Letter to the editor: Call for open meetings on DWP solar project

National Park Service photo of solar site as seen from Manzanar.

National Park Service photo of solar site as seen from Manzanar.

Dear Editor:

In recent news reports, Inyo County CAO Kevin Carunchio is quoted as saying the county’s “first and foremost” concern with DWP’s proposed project is impacts to “local services” such as law enforcement and housing. As a result, county staff negotiated terms of a potential MOU to offset some — but not all — of the project’s potential impacts to local services.

I always thought the scope of county government’s concern was supposed to be the entire county, not just “local services.” Judging by terms of the proposed MOU, those of us who value our spectacular natural and cultural landscapes, open space, clean air, and native plants and animals apparently weren’t represented by county staff’ in the secret negotiations with DWP.

According to Carunchio, the terms of the MOU didn’t represent, “an automatic kowtow to LA” but rather, “prudence based on experience with BrightSource.” I would like to believe this is true, but history suggests otherwise. I will leave it to readers to recall the numerous examples of Inyo County kowtowing to DWP, rather than taking up space listing my own favorites.

In my comments at the August 6 Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the proposed MOU I stated that the county should seek to partner with other groups to oppose DWP’s ill-considered project rather than acquiescing. Mr. Carunchio himself mentioned this possibility of collaboration in opposition to the project in his subsequent comments to the Board.

According to news reports, the Manzanar Committee, Manzanar National Historic Site, and the Lone Pine and Big Pine Tribes are already on record opposing the project. We can now add the Owens Valley Committee as well, which voted unanimously at its last board meeting to oppose industrial-scale solar in Owens Valley. I urge Mr. Carunchio to follow through with this proposal to collaborate before it is too late. Instead of secret meetings with DWP let there be open meetings with interested parties as soon as possible. I suggest many individuals and groups would wish to participate in addition to the ones listed above.

Daniel Pritchett

Bishop, CA


71 Responses to Letter to the editor: Call for open meetings on DWP solar project

  1. Daris September 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    I agree there have been too many closed session meetings on matters that concern the voters of Inyo County. Come on Supervisors try to be transparent and put all the facts and concerns before the public.

  2. Eastside Dweller September 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    If the county decides to support this boondoggle, it should push that all temporary jobs should be filled by qualified local workers before importing workers from elsewhere. This would cause the least impact to local services and the most benefit to local families and economies. There will be a core of permanent skilled DWp workers that will fill existing lodging and if as many locals as possible are hired, they can support the households they already have.

    If DWP claims there are not enough qualified workers here, we must push them to support local school and entry level training programs such as they help provide to LA citizens. These entry level jobs could lead to skilled positions and make a huge difference for our youth, underemployed, and community. This would also benefit DWP and in having a local labor pool for future projects. This is just the start, and if we go this path we need to reap the benefit along with the costs. All others interested in solar development here should be required to invest in local training also.

    As I have posted elsewhere, I do not think this project is wise. If it proceeds, we need to get the most from it.

    • Ken Warner September 14, 2013 at 8:32 am #

      I’ve been saying for years that education should be one of the three pillars of the economy of the entire East Side.

      Maybe Inyo and Mono counties should get together to create educational programs that prepare the young people coming out of high school for 21’st century jobs like renewable energy. Unless they prefer burger flipping

      Waiting for a project to be announced before beginning an educational program is way to late. LADWP — regardless of what you or I think of them — cannot wait for people to be trained to the necessary skill levels. A SKILLED labor pool will bring more projects like this to the area. And that’s not as bad as being dependent on money from L.A. tourists.

      You have illuminated the shortsightedness of the governments of both counties. And regardless of what others think, solar energy capture in one form or another is going to be a big industry in the Owens Valley and the surrounding area. Get ready for it by getting educated and skilled to be employed in the industry. You can’t get skilled in a day. It takes a while.

      You snooze — you loose…

      • Eastside Dweller September 15, 2013 at 12:17 am #

        Even if too late on this project, and I do not think it is entirely, this is the perfect time to start training programs and negotiate for DWP and Union support. Much of this work is low and semi-skilled and will be done with helpers and “Utility Pre Craft Trainees” I believe. The construction of the supporting structure and mounting of panels can be done by folks with knowledge of hand tools and basic mechanical skills. Connecting the panels electrically and building the substation will require journey person level skills as will some of the structure construction. There will be plenty of just plain old honest
        labor with a shovel and a broom, driving parts, pulling fence etc.

