By Paul Lorenzini
Part I. Must we destroy the environment to save it?
When Jonathan Franzen wrote a provocative piece in The New Yorker earlier this year, “Climate Capture”, Chris Clarke, an influential environmental blogger in California, described it as having “walked up to a hornet’s nest and hit it with a baseball bat.” Franzen had asked the question no one has wanted to face: “Has climate change made it harder for people to care about the environment?” After identifying what he called a few “winces” Clarke concluded, “Finally. Finally, someone prominent is saying this.” By “this” Clark was referring to the growing concern that today’s environmental policies are causing unanticipated impacts that are being ignored in the name of a supposed higher good – reducing carbon emissions. As one speaks to grassroots environmentalists across the country, there is a growing sense that perhaps we are getting it wrong, perhaps we are living with an inherited environmental dogma that reflects old thinking and flawed premises.
Most would agree on the major goals of environmentalism: first, reduce carbon emissions, and second, minimize our environmental footprint as we pursue growing human needs. Current thinking on how to achieve these goals is informed by two basic premises: first, environmental solutions must “harmonize with nature”, hence the emphasis on so-called “green” renewable resources; and second, nuclear power must be opposed at all costs. Fossil fuels are to be displaced over the long term, but they take a back seat to nuclear power, like way back. There is now good reason to believe those premises are fundamentally flawed.
During the past decade, a number of leading environmentalists have already challenged the historical opposition to nuclear power, five of them being featured in a 2013 documentary by Robert Stone called “Pandora’s Promise”. Their issue was carbon and the belief we won’t achieve the kinds of reductions we need without nuclear power. We can get a sense of that challenge from The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based affiliation of 29 countries founded in 1973 to coordinated global energy policies. They have developed what they call a 450 scenario, aimed at keeping atmospheric concentrations of CO2 below 450 ppm, a level viewed by many as a tipping point for climate change.
Figure 1. Carbon emissions for the 450 scenario, World Energy Outlook 2011
Their rather startling conclusion, evident in the above figure, is just how radically current policies need to be changed. To turn the curve over we must both cut coal and hold natural gas emissions constant at present levels. Current policies are harsh on coal but they encourage more gas generation. The simple reality is that nuclear power will need to be part of the mix if we are to achieve these reductions.
And yet carbon is only one piece of the picture. In late 2014 an “Open Letter to Environmentalists”, signed by fifty-six environmental and conservation scientists from throughout the world argued the exclusive commitment to renewable resources is threatening biodiversity. They too agreed “the full gamut of electricity generation resources – including nuclear power – must be deployed if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change.” But it wasn’t just carbon that disturbed them. Based upon a study by two Australian scientists at The Environmental Institute and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, they concluded the exclusive reliance on renewable resources is doing unnecessary damage to habitat. “As conservation scientists concerned with global depletion of biodiversity,” they wrote, “proponents of (non-nuclear alternatives) typically to not admit to the difficulties of large scale use of these technologies.” In effect, the ideological impulse to “harmonize with nature” is propelling us toward resources that are unduly threatening biodiversity. Here too nuclear power, a resource they described as “by far the most compact and energy dense of sources,” needs to be part of the mix. 
For many grass-roots environmentalists, it is the biodiversity issue that rankles most. Yet the emotional, financial and political investment in the current dogma is so strong there is a collective beat down for anyone who tries to raise it. Witness the reaction to Franzen’s article. The opening salvo came from Mark Jannot, writing for the Audubon Society. Franzen had opened with an inference that, facing the global threat of climate change, we were trivializing a few thousand bird deaths in the present, with an oblique reference to the Audubon Society. It was one of Clark’s “winces”. After understandably defending the Audubon Society, Jannot charges that Franzen’s analysis is “half-baked”, “intellectually dishonest” and “based on intellectual sleight of hand,” eventually claiming the underlying concern – that climate change has raised some difficult questions — is not supported by a “shred of evidence.” Standing by with pom poms, Joanna Rothkopf, writing at Salon.com, elegantly cheered him on: “Audubon doesn’t take that kind of shit-talking from anyone”. The Guardian weighing in as well, calls Franzen’s charges “absurd”, charging that “Franzen’s claim about a conflict between conservation and climate activism” is a form a lunacy – “psychologically-driven, a product of his private prejudices, irritations and resentments.”
