Supervisors Weigh in on Renewable Energy Plan

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By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a report outlining concerns over a state and federal plan for renewable energy projects in Southern California.

First District Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood said the County has numerous concerns about the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, a document prepared by four state and federal agencies. County concerns range from limiting access to mineral resources, recreational use as well as community and environmental impacts.

The Board of Supervisors approved a 56-page position paper outlining concerns and asked for changes and clarification before the county could consider supporting the DRECP. The County’s concerns will be sent to the DRECP task force made up of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Energy Commission and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. More than half of the acreage in the draft DRECP is in San Bernardino County.

Lovingood called for greater use of distributed generation and prioritizing already-disturbed lands for renewable energy projects, thereby protecting pristine desert. Lovingood also advocated for  mechanisms providing discounted electric rates or rebates for consumers in the High Desert.

“If you live in the corn belt and you’re surrounded by corn fields, your price for corn is going to be very inexpensive. So it only seems fair that desert residents who bear the brunt of impacts from renewable energy projects should see a similar benefit,” Lovingood said.

The supervisor also noted that renewable energy technologies are changing very quickly.

“Graphine technology is revolutionizing solar technology that could make existing solar panels obsolete,” Lovingood said. “Cutting-edge research is developing films and paints that could turn any man-made surface into a solar panel. So renewable energy projects in the future will be far more efficient and will need far less land.”

Following a staff presentation on the County position paper, 21 members of the public requested to speak on the issue, with widespread support for the County’s position.

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