        DWP will have a core of skilled and semi skilled permanent workers and hire temporary skilled and semi skilled ones off Union books in LA to cover the peak of labor needed for construction. One of these positions will probably be the UPCT that is considered a pre-entry level job and qualifies one to apply for some permanent positions.

        Utility Pre Craft Trainee program is sponsored by IBEW local union 18 and DWP. Inyo needs to ask for help for the same program here and to set up a local hiring hall for a portion of these skilled and entry jobs. Hell, they need to demand all the temporary jobs be offered locally first for a year and negotiate from there. Don’t worry, what we can’t fill will be filled in LA within a day.

        In the meantime get your ass to LA, take one of the classes offered and tell Inyo County, DWP and the Union to put you on the top of the list because this is YOUR HOOD!

        PS. Remember that this project will probably start a year late and last three times as long as estimated, so there still might be time. Try Los Angeles Trade Technical College and remember that LA gives preference to City sponsored classes.

      • Desert Tortoise September 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

        You are apparently unaware of the wind turbine academy taught by Cerro Coso Community College. it is a six month program teacing the maintenance of big wind turbines and it is booked pretty solid due to high demand for that skill. The program is very well regarded.

        • Eastside Dweller September 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

          I have heard it is a good course. The City of LA gives preference to it’s own courses and residents, so I was pointing out ways to work for DWP locally and maybe on this solar project.

          • Desert Tortoise September 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

            If I were an LA City Council member voting to authorize this spending, I would demand as much LA based labor and material purchases as possible. Keep in mind the LA rate payer is not doing this for you, they are doing it for them. They have a strong motivation to spend their tax money on their own, which is perfectly reasonable.

          • Eastside Dweller September 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

            City of LA has the duty and right to take care of their own citizens first. We have nothing to say about how they do business in their city. When they cross the county line to do business here in Owens Valley they are a land and business owner, not a governing body. Into County can and does demand things from land and business owners.

            My question to you, Desert Tortoise, is what would you demand as a Inyo County Supervisor?

          • Mongo The Idiot September 18, 2013 at 8:26 am #

            As county supervisor, Mongo would find a way to educate everyone in LA about the destructive exploitation their city has caused to the Inyo.
            * LA drained 100 square mile Owens Lake.
            * High country lakes are dangerously low.
            * Elk habitat and open space are being threatened.
            Mongo would also solicit public comment for proposed county ballot measures to highly tax and regulate foreign utilities doing business in the county.
            Mongo would attempt to represent the majority who reside in the community.
            Mongo would need a bullet proof vest and body guard.

  3. Mongo The Idiot September 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    This is a true story, only the name was changed to protect the guilty.
    Mongo drove up 395 today from LA. Mongo was very sad because of the stress of city life and wasn’t sure he would be able to enjoy the weekend. Then it happened; Mongo entered the Owens Valley at 5pm and tuned his radio to 92.5, it was as if someone instantly filled Mongo’s soul with hope, beauty, and energy. Not only were the clouds and mountains beautiful but 92.5 was playing some of the neatest old songs that Mongo ever heard. Then they started playing some weird stuff or forgotten tracks from old folk albums that Mongo also loved; the hairs stood up on Mongo’s arms and a tear of hope varnished his ear to ear grin. Then just as Mongo drove by Manzanar he looked to the south east and imagined the “solar ranch”. Just then miraculously 92.5 played a song with words about a broken clock stuck at 6:30 across from the singers apartment in New York. Mongo thinks the “solar ranch” will be a broken clock within his lifetime and hopes the powers that be rethink the placement. I hope there is a valley somewhere that is not on a scenic byway for this project. How far will Mongo (or other idiots like him) have to go to get away from the clutter of man if they put this in? Can’t they hide it somewhere that will have less of a visual impact on one of the last unprotected yet unspoiled places on earth?
    Mongo does not want to climb Williamson and have to explain what the big black scar is to his grandchildren. If they do put it in I think it should have a 1200 acre DWP logo incorporated into it so it will be self explanatory to people at higher elevations.
    Pretty please??

