Inyo Supervisors: revised solar development plan

inyosups4_15At 1:30pm Tuesday, Inyo Planning officials expected to show the Board of Supervisors and the public a revised Draft Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment that would be the basis of an EIR. This document is the result of heavily attended public hearings and strong statements from up to 100 people. The general sentiment was too many large-scale solar and wind development sites and too much potential for environmental and visual damage. The new plan reduces proposed development sites from 14 to 7. The new plan does include the possibility of solar development where DWP wants to build across from Manzanar, but it is not listed as an official development site.

The County’s draft plan says no wind development in the County, and it says that development will be limited to transmission line capacity of 250 megawatts. The proposed development sites include Laws, Owens Lake, Rose Valley, Pearsonville, Trona, Charleston View and Sandy Valley. Planners have set megawatt caps on each area but noted that there is a general 250 megawatt cap overall due to the available capacity in transmission lines.

Potential criteria for solar energy siting in the Owens Valley include only utilizing existing transmission facilities; guiding development to disturbed lands, including over the Los Angeles Aqueduct; considering development at solid waste and wastewater treatment facilities, on private lands, in small-scale and distributed generation arrays of 20 megawatts or less, and around communities in smaller arrays. Planners also suggest mitigation of potential impacts to the environment, society, culture and economy of the County as well as working to avoid significant alterations to visual resources.

Planners have proposed a schedule of public meetings and an environmental review process that will lead to a final Programmatic Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan Amendment. The Board of Supervisors final consideration public hearing would take place in the fall or winter.

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26 Responses to Inyo Supervisors: revised solar development plan

  1. Ken Warner May 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    May 9 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama announced steps on Friday to increase the use of solar panels, boost energy efficiency in federal buildings and train more people to work in the renewable energy field.

    “It’s the right thing to do for the planet,” Obama said, standing in the outdoor lighting display section of a WalMart store that features roof-top solar panels and a charging station for electric vehicles, among other energy-saving retrofits.

    The president used the stop to show how major corporations have committed to increasing the generation of solar power at their facilities. Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Apple Inc , Yahoo Inc, Google Inc and Ikea were among the companies that have made such commitments.

    Obama made the announcement at the end of a three-day California swing mostly devoted to raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Democratic Party.

    The president and administration officials have spent much of this week highlighting their concern about climate change and the need to take steps to address the change. Friday’s announcement fit into that policy agenda.

    “The sooner we work together to adapt the economy to this reality of climate change, the more likely it is that we do right by our kids, and leave a more stable world,” Obama said at what the chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., Bill Simon, said was the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to one of his stores.

    Obama said an additional $2 billion would be devoted to energy efficiency upgrades to federal government buildings over the next three years.

  2. Ben Holgate May 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Inyo County may currently be the greenest County in the USA. I have yet to see evidence otherwise. Approximately 1/3 of Inyo’s energy needs are offset by hydro plants. Coso Geothermal produces up to 3000% of our usage (it is carbon neutral, so the CEC considers it to be renewable). Our County government has made offsetting local government energy usage a priority and has installed substantial PV arrays to do just that. As a percentage of our County governments usage, Inyo is a national leader! An additional 40 acres of distributed PV, including some feed in tariff installation on the built environment, would be enough to offset all of the energy usage for Inyo yet again.

    It is high time for some of you, who are broken records on this subject and let the real NIMBYS (LADWP) off the hook, to explain why this isn’t enough. Please come up with a list of the top 10 greenest countys in the USA and prove me wrong. Or put a sock in it.

    • Ken Warner May 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      If Inyo County can do more — why not do more? I’m glad Inyo Co. has done so much — why not do more? Renewable energy is a clean industry that dovetails perfectly with tourism — why not do more?

      Businesses are failing in both Inyo and Mono Counties. How many have to fail before you figure out that tourism does not provide the economic “sustainability” necessary for a stable economy?