Ok, so let’s take a deep breath and chill. This sort of stridency misses the point, though it highlights the hair-trigger sensitivity of the issue. No one is questioning the authenticity of the Audubon Society or anyone else who has devoted themselves to environmental causes, their genuine concern for the environment, or for birds or for habitat – I don’t, and I certainly did not read Franzen that way. But they are trying to engage a reasoned dialogue about a growing angst among grassroots environmentalists over impacts they are seeing and the reluctance of major environmental groups to take them seriously, all in the name of “saving the planet”. It’s a simple question: are we really saving the planet? Are these the right steps to reduce carbon? And have we allowed ideology to blind us to a most basic environmental issue – minimizing our footprint on the ecology?
Environmentalists versus environmentalism
Laura Jackson, raised on a wooded 300-acre farm in southwestern Pennsylvania, gained a respect and appreciation for nature at a very early age. She eventually served as a high school teacher in environmental science for 38 years, joined the Audubon Society in the 1970’s, the Sierra Club a little later, and other environmentally focused groups such as the Nature Conservancy. “I’ve developed an environmental ethic, a concern for habitat and species,” she says, “which I’ve tried to instill in my students, especially in the environmental science classes I’ve taught.”
Her curriculum included an emphasis on renewable energy, the importance of wind and solar and “how great they are”, as she puts in now in a moment of reflection. Today she has become a skeptic. Her earlier teachings on wind and solar, she says, were “basically just superficial reading that I had done and not gone into much depth.” She was doing what every good environmentalist was supposed to do, what every major national environmental group had insisted we must do to assure sustainable, environmentally friendly sources of energy for the future while combating climate change. She was, she thought, embracing a “clean” and “green” future.
All of that began to change when she learned in 2005 that major wind projects were being planned for a local mountain range “about 20 miles north of where I live – not in my backyard but in the county where I live. I got his sick feeling in my stomach because I knew that was not an appropriate site for any type of energy development – very steep slopes, very rocky soil, and there would have to be a lot of damage to the habitat.” It prompted her to dig deeper and as she did, she describes herself as “blown away … I had never seen pictures of wind projects built on mountains and what had to be done to move the earth, to remove the natural vegetation and to change the whole topography to put in a project.” Eventually she mobilized local opposition, including local chapters of the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club and was able to limit the damage, blocking some of the worst of them.
But the stress here is on the word “local”. The National Audubon Society and the National Sierra Club are both strong supporters of industrial wind development. While both claim they only support projects on “proper sites,” as Jackson would say, “when I ask where is it properly sited, nobody answers that question – it is very frustrating. We have these huge powerful conservation organizations that are pro-wind, and they are not being helpful at the local level.”
In the national push to pursue wind generation, ridgetop areas in the mountainous Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions have been caught in crossfire. The names are familiar – the Appalachians, Green Mountains, Catskills, Adirondacks, Blue Ridges, and Great Smokies, all evoking images of scenic areas environmentalists have historically sought to protect. Unfortunately they also have ideal wind speeds making them attractive sites for wind generators.
While the rhetoric claims this growth is being carefully managed to protect wildlife and habitat, the facts on the ground say otherwise. In Maryland, where wind projects were planned for major bird corridors along the Appalachian Mountains, legislation was passed in 2007 exempting wind projects under 70 MW from environmental reviews, hoping to nullify “a vocal minority of anti-wind extremists” and giving developers an environmental free pass. , A few years later, Governor O’Malley overrode legislation blocking a project to build 24 windmills across Chesapeake Bay, stating: “I am committed to protecting (the) Pax River because I know how critically important it is to Maryland”, but, he continued, “the real threat to the Pax River is not an array of wind turbines on the lower Eastern Shore, but rising sea levels caused by climate change.”
Farther to the north in Vermont wind turbines may ultimately be installed on as many as 200 miles of mountain ridgetops. It is all part of Vermont’s vision “to lead the nation to an energy future that relies on renewable resources.” As spelled out in their 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), Vermont is committed to producing 90% of their energy from renewable resources by 2050.
Why this push for renewables? When the plan was produced in 2011, Vermont had the lowest carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in the 50 states, relying primarily on hydro power from Canada and electricity from Vermont Yankee, a 620 MW nuclear plant. Therein lies the answer.