  4. Eastern Sierra Local September 14, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Interesting comment however, Mr Pritchett is a vehement opponent of LADWP and ANYTHING DWP proposes to do in the Owens Valley is always met with his opposition.
    The Owens Valley Committee is made of of individuals mostly hand selected by Mr. Pritchett and his partner Sally Manning so their “official” opposition to the project is specious at best.
    Why on Earth would people who are in such support of green technology and even drive a hybrid vehicle be against a project that will generate renewable energy in the area?
    I wouldn’t call this project “Ill conceived,” I would call it “required by mandate from the State of California.”
    While DWP hasn’t been a friend to the Owens Valley for most of it’s 100 year history, the reality is that DWP inadvertently maintained the Valley in a undeveloped and relatively natural state allowing people like Mr. Prichett to continue to enjoy the Valley’s “spectacular natural and cultural landscapes, open space, clean air, and native plants and animals.”
    From reading the environmental document (which I did) I see very few impacts other than a visual concern and even that compared to the Inyo County General Plan is minimal.

    • Benett Kessler September 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

      You and Mr. Pritchett have different views, but that’s not the point. His letter calls for open meetings and discussion on the solar project. Open government is what our
      nation should be about whenever it can be. That’s where citizens’ views are represented – in public meetings with their elected officials.
      Benett Kessler

      • Eastside Dweller September 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

        This thread of discussion shows the need for open meetings. SW should be reporting on these comments being brought to the Board, and not just here.

        • Benett Kessler September 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

          This website is news reporting.
          Benett Kessler

          • Eastside Dweller September 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

            Meant that there should be more open meetings for us to comment in and you to report on.

          • Benett Kessler September 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

            Gotcha. We love open meetings.

    • Eastside Dweller September 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Yes, utilities are under mandates from the Feds and State. (Whether or not they make ecological, business or common sense). Please show me the mandate to use this specific technology in this specific way in this specific place.

      • Eastern Sierra Local September 16, 2013 at 8:05 am #

        In 2002, California established its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program, with the goal of increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the state’s electricity mix to 20 percent of retail sales by 2017. The 2003 Integrated Energy Policy Report recommended accelerating that goal to 20 percent by 2010, and the 2004 Energy Report Update further recommended increasing the target to 33 percent by 2020. The state’s Energy Action Plan supported this goal. In 2006 under Senate Bill 107, California’s 20 percent by 2010 RPS goal was codified. The legislation required retail sellers of electricity to increase renewable energy purchases by at least 1 percent per year with a target of 20 percent renewables by 2010. Publicly owned utilities set their own RPS goals recognizing the intent of the legislature to attain the 20 percent by 2010 target.

        On November 17, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-14-08 requiring that “…[a]ll retail sellers of electricity shall serve 33 percent of their load with renewable energy by 2020.” The following year, Executive Order S-21-09 directed the California Air Resources Board, under its AB 32 authority, to enact regulations to achieve the goal of 33 percent renewables by 2020.

        In the ongoing effort to codify the ambitious 33 percent by 2020 goal, SBX1-2 was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., in April 2011. In his signing comments, Governor Brown noted that “This bill will bring many important benefits to California, including stimulating investment in green technologies in the state, creating tens of thousands of new jobs, improving local air quality, promoting energy independence, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

        This new RPS preempts the California Air Resources Board’s 33 percent Renewable Electricity Standard and applies to all electricity retailers in the state including publicly owned utilities, investor-owned utilities, electricity service providers, and community choice aggregators. All of these entities must adopt the new RPS goals of 20 percent of retails sales from renewables by the end of 2013, 25 percent by the end of 2016, and the 33 percent requirement being met by the end of 2020.

        • Eastside Dweller September 16, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

          Yes, utilities are under mandates from the Feds and State. Please show me the mandate to use this specific technology in this specific way in this specific place.

      • Mark September 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

        Totally not appropriate in the scenic Owens valley. Don’t be fooled (again and again) by DWP.

    • Mary Roper September 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      I am an Owens Valley Committee Board Member and I can assure Mr. “Eastern Sierra Local” that I was not “hand picked” by Mr. Pritchett, Ms. Manning or anybody else. My purpose for serving on this board is to do my part in making sure that the 1991 Inyo/LA Water Agreement that my Dad helped negotiate is adhered to. The track record has not been good.
      Everybody who loves this Valley should be a member of the Owens Valley Committee. Upholding a legally binding Agreement is the right thing to do.