      Renewable Energy Resources In Inyo County

      This paper has been prepared by the Inyo County Planning Department to present evidence to support additional Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) in Inyo County in California’s Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI). Additionally, as suggested at the RETI Stakeholder Steering Committee (SSC) on November 3,2009, County representatives are requesting that potential renewable energy applicants interested in resource development in the County relay their pursuits to appropriate representatives on the SSC.


      As indicated, Inyo County provides excellent existing and potential renewable energy resources. Existing transmission rights-of-way provide for existing and potentially expanded capacity to convey renewable energy from and through the County to major markets to the south. Interest in renewable energy development in Inyo County exists, and these superior resources should be utilized to diversity the nation’s energy portfolio and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Future planning efforts to achieve local, State, and federal renewable energy goals should continue to take these resources into account.

    • Ken Warner May 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      BTW: I guess the only public input you want is that input which agrees with you. Your reluctance to accept diverging opinion only shows the weakness of your opinion.

      Fragility when faced with dissenting opinion and hostility in delivering rebuttals are a sure sign of a weak position. This discussion has mutated from a discussion about the impact of the Solar Ranch on Manzanar to a claim that the “…whole valley will be destroyed ” …argument which is clearly vulnerable to easy criticism.

      You and your friends may prevail — but it won’t be for the best of the whole population of Inyo County.

      • Benett Kessler May 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

        What does it say about your opinion that you are not accepting a divergent view?

        • Ken Warner May 6, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

          It says that Holgate did not present a definitive and final argument to the discussion and wanted to discuss the issue further. Who would accept an incomplete argument?

          To his point of presenting a list of the top 10 greenest counties in the USA — that is impossible for me to do because the term “Greenest” has so many definitions. I will leave it to Holgate to provide that list as proof that he is right and Inyo County is what he claims it is.

          “It is high time for some of you, who are broken records on this subject and let the real NIMBYS (LADWP) off the hook, to explain why this isn’t enough. Please come up with a list of the top 10 greenest countys in the USA and prove me wrong. Or put a sock in it.” — Ben Holgate

      • Ben Holgate May 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

        I’m just clarifying your position Ken Warner. You believe, that although Inyo County is the greenest County in the USA, it is selfish of Inyo residents to deny industrial development here. Even though the “green” development being proposed is outdated, inefficient and invasive. Do I have that right?

        • Ken Warner May 6, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

          1) Define what you mean by “greenest”.
          2) Prove that Inyo is the “greenest” county in the U.S. with real numbers to back up your claim.
          3) What are your solutions for development of renewable energy that is not outdated, inefficient and invasive? Do you have some new technology that is better than the available technology? Or is your solution to not build anything?

          You and your group don’t want one or more big PV sites but you are eager for a hundreds of small sites everywhere — point of use sites I believe you call them — which are outdated, inefficient and invasive.

          Think about 200 Megawatts of PV panels — the equivalent of the Solar Ranch — distributed all across the valley along with all the necessary supporting hardware at each site. Distributed power generation has never been practical because that simply distributes the cost to the public, maintenance problems and the necessary support hardware. Also, not every site is suitable especially for solar photovoltaic.

          And I don’t believe that not pursuing renewable energy is selfish — it’s just shortsighted given the economy of both Inyo and Mono counties. You and your group are willing to let other parts of the U.S. supply your electricity but think you have no obligation to the country as a whole to do everything that can be done. Even the Inyo County Planning Department thinks Inyo County has great potential for generating renewable energy. But you and your group have taken an opposing position founded only on the supposed destruction of the viewshed.

          You and your group offer no real, practical solutions. Don’t point to generation that you had nothing to do with. All you can do is say no because you don’t like the way it looks. But what you are really doing is opposing anything that LADWP does even if you hurt the people of your county by denying the positive effect on the local economy of an industry that is a perfect fit to the existing tourist industry. You are the selfish ones. You seem to think you speak for all the residents of Inyo County. Do you really?

          Have I got that right?