Facing a flawed wholesale market, a hostile political climate, and with the encouragement of state political leaders, the owners of Vermont Yankee made a decision in 2013 to permanently close the plant, even though its operating license had recently been extended through 2032. While the ostensible reason was economics, writing of the decision at the time Amy Goodman stated, “it was years of people’s protests and state legislative action that forced its closure.” Yet while the political leadership cheered, the regional administrator of the wholesale electric market, ISO-New England, was not so sanguine: “The retirement of this large nuclear station will result in less fuel diversity and greater dependence on natural gas”, he said, observing that the growing dependence on natural gas had been identified as a key strategic risk for the region. As Vermont’s plan unapologetically states, natural gas is now embraced as a preferred resource with plans to increase its use.
High-minded rhetoric aside, Vermont’s energy ambitions are driven by the need to fill the hole left by the closure of Vermont Yankee, even if it means a massive development of wind generation along mountain ridgetops and greater dependence on natural gas to provide electricity when intermittent wind is not operating.
For the “Green Mountain State”, a state that has banned billboards and prides itself on its natural beauty, this aggressive shift to renewables is a non-trivial undertaking. Annette Smith, founder and current head of Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE) puts it this way: “That’s what we’re doing here in Vermont. Let’s carpet everything with solar and every ridge line with wind turbines and it’s a moral imperative in order to save the planet.” She too has become a skeptic. Having been completely off-grid since 1988 and relying almost totally on solar, her initial instincts were favorable. It was only after locals raised concerns and she visited the Cohocton Wind project in nearby New York that, alarmed by the size, noise and visual impacts – VCE became active in efforts to challenge the unconstrained wind development in Vermont.
Others have stepped in as well. Nationally respected wildlife ecologist Susan Morse puts it this way: ”… it’s not so much that my aesthetic life would be ruined,” she says, but it’s the “whole manner of damage to wildlife habitat.” From the effects of erosion, to the clearing of mountain tops areas for construction, to the roads required both for initial construction and on-going maintenance, the result is “irreparable damage to core habitat and healthy ecological functions.” She continues, “This is being presented as a green alternative but it’s not green if it’s not done well, and that’s where, as a scientist, I really beg to differ with the proponents of wind energy on our ridge lines. It’s not well researched, (and) we don’t have all the answers.”
National promoters know of these concerns but are so far giving them little more than lip service. The DOE’s recent “Wind Vision” study concludes “Environmental challenges including land use (and) wildlife concerns can be effectively managed with appropriate planning, technology, and communication among stakeholders,” even though it admits we don’t really understand what they are: “Impacts of wind development to wildlife species other than bats and birds are not well understood” recommending that be evaluated as a topic outside the scope of the Wind Vision report.
As if to put an exclamation point on it, Steve Wright, an aquatic biologist and a former Commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, took aerial photos of construction required for the Kingdom Community Wind Project on Lowell Mountain and expressed his concerns in a New York Times op-ed piece., The pictures paint a stark image:
Figure 2. Kingdom Community Wind Project on Lowell Mountain, Vermont
The Kingdom Community project consists of 21 wind generators, each with a potential capacity of 3 MW, standing roughly 460 feet tall and occupying 3.5 miles of ridgeline on Lowell Mountain. While the total nameplate capacity is 63 MW, ISO-New England, the operator of the transmission system covering the six New England states, only credits the project with 12 MW of reliable electricity in their forecasts due to the intermittency of wind. The math is pretty simple: at 12 MW for 3.5 miles, it would take roughly 180 miles of comparable projects to replace the 615 MW of capacity the system lost when Vermont Yankee closed.
People like Annette Smith and Steve Wright have become pariahs for many environmentalists who see them as blocking efforts to combat climate change. “Our problem,” says Steve Wright, “is we’ve been ostracized. I’ve been a member of the conservation community in Vermont for almost fifty years and now I’m characterized as having sold out on climate change.” Yet it is a hard case to make; Wright spent the last five years of his career with the National Wildlife Federation as a climate change educator, working with fish and wildlife groups throughout the region to raise their awareness of the climate change challenge.
California: the environmental “rock star”
Since the early 1970’s, California has been regarded as an Environmental “rock star” for its commitment to renewable resources. They were the first state to push large wind projects and by 1995 boasted they were the producing one-third of the world’s wind generated electricity.  The boasting ignored the notorious Altamont wind farm that has become the poster child for bird mortality. While many of the worst offenders were removed in 2010, as Audubon member Ted Williams writes, “the roughly 4000 turbines that remain are still raptor and passerine Cuisinarts,” with raptor deaths estimated at 2000 a year.