    • Philip Anaya September 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      You are correct ESLocal. “DWP has inadvertantly maintained the Owens Valley in a undeveloped and relativley natural state.” however this has allowed “Everyone” who is fortunate enough to come here “to enjoy the Valley’s spectacular natural and cultural landscapes,open space,clean air and native plants and animals.” There is nothing inadvertant about people like Daniel Pritchard and so many others who over these 100 years worked tirelessly, stood with each other and Mother Earth to preserve this Owens Valley and even restore a river. Without them the LADWP would have had pumped this Valley dry and had worse problems to mitigate than Owens Dry Lake dust. They did it so that our “grandkid’s grandkid’s grandkids” would also one day experience an Owens Valley that is undeveloped and in a relative natural state. The future is now . We need to Save the Owens Valley.
      Daniel signs his name. I sign my name and I hope one day you’ll introduce yourself and will find a way to change your mind about the future of this place. Residential and small scale commerical PV renewable energy has a place in this Valley , but industrial PV development needs to be sited in the best appropriate places. Two square miles of glaring glass is not an appropriate viewshed for the Owens Valley nor is it the best place for solar radiation being in a north south narrow valley with parallel high mountain ranges. There are over 200 miles of possible alternative sites along the Inyo- Rinaldi transmission line. LADWP are masters at finding and purchasing empty acreages . Let them apply those skills and expertise for their mandated requirements and don’t forget that they have other mandates that are required of them such as the release and sale of DWP parcels in our towns for our own small growth and development . Construction professionals and business’s here in the Valley might appreciate building a few new homes for some folks every now and then and our tourist industries will only thrive with this Project located elsewhere outside the Valley.

      • Eastside Dweller September 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

        P.A., you come off as elitist and NIMBY when you suggest DWP just move the project down the road. That is up to DWP and the citizens down the road that may value their view or have other concerns. Our concern is what happens in our hood.

        DWP did put the agreed parcels up for auction and sold maybe 3 of 20+. There will be another auction, so maybe you and I should put our money where our mouth is, buy some parcels, and build some solar powered homes as an example.

  5. Philip Anaya September 14, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Our Inyo Board of Supervisors would be derelict to it’s responsibilities to Owens Valley if they consider a DWP Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) without first taking into account a Final site specific EIR. Open and public meetings and input into the Environmental Review process is made even more necessary by the fact that the Draft EIR, which has been crafted and paid for by the LADWP, is incomplete and in many peoples opinion, is biased. Important and obvious mitigation measures necessary are dealt with by the simple phrase, “No mitigation necessary.” An example;
    On page 1-7, Table 1-1 “Summary of Impacts and Mitigation Measures” the first item of 36 pages of impacts:
    AE-1 The proposed Project would not have a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista. The Draft EIR answer is , “Less than Significant. No mitgation is required”

    There will be 2 square miles of reflecting solar panels which will be oriented 20 degrees to the south and Manzanar being to the southwest will be seriously effected by the day long refraction of sunlight off the surface of the panels. It will be worse in the morning hours. Mazanar being 130 feet higher in elevation and the downslope project site east of the Lower Owens River, the tilting of the project towards the west (towards Manazar) makes this a serious “adverse effect on a scenic vista” for the Historic Site of Manzanar and for everyone else traveling north on Highway 395.
    This deficiency is only one example of many others that appears in the Draft EIR. It is hard to believe that planning professionals could make such an error. It is most probable that the Draft EIR was prepared for the earlier proposed Project locations and the LADWP is most interested in expediting the new location approval, even with a deficient EIR.They apparently have little or no respect for the California Environmental Quality Act. The scoping of the project at this particular site has not included vital public input and that is another reason for the Board of Supervisiors to not approve a MOU until the EIR Document addresses the new Project Site in an adequete and required fashion. I would hate to see the County of Inyo to become once again embroiled in needless and costly litigation. The County needs to do a complete and proper assessment of this project in this latest location before signing any MOU with the City of Los Angeles DWP

    • Desert Tortoise September 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      There is no glare from solar panels. They are dark in color and not very reflective. You are thinking of the mirrors used to reflect sunlight into a point source for heating water into steam, such as those used at Kramer Junction or the small pilot plant immediately north of Lancaster along Sierra Highway.

      The best analogy to this solar field would be the one on either side of Hwy 138 west of Lancaster. None of the panels are taller than the six foot chain link fence surrounding it, and with a green fabric screening material attached to the fence, the site is all but invisible from a mile away. There is no glare or reflection from the solar panels.