        • Trouble May 7, 2014 at 5:59 am #

          Ben, I find it hard to believe Inyo County can be called one of the greenest counties in the country? If it is, I would guess it’s only due to all our resources. L.A. already bleeds us of our # one resource ,`water. Inyo County has done little until now to stop the big boys from taking what they want and really need.

          • Bob May 7, 2014 at 8:53 am #

            With all the wood burning fireplaces I’d hardly call Inyo County one of the greenest counties. There’s the Coso power plant that could be considered green and that’s about it, other than DWP and SCE’s hyrdo power generation sites.

            Perhaps I’m missing something

          • Joe May 8, 2014 at 7:15 am #

            Yeah, Bob, you’re missing something. Wood burning fires are “green”. Wood is a renewable resource unlike coal, nat gas, propane and oil. Burning wood simply recycles back to the earth what the trees used to grow. When people burn more than is being grown, they become “ungreen”. On the eastside we’re still “green”.

      • Philip Anaya May 7, 2014 at 7:46 am #

        Mr. Warner ,
        There is a need on this earth to have some places for people to view the wonder of the creation and evolution of the Earth . There is still alot of that available here in the Eastern Sierra. There is still a lot to learn about the evolution and the creation. There are many places for the sustainable renewable energy development but there is only one Eastern Sierrra , one Owens Valley. If you don’t appreciate the empty spaces and have a need to fill them up with industrial development than you should consider another location for those enterprises because we are not going to let that occur here. There are alternatives places , alternative methods that are far better suited than square miles of the Owens Valley being filled with anything other than what is there now. Mr. Warner, did you forget the song, Pave paradise, put up a parking lot .

        • Mongo the Idiot May 7, 2014 at 9:26 am #

          Dear Friend…
          What about the Don Henley song “Call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye”

          I am not a NIMBY, the world is my back yard and there are places in my back yard where solar fields are appropriate.
          Those places are not between the highest and lowest spots in North America.
          Those places are not in a watershed used by one of the worlds largest metro areas.
          In those places there are no Elk, National Monuments, Multicultural sites, Parks, or Preserves.
          Lets leave the solar project where it is, in the narcissistic soul whose business is power without regard to consequence.

          • Wayne Deja May 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

            …now THAT is a great post,Mongo….your not an idiot….

          • Ken Warner May 8, 2014 at 9:17 am #

            Yeah, but in the mean time, keep using electricity from places like these to post your poetic musings because. “What? Me worry?”


          • Mongo the Idiot May 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

            You imply my poetry is lacking,
            I won’t let this hurt me,
            I agree I am happiest with my head in the clouds,
            I won’t belittle you with my words,
            Two wrongs do not make a right,
            Two wrongs still makes two wrongs,
            Why can’t we get it right,
            Neither of us has to be wrong,
            Neither of us has to be right,
            At the end of the day,
            We will stand in the same place,
            With or without hurt feelings,
            With or without more scars on the earth,
            When we arrive at that spot,
            I want it to be beautiful.
            I want our spirits to soar,
            As we realize that we were both wrong,
            And that we were both right.
            And that we both wanted the same thing,
            For now,
            Lets loosen our ties,
            Instead of severing them,
            So we can complete the journey,
            And not waste our days,

        • Ken Warner May 7, 2014 at 9:40 am #

          Philip: “…we are not going to let that occur here…” Have you really looked around you? Do you really think a 1200 acre site is “…square miles of the Owens Valley being filled with anything other than what is there now…”. The Solar Ranch site — which you and your friends have killed — wouldn’t even have been seen by most people in the Owens Valley and would have been seen only for a few minutes when driving North on 395. It’s being replaced by miles of snaking solar panels over and beside the aqueduct, which if built, is guaranteed to be seen by thousands of people daily. Real good choice.

          You and the others who have decided to just say, “NO!” keep making these imaginary scenarios that sound more like a Hollywood dystopian movie.

          First you worried about the impact of the Solar Ranch on the ethos of Manzanar when viewed by someone at Manzanar. That rapidly grew into concern that if anybody saw it from anywhere, their sensitive natures would be forever lost.. And where would they walk their dog?

