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Industrial solar shortcomings


“So Shines a Good Deed” gives incomplete coverage to solar energy development and presents only one view of a rather complicated situation (HCN, 12/26/16).

Both the federal government and the article cited are avid promoters of industrial-scale solar development on public lands. In California, the total solar energy produced from installations on parking lot structures, warehouse roofs and individual homes significantly exceeds that produced by industrial-scale facilities. These distributed sources are closer to the points of use, employ local labor and are sited on already disturbed land. It is much more difficult for the federal government to promote development on private lands than on public lands, so it is understandable, but shortsighted, that the Interior Department should act as it has. It is less understandable that High Country News should accept and print such a view with no caveat.

Neither does the story mention damage to Native American artifacts, tortoise deaths due to translocation, documented avian fatalities, or the fact that the Ivanpah facility has failed to deliver the electrical power that was promised. Honest reporting ought to include a wider perspective than that shown.

Craig Deutsche
Los Angeles, California