      Please try to avoid engaging in hysteria and stick to some facts.

      • Mark September 16, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

        The solar plant at Ave G and Sierra hwy hasn’t been operational for months. The Owens Valley is not the place for any huge solar farms. Keep it on the roof tops.

        • Desert Tortoise September 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

          I am not talking about that plant. It was a pilot project and the technology has become uncompetitive as PV prices have fallen. I am talking about a big PV array on both sides of Hwy 138 well to the east of the developed parts of Lancaster. It is much less conspicuous, so much so that from a mile or two away you hardly see it, and even directly alongside it you cannot see most of the PV panels as they are all hidden by the fence.

  6. Ken Warner September 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    If the solar panels are mounted on sun tracking mounts the efficiency of the site will be increase measurably and the reflections from the solar panels will be directed right back at the Sun.

    Problem solved.

    And constructing those sun tracking panel mounts would be a nice auxiliary business for the Owens Valley that could produce sun tracking mounts for use all over the world and employ many locals. Have at it…

    • Eastside Dweller September 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      From what I know, solar tracking is not worth the cost with panels. More useful with parabolic reflectors used in steam generation. Judging from having flown over parabolics they are much more reflective, almost blinding. Not a problem unless you want to view the valley from the crest of the Sierras at sunset as some do. Let’s not tear down our touriist industry, but use this technology in ways that coexist with and enhance it. Luckily steam generation requires water and neither the county or DWP is likely to give up any.

      Open meetings would allow this all to be hashed out in the fairest manner and set the tone for the future. Inyo needs to be much more proactive in all roads we follow.

      • Ken Warner September 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

        I find the concern about visual pollution curious because it always seems to be a bane on tourism. Yet the impact on the Owens Valley of millions of tourists every year seems never to be discussed.

        • Eastside Dweller September 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

          Not glorifying tourism, but would hate to tear down one business for another that has not proven itself. I like solar. Smaller projects near point of use is more appropriate.

          • Ken Warner September 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

            Your assessment that it’s either solar energy or tourism is fallacious for a number of reasons. Primarily because the size of the LADWP Manzanar site is a tiny dot in the Owens Valley and contrary to what some have said, the Owens Valley is not going to be covered with solar panels.

            There is the quality of hysteria in the many of the protests against the Manzanar site.

          • Mark September 16, 2013 at 9:51 am #

            Plus solar only provides temporary jobs. Once the project is over very few people are required.

          • Eastside Dweller September 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

            My assessment is that this particular use of solar will impact tourism. Smaller projects covering parking lots such as Manzanar’s and Von’s could enhance it.

      • Mark September 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

        If you we’re viewing the valley from the crest at sunset the panels on the valley floor would already be cast in the Shadow of the Sierra crest.

        • Eastside Dweller September 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

          Was talking about parabolics not panels, but you’re right about that particular angle. Sunrise from the Inyos?

    • Philip Anaya September 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

      Hey KW,
      Your idea for tracking mounts would be a mitigation measure for the issue of glare form the project. By the way everyone who has a concern and a mitgation idea for this project can send a letter via email to the LADWP 1st contact person for this project to

      Nadia.Parker@ladwp.com. The 2nd contact person for the project is charles.holloway@ladwp.com .

      Tracking mounts will help with glare in the early morning hours but by 11:30 or so will begin to be a issue. There will be soon thereafter by a more direct angle towards the southwest towards Manzanar and the northbound Scenic Highway 395 traffic. This would be a considerable amplfied effect than the fixed panels.

      • Ken Warner September 16, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

        Try it with a hand held mirror. Point the mirror right at the Sun. Where does the reflections go?

        • Eastside Dweller September 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

          Would be a good test to put up an acre of flat panels and acre of tracking panels to compare. The cost of panels has dropped to where it is less expensive to add more panels over the cost of installing and maintaining tracking. This would have to be considered if bargaining with DWP who have plenty of space.

          • Mark September 17, 2013 at 7:54 am #

            btw, they flat panels are not actually mounted flat. They face to the South, and probably 5 or 6 feet off the ground on the high side. Tracking panels are much taller especially in the winter when the sun is low. They could be as high as 15ft or more on the high side.