Today California is committed to achieving 33% its electricity from renewable resources by 2020. This has led them to the southwestern deserts, encroaching on areas that some have called “one of the last great frontiers in America”, a fragile land “where impacts last hundreds of years if not millennia,” and where “only a tiny fraction has been surveyed for species.”
To their credit, in 2007 California set out to establish a “Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan” (DRECP), a coordinated plan to both streamline approvals and control growth so as to minimize habitat impacts. Governing a vast 22.5 million acres of federal and non-federal lands in Southwest California, the plan has targeted the area for 20,000 MW of renewable development by 2040. Resources to be developed in the region include industrial wind farms, solar arrays and geothermal resources.
Yet some question whether the impacts on habitat in the region can ever reasonably accommodate this kind of growth. Both wind and solar have a large footprint and no matter what mitigation is undertaken, they will require a lot of land, with untold impacts.
One of the concerned groups is Basin and Desert Range Watch. Calling themselves “a group of naturalists, artists, and writers who are drawn to the beauty and richness of the desert”, they see these desert lands as “a living landscape, full of unique plants, animals, fungi and people”. It is compelling rhetoric and mindful of what one might have heard at a Sierra Club gathering four decades ago. But no more. Now the Sierra Club is on the side of the developers.
Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Julie Cart observes that while big environmental organizations “acknowledge that development can have irreversible effects on ecosystems, they are reluctant to stand in the way of renewable energy projects they regard as a vital response to climate change, which they consider the nation’s most serious energy challenge.” While many did join in a lawsuit to block the Calico solar project near Los Angeles, “for the most part”, she writes, “the big players have embraced solar development”, referring to the Sierra Club, NRDC, and Defenders of Wildlife. The effect has been to create a “green halo” by giving these projects the imprimatur of major environmental groups.
Meanwhile, groups like Basin and Desert Range Watch press on, notwithstanding halo effects. One of their targets has been the Ivanpah Solar Plant which began commercial operations in December, 2013.
Selected by the editors of Renewable Energy World and Power Engineering as the Renewable Energy Project of the year for 2014, Ivanpah is a 370 MW solar project covering 3500 acres in the Mojave desert. The plant functions by focusing the sun’s energy from roughly 170,000 garage-door size heliostats onto three towers that stand 459 feet tall, each maintained at about 900 degrees Fahrenheit. When in operation, they are visible at a distance glowing white hot, creating a solar flux between the mirrors and the towers. One problem: the flux attracts birds, then incinerates them. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife study found the carcasses of 71 different bird species in and around three large solar projects in the region.
They describe Ivanpah as a “mega-trap”, characterized by “attracting insects which in turn attract insect-eating birds, which are incapacitated by solar flux injury, thus attracting predators and creating an entire food chain vulnerable to injury and death.” According to one report released by the California Energy Commission, somewhere between 2,500 and 5,700 bird fatalities occurred during the first year of operation, the most likely number being around 3,500.
Impacts are not limited to birds. The desert tortoise, which has seen its population drop as much as 90%, now faces a new threat from solar projects that not only wipe out natural habitat areas, but interfere with natural migration pathways. Then there are the biota that are destroyed when these areas are cleared, making irreversible alterations to the desert habitat.
When local Sierra Club members wanted to sue to block the project, they were vetoed by the national board of directors. The Sierra Club leadership followed up by cautioning locals to fall in line, sending out a 42-page directive scolding locals for warning against irreparable damage to desert ecologies because it would work against their larger goals of expanding wind and solar. In some cases it led to unpleasant phone calls from the national staff admonishing locals who misbehave.
For the locals it is about protecting a pristine natural resource, something they had always believed defined Sierra Club goals, but climate change has now intervened. On his departure as Sierra Club chair in 2010, Carl Pope said it the way many feel: “If we don’t save the planet, there won’t be any tortoises left to save.” It is common rhetoric these days. As one frustrated local put it, “I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that building solar in the desert is going to save the world.”
