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US Halts Applications For Solar Energy Projects 481

Dekortage writes "The US Bureau of Land Management, overwhelmed by applications for large-scale solar energy plants, has declared a two-year freeze on applications for new projects until it completes an extensive environmental impact study. The study will produce 'a single set of environmental criteria to weigh future solar proposals, which will ultimately speed the application process.' The freeze means that current applications will continue to be processed — plants producing enough electricity for 20 million average American homes — but no new applications will be accepted until the study is complete. Solar power companies are worried that this will harm the industry just as it is poised for explosive growth. Some note that gas and oil projects are booming in the southwestern states most favorable to solar development. Another threat looming over the solar industry is that federal tax credits must be renewed in Congress, else they will expire this year."
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US Halts Applications For Solar Energy Projects

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  • Re:aaahh, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:40AM (#23968195)

    The world needs more Ron Paul type characters.

    It needs an entire Ron Paul font. :-) Man, that was weird...

    I think is funny, because there's a good overlap between the group that is rabidly "alternative energy" and the group that wants draconian government environmental policies. I love it when thing blow up in faces like this. I have the day off, so I'm gonna go out and find an activist to laugh at. :-)

  • soak it up (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:45AM (#23968269)
    enough electricity for 20 million average American homes

    Or about 1 million Al Gore [snopes.com] type homes.

    Oops - he made some improvements [tennesseepolicy.org] last year - so make that only 900,000 homes worth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:46AM (#23968277)

    "You can still do whatever you want with private land"

    You obviously don't own any land. You have confused this with a free country.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:48AM (#23968315) Journal

    You could build a giant array of solar panels over area covered by grass. With no sunlight, the grass dies, the rains wash away the soil, havoc commences, etc.

    You haven't seen the desert southwest, have you?

  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:54AM (#23968379) Homepage

    $800/month power bill?!

    Even in Nevada (Nevada Power has very high rates) I don't even know of anyone that comes close, even with a 7 SEER central air unit.

    Are you growing weed or something?

    With that kind of usage, I'd expect the DEA to come visit to make sure you're not!

  • by evilandi ( 2800 ) <andrew@aoakley.com> on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:22PM (#23968873) Homepage

    I have to suffer through 2 months (and counting) of 100+ degree days,

    This is probably a really dumb question, but as I Brit I have never figured out why settlers chose to live in America. I mean, the climate seems to spend half the year trying to KILL you. I've been to Boston in January and got snowed in my hotel with 6-foot/2-metre snowdrifts that arrived in ONE NIGHT. I've been to Houston in May and been stuck in my hotel lest the 48c/115f heat burn me to a frazzle. I went to California in February and they had to close the coastal highway because the sea had smashed it up.

    I don't doubt for a moment that the USA is a lovely place to live IF you have air conditioning and central heating, but when the first settlers turned up a few hundred years ago, long before climate control, exactly what made them think "This is place to live! This location is ideally suited! We shall search no further!"?

    Now I realise that the Pilgrims were essentially an extreme religious cult who got booted out of the Netherlands for being too nutty (and believe you me, the Netherlands is a pretty liberal place, getting kicked out of there really does take some doing - they must have been like Waco-quality loons). I know they also faced persecution in England for much the same thing. I also know that the British/Netherland climate of, essentially, rain rain rain, cloud, rain, does get a bit depressing, but at least the weather here never tries to KILL you. Any day of the year, anywhere in the country, you can step outside for the whole day and you won't die.

    Whereas the Pilgrims set up home in BOSTON for the WINTER?

    Then there's the wildlife. We don't have any dangerous wildlife, we shot it all, whereas you lot appear to have a country full of poisonous plants and poisonous/pointy-toothed predators. If the American weather isn't trying to kill you, there's some ivy or crocodile waiting to give you grievous pain.

    And then you sing songs about how great your country is. Sure, your people are virtually all fabulous (and anyone who says otherwise clearly hasn't met many of you personally), and ten out of ten for looking on the bright side of things, but your country is trying to kill you - how can that not introduce an element of self-doubt? How can you chaps be so religious when every time you step out of your house/car, some part of God's wonderful environment tries to nail you in the head?

    When it comes down to energy conservation, do you never hover your finger over the thermostat, hesitate and think "Wouldn't it be a lot more energy efficient if I lived somewhere else entirely?".

    (Iceland - it's the future of datacentres, believe you me.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:38PM (#23971295)

    I am an American, and I would like to answer your question. Before I begin, understand that I was born in the Bronx and raised in Upstate New York.

    In my view, New York has a temperate climate. In the winter, where I live, it gets down to about 9 degrees Fahrenheit, but that doesn't trouble us because we dress for it (my winter coat looks like the parkas from Ice Station Zebra, and in fact that's what I call it -- my Ice Station Zebra coat). In the summer, it gets up to 80 or 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a good excuse to wear shorts and sandals, and warms the water when you go to the beach. MOST of the year, it's somewhere between 50 and 70 degrees, which is very comfortable.

    Now, I DID spend two years in Arizona, where up in Flagstaff it gets down to -40 Fahrenheit in the winter, and down in Phoenix it gets up to 120 Fahrenheit in the summer (it was even 130 once) -- the two cities are only 140 miles apart. That was rough; in January, you could go from -40 in Flagstaff to 70 in Phoenix in a two hour drive! I didn't like it though; I decided to come back to live in New York, where it's more comfortable.

    So with respect to extremes of temperature, like the cold in the winter, I think that since we grew up with it, it just feels natural to us. For a New Yorker, sub-zero temperatures and a four-foot snowfall mean a day off from work and the building of snowmen outside! We LOVE that stuff. Our kids build igloos and play eskimo, you know? And the summer heat's nice; just go to the beach.

    Maybe it's a matter of toughening up over a lifetime of rough weather... It takes a lot to freak US out. Look at all the people who live in "Tornado Alley": their weather can LITERALLY kill them, but if you ask them, they say things like "Oh, sure, yeah, we get tornados sometimes. That's why we put the extra XBox down in the storm cellar! The neighbor's house went 200 feet one time -- he was in the bathtub, and he's ok, except for a little bit of a speech impediment... Here he is, hey Larry, tell 'em about that time ya went airborne..."

    The world loves to hate us, but you won't find too many folks that are actually TOUGHER than us. Russians and Australians, maybe...


  • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:38PM (#23971301)

    That storm was obviously caused by Global Warming, and therefore was the fault of the US.

  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:29PM (#23973355)
    I guess the deserts are populated with rock-huggers, so we have to ensure that these solar projects don't damage the rocks in Arizona...
  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @06:16PM (#23974843) Homepage Journal

    Tell that to the Vogons, you cock.

I've got a bad feeling about this.