        • Philip Anaya September 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

          KW ,
          If you are standing anywhere within 360 degrees of the line of sight of your mirror and your eyeballs are anywhere above the mirror you will see the sunlight in the mirror. The focused direct reflection of the sun in the mirror should be back at the sun but the mirror will contain a refraction of the sunlight. If you read the Draft EIR for the Project page 2-5 “Proximity to the Lone Pine Airport” one of the issues that was a problem and caused DWP to abandon the Southern Alternative is the potential for “glint and glare”. The Southern Alternative was 6,100 feet south of the airport with the panels oriented, tilted to the south. The surfaces of the panels would not be visable from the airport and still it was a concern as airplanes tend to the come to and from airports from all directions. A mirror is inches in diameter . This project is going to be 2 square miles of visable refracting surfaces kind of like the refraction of sunlight off a lake or ocean surface augmented by the geometry of the 20 degree oriented PV panels and the downslope angle of the project site . And by the way DT, Blue oceans become golden when the sun is just right. And all day long that blue surface just shimmers and sparkles as differentiated wave and wind action interacts with the surface waters and refracts sunlight. Make no mistake, this project will have signifcant visual issues for northbound travelers on 395 and for the Manzanar Historic Site.
          Public information meetings have been scheduled for Tuesday Sept 24 starting at 6pm at Statham Hall 138 Jackson Street Lone Pine and Wednesday Sept 25 also starting at 6pm at Bishop United Methodist Church 205 Fowler Street,Bishop These meetings are to inform the public about the project and to provide an opportunity for agency reps and indivduals to submit written and oral comments . There should be additional notice in the media and everyone who cares about the future of this Valley should have a voice that is heard.

          • Ken Warner September 17, 2013 at 11:55 am #

            …alrighty then… We have to scrap the idea of solar panels because they reflect sunlight.

            And figure out what to do about that dangerous reflection off bodies of water like the ocean. Maybe we should curtail trans-oceanic flights until you come up with a perfect solution.

          • Desert Tortoise September 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

            These are not mirrors! They are PV arrays and are a deep dark blue color. They are not reflecive.

    • Solar Farm September 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Ken, we live full time with solar as we are off the grid. We have a solar tracker for the panels that run our water pump. It produces 40% more water in the summer and 10% more in the winter.

      The tracker was installed when solar panels cost $5.00 a watt. Panels are now $0.80 a watt so it is cheaper to purchase more solar panels and install them in a fixed array than buying a tracker to get that extra 40% in the summer. No moving parts to fix either. The trackers are very expensive.

  7. Mongo The Idiot September 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    First off, no joke!
    You guys are a whole lot smarter than Mongo.
    Ken W implies that the panels will be invisible because they are pointed at the sun.
    ES Local implies that hybrid cars should give the project an instant thumbs up and that the only negative impact is visual, therefore minimal. Mongo remembers the visual impact of cars on Los Angeles in the 60’s and 70’s; not pretty. Metaphor; Mongos hand is still burning from the last time he put it on a hot stove yet he is willing to listen to you and consider doing it again (see Albert Einstein, re: insanity)
    Please consider this scenario for Mongo as part of this discussion; Project approved, many jobs for locals during build out, long term decrease in tourism to the area due to “solar ranches” making the landscape similar to a city (altered by man).
    People come to this amazing place from all over the world for its rustic appeal as part of their Sierra experience. Is it possible that green lighting projects like these could have a negative long term affect on the valley’s long term growth industry, tourism? Also, these jobs will be short term boons for the economy, what is the impact of the terminations at the end of a project?
    The good the DWP has done is to preserve large spaces between the towns, these projects will negate the good and destroy the positive side effect of DWP.
    Can you consider that turning the valley into a series of solar ranches will drive the last nail in the coffin for the valley? The first ranch is the hardest to get approval on, after that they will fall like dominoes.
    By the way, Mongo will make bunches of money if it gets approved but would rater save the valley for his children’s children’s great great grand kids.
    This valley is unique, it is situated between two National Parks. The valley needs to be made into a special ecological zone so as to not destroy the between lands.
    Thanks for hearing Mongo’s side 😉

    • Ken Warner September 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      “You guys are a whole lot smarter than Mongo.
      Ken W implies that the panels will be invisible because they are pointed at the sun.”

      I don’t think we are smarter than you. But I wish you would learn to read with comprehension. I said the reflection from the panels — which some are concerned with — would be directed back toward the Sun with tracking mounts. Which means that the reflection from the panels would not be the concern that some think. The panels may or may not be visible. A simulation would answer the question. An easy thing to do and it would take less energy than is used up here in this blog complaining about a problem that may or may not exist.

