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At Ecocompass, Inc where we are working on reducing individuals and business energy demands through efficiency and renewable generation, we have a simple value “efficiency”.  We are coming up with ways that we can truly make something out of nothing, or as the temperate work slogan goes “do more with less”. It is hard though to fully understand why we are not doing the same with our overall energy policy? I am specifically talking about our lack of government investment in putting solar technology into our deserts.  From an ideological standpoint there are only two arguments that can be made.  The first is an aesthetical one.  Also referred to “NIMBY” [Not In My Back Yard] thinking.  We can all agree that solar energy produces no environmental consequences. Leaving this lame thinking to the past is best, as anyone would admit these days seeing solar panels is a whole lot better then seeing a coal plant, or worst a natural gas station in their back yards (especially ask those who live directly near them).  The second argument is that it is not a round the clock source of fuel and is not as efficient.  That argument is also baseless. Currently the plant (produces 15 mega watts) which powers 25% of the Nellis Air Force base, which is just one model of how we can blanket natures solar [desert] factories. Another such method is a CSP solar thermal plant which can produce electricity the most traditional way of using steam to create energy. So why arent we utilizing more deserts for the use of solar power? The answer is we (kind of) are.  However at a very incremental speed.  California as a matter of law must produce  a certain amount of energy from renewable energy (22% currently, and 35% by 2020), and is well on its way utilizing the Mojave Desert for several projects.  That is unfortunately not enough.  We can produce enough energy for each household in the US by covering 3% of Arizona with panels in the Sonoran Desert.  I ask what has your nearby desert done for you lately? The practical truth is that today, we can develop and build a solar power plant cheaper, faster, and on the same amount of land as Coal, Nuclear, Oil.  Lets give meaning to these barren, uninhabitable, land masses that scream “build solar plants here” if you look at deserts on a map. If you are interested in how we can do this?  Its easy, the government can grantee the loans to corporations which already have the know how of building large scale plants like this.  To put it in context, we spend about 286 billion annually on fuel for the military (alone). The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, located in the Mojave Desert in northeastern San Bernardino County, California, 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, is planned to have a capacity of 392 megawatts (MW) at cost of 1.375 billion. If you are interested in how ordinary people are experimenting with CSP technology click here. For additional desert-tech see the video History Channel has done on this topic.

oleg vDesert-tech

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