If climate change is the dire threat the Left portrays it to be, then the largest county in ultra-left-wing California is definitely not setting the example: Officials from San Bernardino County just killed the construction of a mega solar farm, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"California's largest county has banned the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land, bending to the will of residents who say they don’t want renewable energy projects industrializing their rural desert communities northeast of Los Angeles," the outlet reports.
The ban passed the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors 4-1, putting up a serious barrier for state lawmakers, who passed a law requiring utility companies to produce 60% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 and 100% from "climate-friendly" sources by 2045. Those measures cannot be enacted without the cooperation of local governments, the populations of which rarely support big solar and wind farms ruining their communities. More from the L.A. Times:
The policy approved by the supervisors prohibits utility-oriented renewable energy projects — defined as projects that would mostly serve out-of-town utility customers, rather than local power needs — within the boundaries of Community Plans that have been adopted by more than a dozen unincorporated towns. Construction of utility-oriented solar and wind farms would also be banned in so-called Rural Living zones. Solar projects that are already going through the permitting process would still be allowed to proceed.
Solar developers such as First Solar and Clearway Energy pleaded with the supervisors to see the economic benefits of the solar farm, to no avail.
Justin Lanford, president of the San Bernardino County chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said the county is preventing job creation. "They’re temporary construction jobs, but that’s what we make our livelihood off of. And to put language in there that strictly prohibits these projects from going forward would be irresponsible," he told the L.A. Times.
But local residents say that solar and wind farms destroy areas like Dagget, Joshua Tree and Lucerne Valley by turning the landscape into eyesores. Sara Fairchild, a resident of Pioneertown, has been working to have California Highway 247 turned into a designated state scenic highway to boost the local economy; she says that would all fall apart in the face of a mega solar farm.
"These vast open areas are precious for their natural, historical and recreational qualities. But they are fragile, and no amount of mitigation can counter the damage that industrial-scale renewable energy projects would cause," Fairchild told the supervisors. "Once destroyed, these landscapes can never be brought back."
Supervisor Robert Lovingood said the county would be "spitting" in residents' faces if it did not implement the ban.
In addition to being eyesores, both wind farms and solar farms have earned a reputation for being highly efficient bird-killing machines. According to Science Alert, the Ivanpah Solar Plant in California’s Mojave Desert incinerates up to 6,000 birds that fly over the deathly heat rays a year.
To catch sunlight, the plant uses 5 square miles (12.9 square kilometres) of giant mirrors that focus beams of concentrated sunlight onto three different 40-storey-tall towers.
Once the beams are focused on the towers, their energy can be used to power turbines inside, which generates energy for the power grid.
The problem is that all this concentrated light around the towers makes them a prime location for insects to hang around, and this attracts the birds. When the birds cross in front of all that concentrated light to get at the insects, they burn up in seconds.