      • Mongo The Idiot September 16, 2013 at 8:15 am #

        Thanks Ken, Mongo needs to be reminded time to time just how stupid he is.

      • Mark September 16, 2013 at 9:54 am #

        Large solar farms in the Antelope Valley do not have tracking mounts.

        Just tell Obama Eastern Sierra tourism is solar powered and Obama will supsidize the entire area.

        • Desert Tortoise September 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

          Yes, and the large solar farms in the Antelope Valley do not have a reflection problem either.

    • Eastside Dweller September 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

      MTI, I also may end up hanging my head all the way to the bank. I gave up some income to live here. Largely because of the view that leaves me in awe every day. When I look to the mountains, sky, or out over the valley it makes me right. No bigger or smaller than anyone or anything else. The wealth of living, working, and worshiping in such a cathedral is truly a godsend.

      • Mongo The Idiot September 16, 2013 at 8:28 am #

        Eastside Dweller, I love your nicely written and thoughtful post, this is just how I feel. I spent three glorious days in the shadow of giants where I was surrounded by the kindness of community. I love your description of valley life; it along with my own experience evokes images of the truly remarkable place this must have been prior to 1913. Still, a fragment of this society remains, unbroken, and unaltered. I am here to experience it before it is gone. It is truly remarkable.
        When I returned to LA last night the sense of selfishness was overpowering. I will rely on the memory of my last trip and the hope of return to sustain my soul as I fulfill my obligation.

    • Philip Anaya September 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Mongo has good brain and a even better heart .

      • Mongo The Idiot September 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        Thank You PA…
        I have lived on the earth and know its value, it is that which has filled my heart.

  8. Bobo September 15, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    Tracking mounts, problem solved 🙂

  9. Inyo Loco September 15, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Good thinking DWP! That’s another 1200 acres you don’t have to worry about keeping plants and animals alive on. Who cares about the water agreement? Why not cover the whole east side of the Owens Valley in solar panels and then pump the heck out of it. No worries, nothing left to kill anyway. Maybe put solar panels on the land that was supposed to be revegetated in 1997. Another good solution!

  10. Mongo The Idiot September 16, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    Is the purpose of this “solar ranch” to benefit Owens or Los Angeles?
    Is this project evoking the same sort of greed that caused ranchers to sell out in 1913?
    If the county needs money, why don’t the voters petition for a export water tax ballot measure?

    • Benett Kessler September 16, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Some answers – This project is to generate power for LA. Inyo might get money to cover increased service costs but not all of the costs.
      LADWP already pays taxes on its water, according to a formula LA pushed through the legislature some years ago.
      Benett Kessler

      • Eastside Dweller September 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

        DWP has historically produced enough power to exceed peak demand for it’s customers. ( Not sure about current figures). This means it has the ability to sell power at most any time. (Good for customers. Good for LA city. Lower rates, avoided Enron blackouts, etc.) So, this project’s power is not just to supply LA, but also the grid we are all connected to. (Good and bad.)

        I believe this project is mostly to achieve the renewable energy mandates spoken to by ESL above, and the city’s goal to divest from coal powered plants. ( Mostly good.)

        Just a matter if this is an unfair expense on us to benefit LA and the grid.

  11. Mongo The Idiot September 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Are there any ballot measures that Inyo residents could initiate to mitigate environmental damage and fund government through just compensation for exploited resources?

    • Benett Kessler September 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      I don’t know. Would suggest a call to the County Clerk.

      • Daris September 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

        Inyo might get a measure on the ballot but It most likely would not pass. Southern and most of Northern California have way more votes than Inyo and Mono county.

        • Mongo The Idiot September 16, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

          Darius, I’m talking about a county measure, not a state measure.

          • Daris September 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

            What good would a county measure do? Our supervisors do not make LADWP abide by the Inyo Co./ L.A. long term water agreement now. MOU states they (LA) will maintain the vegetation in the valley as it was in 1981-82. Anybody but a blind person can see how this valley is drying up.

          • Mongo The Idiot September 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

            Federal courts mandate enforcement of county, state, and federal ballot initiatives that pass. A passed initiative can take the burden of enforcement beyond local jurisdictions.
            Additionally the passing of a ballot measure makes the desire of the majority in a community known.
            This is healthy for a community; one that bands together to make their desires and concerns a matter of law.