It is not that all solar and wind projects are bad. Many of the opponents of large solar in the desert have banned together to form “Solar Done Right”, urging solar can be fine if pursued on rooftops or already developed property. They insist we would generate significant solar if we just concentrated where it makes environmental sense. Indeed, California has had some eye-popping numbers in the past three years, due largely to rooftop solar expansions. From 2012 to 2014, installed solar capacity increased by a factor five.
The problem ideologically, here as elsewhere, is a reluctance to place any limit on solar and wind expansion because the sense of urgency is acute. In the end it means developers, operating under a ”green halo”, are simply running roughshod over local towns and communities. As Jon Wellinghoff, Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission put it, “we are going to have to accept the fact that wind turbines and solar systems are going to take up fairly large pieces of land.”
But must we?
Ultimately two issues should concern us: carbon emissions and the ecological footprint. A renewables-only approach works against both. Consider first the issue of carbon.
Carbon and intermittency
While the problem of intermittency is frequently trivialized, the reality is that wind and solar require some form of back-up to fill in when the weather is uncooperative. Today, that comes by way of natural gas and therein lies the problem. While the IEA’s 450 scenario requires no growth in natural gas, virtually every scenario supported by climate change activists increases natural gas generation, with most projecting it will double over the period through 2040.
In California, while the rhetoric says renewables, during the decade from 2001 to 2010, 87% of all new generation was natural gas. In 2013, 60% of all new natural gas generation built in the United States was constructed in California. The initial build up was needed to assure adequate capacity to back up their investment in intermittent renewables, and the more recent build out was needed to fill the hole caused by the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plants.
An irony in all this is the frequent need to burn natural gas to make solar installations work. At Ivanpah natural gas boilers are used to warm up fluids in the morning and keep them at optimum temperatures during the day. After their first year of operation, plant management realized they needed to burn more gas than originally expected and have asked to run their gas boilers an average of five hours a day. This would mean releasing about 92,200 tons of CO2 per year, which places the Ivanpah Solar project at roughly 20% of the carbon emitted from a comparably sized combined cycle natural gas plant based on tons of CO2 per MWh of electricity produced.
The reliance on natural gas is a problem that carries over to US policy. Even though more than 35 states have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards, the Annual Energy Outlook for 2015 projects that “natural gas fuels more than 60% of the new generation needed from 2025 to 2040.
But it is not just carbon that is the problem. The other concern is that habitat is disproportionately impacted by resources such as wind and solar because they require more generating facilities to be built and more landscape to be impacted to produce the same amount of electricity. From an environmental standpoint it is a devastatingly bad “twofer” that compounds itself.
First, because capacity factors are lower, more generation needs to be built. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory study published in 2012 concluded that achieving a target of 80% renewable energy by 2050 would require anywhere from 350 GW to 550 GW of generation over and above the baseline scenario.  There was a time when the concern of environmentalists was minimizing the need for new generation: now excess generation has become part of the plan.
The second half of the “twofer” is that these resources require much more land area per unit of electricity generated, land that is often in ecologically sensitive areas. Wind generation, for example, requires roughly five hundred times more land area than a comparable nuclear installation, while the multiplier for solar is a factor of one hundred.
The culprit in all of this is an ideologically driven environmentalism that has lost a sense of its original goals. If environmentalism is to return to its basic priorities, it needs to be rethought. We deal with this in Part II, which will appear on September 21, 2015.
Author blurb: Paul Lorenzini earned his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from Oregon State University and later earned a JD. He had a distinguished career in the electric utility business and was the Chief Executive Officer for NuScale Power for its first five years. He is now retired and sharing some of his thoughts about energy issues.
 Jonathan Franzen, “Carbon Capture: Has Climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?”, The New Yorker, April 2015; Chris Clarke, “Orthodoxy in the climate movement: Franzen and his deniers”, April 11, 2015 at: http://coyot.es/crossing/2015/04/11/orthodoxy-in-the-climate-movement-franzen-and-his-deniers/
 IEA has been reporting this scenario for several years. The chart here is from WEO 2010; the overall content has remained relatively constant.
 “An Open Letter to Environmentalists on Nuclear Energy”, available at Brave New Climate, http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/12/15/an-open-letter-to-environmentalists-on-nuclear-energy/. The statement responds to and supports: Barry Brook and Corey Benjamin, “Key role for nuclear energy in global biodiversity conservation”, Conversation Biology, Vol 00. No. 0, 1-11, 2014.