          Now its become an argument about what county is the “Greenest” in the USA. I can’t keep up with the shapeshifter arguments.

          What do you think you are saving the people of the Owens Valley from? Do you think you are preserving a time long past for future generations? Your vision of the East Side is imagining a pristine era that hasn’t existed for decades.

          What about industrial size tourism which causes more degradation to both Inyo and Mono Counties? You are simply fantasizing about some ideal imaginary World and not offering any rational arguments. This isn’t a song and you are not in the chorus.

          • Benett Kessler May 7, 2014 at 11:32 am #

            I will just point out that it was you who decried not accepting other points of view.

            Also, the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch is not scuttled. So far, DWP is still pursuing it.
            Inyo County excluded that area in its General Plan Amendment, but it’s not at all clear that this
            would be a show stopper. BK

          • Ken Warner May 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

            Benett: Thank you for pointing that out. I should have said something like considered or cogent or worth discussing. Accept is too harsh.

            Now about the Solar Ranch: If it’s excluded from the GPA but it still may go forward — what’s all the meetings and drama about? What will happen if it does get built? And does that also mean that wind turbines may be installed? They are excluded also but if the Solar Ranch can still go forward after all this discussion, why would wind turbines not be included?

            Further, since the outgoing transmission lines only have 250 MW of available capacity and the Solar Ranch produces 200 (or more) MegaWatts, that pretty much excludes future development. Right? Wrong?

            This whole discussion gets vaguer and less defined weekly.

          • Benett Kessler May 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

            That’s true about the megawatt capacity. The Supervisors admitted that control over all this is vague and they are doing the best they can to give the County a position with local regulations.

          • Philip Anaya May 7, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

            Mr. Warner,

            So gather your friends together, collectively advocate for a common purpose for a vision, for the future . Maybe however you will find that if you first have a purpose and a vision that others can share that you will be able to join with them and then maybe then will you find a friend and another friend and soon your voices can also be heard.
            My eyes feasted today driving to Los Angeles for about 2 hours . After that the City and it’s race to oblivion becomes apparent . Not only does the Owens Valley contain the handprint of the earth as it has evolved it also contains a population of folks who might not know one another ,still wave from the truck or auto to say hell-o instead of hoisting the universal anger hand sign as they roar on down the road. The earth works wonders on those who are fortunate enough to dwell here. Opening your eyes will eventually open your heart whenever you are 395 bound in the Owens Valley. Compare that to a taste of the 405 . You just might learn to enjoy and appreciate the Inyo a whole lot better.

        • Ken Warner May 8, 2014 at 10:28 am #

          Philip: You’re my friend. And you are looking at the World though glasses of convenience that don’t let you see the cost of your little paradise. Your idyllic drive had a cost. Much of the gas you used came from Mexico. And getting that oil does not treat your paradise kindly. Same with the electricity you use.

          There’s no free lunch….

  3. Ken Warner May 6, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Inyo County does not get a free pass because it’s not SoCal. What we do here does matter to the rest of the World.

    “Climate change is here and now, and not in some distant time or place,” said Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, one of the authors of the 1,100-page National Climate Assessment (NCA), the largest, most comprehensive U.S.-focused climate change report ever produced.

    “The choices we’re making today will have a significant impact on our future,” Hayhoe said.

  4. The Aggressive Progressive May 6, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    True that!
    Good job OV/Inyo Co.
    The last time I felt this good about democracy was when Barack made his claim at the Whitehouse…but we all know it was down hill after the inauguration… betrayed his progressive base in major ways, while he blows kisses to the banking/investment industries, you know, like how Bush (dubya) was to the oil industry.
    Thanks Rick, Jeff, Matt, Mark and Linda!

  5. Ken Warner May 5, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    If the same public gave input to Tesla when he was promoting 60 HtZ electricity transmission, we’d all have candle powered monitors.

  6. chris May 5, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Inyo Co. planners, thanks for listening to the people!


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