  12. Mongo The Idiot September 16, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Mongo doesn’t understand.
    Why does Los Angeles take our life giving water away and then pollute our vistas with solar panels better suited to their own roofs?
    If our representatives are from these communities, how can they let this happen?

    • Mr. Dreysdale September 17, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Come listen to a story about a man called Mulholland.
      An ambitious engineer who couldn’t keep his ditches fed.
      Then one day he was shooting survey in Inyo.
      And down from the Sierra came tumbling H2O.
      Water that is, liquid gold, High Sierra Tea.

      Well the first thing you know inside land speculators are millionaires.
      Then Hoover said, “Your rights and treaties are no good here.”
      LA said, “Golf courses are where water ought to be.”
      So, they loaded up the aqueduct and moved to Beverly.
      Hills, that is, swimmin pools, movie stars.

      Well now it’s time to say goodbye to Mulholland and all his kin.
      And we would like to thank you for kindly droppin in.
      You’re all invited back when you gain some sanity.
      But until then you have used up our hospitality.

      High desert rat that is. Set a spell. Take your shoes off.

      Y,all come back now, y’hear? Empty your pockets before you git.

    • Desert Tortoise September 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      Simple. LA bought the land and the water rights that went with it. Moreover, they have put that water to “continuous beneficial use” which is a well defined term in western water law, meaning as long as they continue to exercise their water rights they can maintain them.

      If LA surrendered their water rights, that is called “abandonment” under western water law, and if LA did that, some other big water user could legally come in and take LAs former water rights. In fact, LA dropped the second pipe south in large part because some other water agencies were seeing LA not use all of the water it claimed in the Owens Valley and were in the process of claiming this water from LA. Not using the water you claim a right to is equivalent to abandonment.

      This is also the reason LA DWP recently sued MCWD. LA had a legal claim to the water, but MCWD was using some of the water LA claimed. If LA DWP had turned a blind eye to this, under western water law, they would have been termed to have abandoned the rights to the water MCWD was using. LA, naturally, isn’t going to walk away from one drop of water, especially when MWD stands to loose it’s entire allocation of water from the Colorado River in the near future if the drought on the lower Colorado River is not relieved in the next couple of years (Lake Meade will fall below the outlet pipes). Imperial Irrigation District and the Colorado River tribes have first call on any water on that river. Everyone else gets what is left. Water issues in the west are far larger and more complex than those affecting only the Owens Valley. Get the big picture folks.

      • Benett Kessler September 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

        LADWP did turn a blind eye to Mammoth’s water use for 60 years.
        Benett Kessler

  13. Casper Titchworth September 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    The Elk are an invasive species just like the frog eating trout. DFW is responsible for introducing both invassive species to the area.

    Solar panels could go anywhere DWP by wanting them in the Owen’s Valley just continues to proove they don’t give a damn about the area. It’s just another resource to plunder.

    • Mongo The Idiot September 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      The California Fish and Wildlife site says the Elk are native to California. There are maps of their habitat (elk covering most of California prior to the gold rush) dating to before 1840 (pristine California) on their site.
      DWP’s installation of the solar panels encroaches on the last tiny reserve devoted to these grand animals.
      Here is a quote from the site:
      Tule elk are endemic to California and the most specialized elk in North America, given that they live in open country under semi-desert conditions, whereas the species as a whole typically occupies temperate climates and utilizes heavy cover at least seasonally (McCullough, 1969).
      I had to look up endemic, here is a link:
      Where will we put the elk if we ruin their last allotment? Will elk feel comfortable enough to breed near a “solar ranch”?
      I notice reading the article that the elk were confined to the Owens area due to the destruction they caused to property on ranches. How will the solar ranch protect their panels from the elk and vice versa?
      Please help save the elk, I have only seen them twice and it was spectacular.

  14. Philip Anaya September 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Table 4.1-1. of the Draft EIR entitled “Cumulative Projects List” lists the Northland Power Independence, LLC Solar Project and the site is tucked right up between the LADWP’s Project and Mazourke Canyon Road .
    The NOP and the Initial Study have been completed but Northland Power has put the 200 mega watt 1,280 acre (2 square mile) project on hold while they negotiate with the DWP for a Transmission/Purchase Agreement according to the conversation I have just had with the Inyo Planning Dept.
    Do any of us really know what’s going on?


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