 “Ridgetop wind generates debate”, Kristyn Ecochard, UPI Energy Correspondent, March 27, 2007.
 “Assembly Passes Wind-power Bill”, Matthew Dolan, Baltimore Sun, April 8, 2007 at: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-04-08/news/0704080035_1_wind-turbines-western-maryland-bill
 “Storms of opposition stall Maryland Wind” at: http://www.vawind.org/Assets/Docs/Articles/AP-121706.pdf
 “Governor’s Veto may not end wind turbine debate”, Nicole Clark, Gazette Net, May 23, 2014 at: http://www.somdnews.com/article/20140523/NEWS/140529548/1045&source=RSS&template=gazette
 Interview with David Blittersdorf, influential political leader in Vermont and wind developer at: http://vermontenergyoptions.org/
 Interview with David Blittersdorf, influential political leader in Vermont and wind developer at: http://vermontenergyoptions.org/
 “ISO-NE: Don’t Blame the market for Vermont Yankee retirement”, Wayne Barber, Power Engineering, August 29, 2013; “Yankee Retreat”, Bill Mohl, PowerProfit, at: http://powerprofit.fortnightly.com/fortnightly/yankee-retreat; :”The Electric Power Industry’s Missing Money Problem”, Lawrence Makovich, Wall Street Journal Feature article sponsored by IHS Energy, CERAWeek 2015, April 24, 2015.
 “Nuclear’s Demise, from Fukushima to Vermont”, Amy Goodman, The Cap Times, August 30, 2013.
 See “Don’t Blame the market …”
 CEP, p. 11
 See interview at: http://vermontenergyoptions.org/
 “The Not-So-Green Mountains”, Steve Wright, New York Times, September 28, 2011
 “Aerial Shots Capture Lowell Wind Projects Progress”, Kathryn Flagg, Seven Days, August 10, 2012 at: http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/aerial-shots-capture-lowell-wind-project-progress/Content?oid=2205251
 ISO-NE, 2014-2023 Forecast Report of Capacity, Energy, Loads and Transmission, Section 5.2.3
 John Berger, “California energy strategists push for 100% renewables with no fossil or nuclear”, Huffington Post, October 27, 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-j-berger/california-energy-strateg_b_6051616.html
 “Wind Power in California”, Wipikedia.
 See Ted Williams article.
 “DRECP: Vision or Illusion”, Joan Taylor, Desert Report, March 20, 2015.
 David JC MacKay, Sustainable Energy with the Hot Air, 2009, pp 33, 41
 See http://www.basinandrangewatch.org
 Julie Cart, “Environmentalists feeling burned by rush to build solar projects”, Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2012.
 See www.ivanpahsolar.com
 “Ivanpah’s Solar Power Plant is Pennwell’s Renewable Energy Project of the Year”, Renewable Energy World, December 8, 2014, at: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2014/12/ivanpah-solar-power-plant-is-pennwells-renewable-energy-project-of-the-year.html
 “Avian Mortality at Solar Energy Facilities in Southern California: A Preliminary Analysis”, Rebecca A. Kagan, Tabitha C. Viner, Pepper W. Trail, and Edgard O. Espinoza, National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, 2014.
 “Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Avian & Bat Monitoring Plan –
2013-2014 Annual Report (Revised) 29 October 2013 – 20 October 2014”. Report prepared by H.T. Harvey &Associates
 “Mojave Mirrors: World’s Largest Solar Plant Ready to Shine”, Josie Garthwaite, National Geographic, July 27, 2013.
 See Julie Cart, February 2012 and reported discussions with BLM and US Geological survey
 Sidney Silliman, “The Politics of Renewable Energy in the Deserts of California”, July 2012, pp 20-21. http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/Guest-Silliman.html
 “Sierra Club Leader departs amid discontent over group’s direction”, Louis Sahagun, Nov 19, 2011, Los Angeles Times
 Joan Taylor, quoted by Julie Cart in “Environmentalists feeling burned.”
 Chris Clarke, “Ivanpah Solar Plant Owners want to Burn a Lot More Natural Gas,” March 27, 2014: http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewire/solar/concentrating-solar/ivanpah-solar-plant-owners-want-to-burn-a-lot-more-natural-gas.html
 Annual Energy Outlook, 2015, p. 24
 Renewable Electricity Futures Study, National Renewable Electricity Laboratory, 2012, http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/