Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy issues are critical to our quality of life in the Morongo Basin. MBCA is supportive of California's latest renewable energy goals enumerated in Senate Bill 100 signed by the Governor in September 2018. (Read news reports about the bill from the Los Angeles Times and Vox.) We continue to monitor and take action regarding Mojave desert areas designated for inappropriately sited renewable energy development. We also want to keep you informed about the development of local commercial solar projects. 

Cascade_Solar_from_JTNP2.JPG 
View of Joshua Tree's Cascade Solar (Sunfair area) from the Park, south of Panorama Heights. Photo by Laraine Turk. 

 

dust_storm_over_Cascade_solar_03_06_16_-_1.jpg
Dust storm near Cascade Solar as seen from Highway 62. Photo by Laraine Turk.

 

house with solar panels on roof

On the local level, MBCA encourages residents to consider home/rooftop solar (see our list of Morongo Basin solar contractors).  
The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms continues to increase its installation of solar panels and employs co-generation plants. The installation leads the Marine Corps in green energy production.  This brochure explains more about renewable energy development on the Base.

 

  • Featured post

    MBCA Comments on Sienna Solar 2 in Lucerne Valley

    Posted by · September 25, 2022 8:36 PM
    Changes to the proposed Sienna Solar project in Lucerne Valley triggered a new scoping comment letter from MBCA about Sienna Solar 2. The proposed site has expanded and poses a wide range of potential harms to quality of life and the desert ecosystem. In a community designated as Severely Disadvantaged, Lucerne Valley residents will be subjected to dust, degraded views, and excessive lighting. Environmental problems likely to arise include degraded air quality, water issues, and harm to wildlife including threatened species. MBCA Directors Pat Flanagan and Brian Hammer have outlined the problems and created detailed maps illustrating the issues in MBCA's Scoping Comments to San Bernardino County’s Land Use Services Department. 
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    Golden Currant Solar Project Needs RMP Review

    Posted by · September 24, 2022 1:58 PM
    MBCA and 7 other conservation groups have requested a pause in the Golden Currant Solar project variance review until a revised Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plan is completed to replace the 1997 version. The 25-year old plan predates many changes in desert management, including updated desert tortoise status, water availability, visual resource and habitat conservation plans, plus water availability, public land access, tribal consultation and many more concerns. While this Nevada project is not within the Morongo Basin, MBCA has always viewed the entire Mojave Desert as part of "the healthy desert environment" that we seek to preserve.
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    MBCA Participates in Solar Rights Rally

    Posted by · July 20, 2022 9:50 PM
    7-20-22_MBCA_and_Solar_Rights.jpegMBCA President Steve Bardwell (l) and Director Arch McCulloch (r) participated in the Solar Rights Rally held in Cathedral City on July 20. They are pictured here with Solar Rights Alliance Executive Director Dave Rosenfeld. The rally was one in a statewide series to "sound the alarm about the utilities' solar tax and call on Governor Gavin Newsom to keep solar affordable for middle- and working-class families."
    Around 50 people participated on a 110-degree day. 
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    MBCA Comments on Relocation of Lucerne Valley Solar Project

    Posted by · April 28, 2022 3:27 PM
    MBCA joined Lucerne Valley homeowners and Mojave Communities Conservation Collaborative in a letter to protest the "relocation" of the Sienna Solar Project in Lucerne Valley. The letter points out to the San Bernardino County Supervisors how the reapplication of the project is not simply a relocation allowed by regulations, but an expansion that violates the County's Renewable Energy Conservation Element, intended to minimize negative effects and optimize benefits to unincorporated communities.
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    MBCA Comments Again on Stagecoach Solar near Lucerne Valley

    Posted by · January 13, 2022 10:20 AM
    More than a year after submitting initial comments on the Stagecoach project near Lucerne Valley, MBCA has submitted new comments that focus on harm to the Scenic Highway 247 plan and damage to the desert’s valuable and significant natural carbon sequestration. Within the comment letter on pages 2 and 3 are maps and photos that illustrate the potential viewshed deterioration along Highway 247. Photos later in the letter also illustrate the carbon-capturing potential of undisturbed desert lands. A two-page Science Brief created by several environmental advocates including MBCA’s Pat Flanagan provides a simple overview of the desert’s carbon capture capability and value. Finally, a short paper titled Notes on Models of Carbon Dynamics for the California Deserts by Dr. Michael F. Allen of UC Riverside is provided for additional scientific background.
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    Daggett Solar 66 Plans Mitigation Actions Encouraged by MBCA

    Posted by · November 03, 2021 10:29 AM
    At a meeting with a Daggett Solar 66 Project representative initiated by MBCA Directors, the representative described several mitigation efforts directly related to MBCA's concerns listed in our April comment letter. As a follow-up, this November 2 letter was sent by MBCA to the Planning Commission to summarize the project's mitigation actions with reference to our original concerns and therefore our support for the Conditional Use Permit. The County Planning Commission will review the project at their  November 4, 2021 meeting.
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    LA Times Provides Overview of Net Metering Issues

    Posted by · November 03, 2021 9:03 AM
    A November 2 news story by Sammy Roth of the Los Angeles Times provides a comprehensive overview of the many issues and viewpoints swirling around California's Net Energy Metering (NEM) program. MBCA's earlier news stories of May 8 and June 4 provide our history of involvement as we have signed on to Solar Rights Alliance letters seeking both local and distributed renewable energy commitment and climate justice goals. (If you cannot access the article, here is a text-only version.)
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    MBCA Submits Comments on Aratina Solar Project

    Posted by · October 13, 2021 5:35 AM
    The Aratina Solar Project is proposed for a portion of undisturbed Mojave Desert in Kern County near the town of Boron. The land is mostly undisturbed Joshua Tree woodland, and its destruction for this project has numerous serious consequences for the ecology of the area and also would remove carbon-sequestering soil. MBCA's letter outlines the consequences and asks the Kern County Board of Supervisors not to approve the project. 
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    MBCA Comments on Oberon Solar Project

    Posted by · September 16, 2021 10:20 AM
    Photo courtesy of the US Department of the Interior
    The proposed Oberon Solar Project, to be located on undisturbed BLM land near Desert Center, has drawn a great deal of concern by numerous groups in addition to MCBA. While in a Development Focus Area (DFA) proposed under California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, the proponents are asking for amendments that contradict the Plan’s underlying rationale. In short, as MBCA’s Pat Flanagan writes in the MBCA letter, “It is not the role of the DRECP to bend to accommodate a project proposal. It is the project proponent’s role to accommodate the DRECP.”

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    MBCA Supports EV Charging Stations in Joshua Tree

    Posted by · June 18, 2021 10:37 AM
    The Special Districts Department of San Bernardino County is applying for a grant to install electric vehicle charging stations at the Joshua Tree Community Center. MBCA has submitted an enthusiastic letter of support for the project to Frank Haggard, Recreation Supervisor of the Special Districts, based in Joshua Tree. 
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