Bright Enough for Ya?

by B. Frank on May 24, 2011

Come in outta the sunlight, will ya? There’s cold beer an’ whatever else might strike your fancy over there in the shadows, but step over here first. On the subject of light, you got to take a look at some of this cool shit I’m finding. Your eyes’ll adjust.

You ever wonder just how much electricity you could make with the sunlight in your backyard? On your roof? On the patches of abandoned farmland and tailings piles on the edge of town? On the never-developed pieces of meadow, hillside, plain, brushland — the over-grazed and still-recovering rangelands and watersheds that make up the “mixed-use” designated public lands managed by the erstwhile minions of the BLM, NFS, FWS, alphabet soup? I can tell you soon enough.

With viral YouTube videos of the Gulf oil well spill still making the rounds, King Coal in a full duck-and-cover fetal “Clean Coal” subsidy-begging crouch, and the still-leaking nuclear power plant in Japan as incentives to finally, “Just fucking DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!” to promote renewable energy production, we of the interior hinterlands have been asked by the Bureau of Land Management to weigh in on how they should allow/regulate/promote solar power projects.

It may not be too late to have your say, and in the process of finding out what you think about the BLM’s proposal you just might discover whether your favorite stretch of country (or backyard) is a candidate for helping save our sweet selves from continued domination by the globalized hydrocarbon cabal. Interested? Read on …

  • Currently, most utility-scale solar plants create steam to drive turbines that produce electricity, in a process known as Concentrating Solar. Information courtesy the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
  • Find out where the sun delivers the most kilowatt hours for the buck at the Solar Energy Environmental Mapper from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Topo, relief and terrain maps, aerial photos; with overlays showing solar potential, agency boundaries, proposed solar development alternatives, streams and rivers, roadless area, protected resources, wilderness study areas, and more.
  • Take a look at BLM’s Solar Energy Zones in Interactive Panoramas. 360 degree images, with links to descriptions, then grab a cold one and walk a few of them for yourself.

Click on map for hi-res version.

(Courtesy: Solar Energy Development Program Information Center)

 

 


The Ragged Edge is a bi-monthly visit to B. Frank’s deep research facility, where the air is rich with the dark brew of developing stories, imminent outrages and shameless amusements that affect denizens of the Interior West.

Mountain Gazette senior correspondent B. Frank is the author of “Livin’ the Dream; Testing the Ragged Edge of Machismo” (Raven’s Eye Press, 2010). The San Juan Mountains of Colorado are his home range, with occasional sightings in Border Country. More stories and information at bfrankbroadsides.com.

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