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California solar: U.S. is dropping oil, boosting solar on federal lands

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California and the western states are experiencing a boom in support for alternative energies.The federal government has taken lands away from mining and given them to support solar plants. With the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, California Governor Jerry Brown recognized a public-private partnership that helps property owners become more energy efficient, according to a Dec.12 PR Newswire article.

New solar power technologies have arrived on the California coast, in the Mojave desert and in the neighboring Arizona and Nevada deserts. One technology creates steam power with focused sunlight and oil filled tubes. Another exploits naturally heated salts.

In July, the Bureau of Land Management withdrew approval for mining claims and approved 300,000 acres for commercial grade solar plants. According to a July 5 LA Times article, this applies to six Western states where the land in federal preserves is on a grand scale.

California's central coast is booming with solar power plants that cover thousands of acres with thousands of solar panels. The problem with the coast is with the incredible variety of birds that migrate back and forth through the lands. These issues are being worked out to prevent loss of wildlife.

A September 29 Daily Beast article featured the Ivanpah solar plant. This plant sits on thousands of acres in the Mojave desert. A novel technology uses computer controlled mirrors to focus sunlight on oil filled tubes. The heated oil powers a steam plant. This facility is expected to support 140,000 homes and is paid for by by Google, NRG, and BrightSource.

The future is finally getting brighter for California's promising alternative fuels structure. Questions still remain about allowing fracking off the California coast when endless wind and wave power offers vastly more opportunity for low or no impact power production.

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