe Benett could find out. It’s an interesting question. Would existing infrastructure be able to handle a large number of small installations without modification??? Good question.

          • Mark August 18, 2013 at 9:05 am #

            As long as roof top solar didn’t make a lot more power then the building uses there would be no reason to upgrade service feeding the building.

            I still think the Antelope Valley is a better place of solar. The infrustructure is already being put in place to support the panels. We don’t need more power lines and ugly panels ruining the landscape.

            I am not apposed to roof top solar in the Owen’s Valley though.

          • JeremiahJoseph August 19, 2013 at 8:52 am #

            I don’t know about Y’all, but if we were to put more energy producing equipment on top of energy flowing equipment, it seems you would have to upgrade the infrastructure to be compatible with the load it carries??
            What I do know is we need to do something fast! too many of us are so dang complacent we don’t see the urgency in fighting for our Democracy/Republic, our environment, our resources or even for our kids future.. But fact of the matter is we do not have a representative Democracy or Constitutional Republic, we do not live in a day to day basis consuming only what we need and preparing for the future, and most importantly we have life supporting systems on decline with climate destabilization in a major way..
            Anyplace is good for solar as long the power produced is going to closest place power is being consumed! In this case, that is not the case, so hopefully county leaders don’t just BUY a sells pitch from a entity that does nothing more then what it is forced to (by way of profits or settlements)..
            When will the county leaders put their foot down and say “NO MORE GROUNDWATER WELLS”?? seriously what are you waiting for? are you waiting for the impact that we all know is inevitable? Are you seriously willing to take those chances? It’s time to make that clear the valley will not host anymore GW wells for the impact to the environment is imminent! Especially when the water that leaves here is sacred and cherished by the locals, and when it gets to its point of consumption its taken for granted and wasted in major ways….

        • Philip Anaya August 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

          KW, Here is a link to some roof top PV development. There are all types of clouds that cast a shadow.

          • Ken Warner August 18, 2013 at 8:52 am #

            Great! The more the better. As I said — do everything.

            I wonder — what would be the cost of the Manzanar project; what would be it’s out put in MW? And how much would a bunch of rooftop projects cost that had equivalent MW output?

            Would the cost of a single large scale installation be greater or less than the equivalent (in MW) number of rooftop installations?

          • Benett Kessler August 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

            Ken it’s 200 megawatts and one million panels.

          • Go Solar August 18, 2013 at 9:56 am #

            Boy you sometimes seem to be living under a rock.
            Have you not driven 395.
            Dude it’s mostly desolate , Nothing , for miles. DWP chooses to build there PV plant near a Historic site. 200 miles from where LA needs the power. Certainly DWP could find a different location.

            As far as rooftop PV . I will TELL YOU AS AN EXPERT! No infrastructure would be necessary by the utility to hook up PV on buildings in LA. Most ( not all) roofs do not have the Square feet of space to generate more power that the building would consume normally. Therefore the Utility would need to do nothing. However the customer ( building owner/Tennant) may need to upgrade their equipment to make the install happen.

            Now you want to talk about a huge solar farm like that of Mammoth Community WD. There was some additional upgrades necessary for the tie in due to mostly safety issues.

      • Steve August 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

        This will never be done, it just makes too much common sense.


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