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As Yosemite Burns, California Goes Green on Power Supply Threat

As Yosemite Burns, California Goes Green on Power Supply Threat

One of my cherished memories is camping with my husband and son in Yosemite. The beauty and serenity of the park are breathtaking.

So, the news that it is at the center of one of the largest wildfires in California history is devastating. At this point, it looks like our heroic firefighters are finally making progress at containing it:


Officials say fire crews made progress overnight against a large wildfire threatening San Francisco’s water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias.

Stanislaus National Forest spokesman Jerry Snyder said containment of the Rim Fire was at 15 percent on Monday morning, up from 7 percent the previous night.

The fire did continue to grow, however, and is now 234 square miles in size.

In fact, the Rim Fire is burning close to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, San Fransisco’s main source of water:

Despite the fire’s proximity, San Francisco officials said they were cautiously optimistic state and federal efforts to safeguard the reservoir would help stave off a possible closure of the facility, which provides drinking water to 2.6 million customers in San Francisco and 28 suburban areas, nearly 200 miles to the west. About 200 firefighters were on the ground Sunday making fire breaks near the reservoir, officials said, while California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared a state of emergency for San Francisco that freed up more state resources to deal with the water threat and other issues.

However, the green energy focus of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which shut down two Hetch Hetchy hydropower plants and the transmission lines that power its municipal buildings, is most concerning.  They are unhappy with the fact the back-up supply power used to respond during the shut-down isn’t “green” enough.

And their plans to make back-up power more alternative-energy focused for future emergencies can place state power supplies in jeopardy.

The utility commission assured residents over the weekend that it doesn’t anticipate service interruptions because it can purchase power on the open market—though so far at a $600,000 premium. The bigger disaster, according to the utility, is that it “has been unable to generate and transmit clean, greenhouse gas-free hydroelectric power” and must rely on natural gas-fired plants. This contravenes the utility’s 100% renewable-energy goal….

…To hit the renewable mandate, utilities are building long transmission lines to deliver power from distant solar and wind projects to population centers. Most large-scale solar plants in California are being built in dry, sunny desert and valley regions. Wind farms are concentrated in the mountains. Both are fire-prone.

There are goals, and then there are realities.

Wildfires are to California are what hurricanes are to Louisiana. They will happen, and emergency planning should not rely on “green” theories pleasing to eco-activists.


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“Most large-scale solar plants in California are being built in dry, sunny desert and valley regions. Wind farms are concentrated in the mountains. Both are fire-prone.”

How is a desert “fire-prone”?

    Phillep Harding in reply to JohnG. | August 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Not all deserts are sand or gravel. The North Slope of Alaska, for example, is technically a desert as it only gets a tiny amount of precip a year, yet the ground is mostly muskeg, and the surface is nearly half water. Other deserts have fast maturing plants that seed and die, and the seeds last for decades until the next cloudburst. The dead, and highly flammable, plant remains unless eaten or burned. And, of course, there are plants that send roots down a considerable distance, or out a considerable distance. They are drought resistant, usually because they are full of flammable oils.

    While Philip Harding is technically correct, zippo California deserts are “highly flammable”. And that’s where the collection part goes on. HOWEVER to get what’s collected to where it’s needed means passing through and over the mountains in between. THAT’s where the flammable stuff is. And because the eco-greenie-wishful-thinking PTB don’t like forest fire, the old fashioned way of preserving woodlands – controlled burns – has been outlawed for several generations. Can anyone guess the result? Ten times the fire fuel to burn off when fire finally arrives. Higher cost, more damage, more dangerous, more development burned out – but our skies are never smoky, so it’s a win-win.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JohnG. | August 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Ca has always had wildfires. It arises from a combination of weather and geography. However, I can tell you from living there for 57 years the wildfires of yesteryear were small and rather easily contained even with the older technology of those days. It has only been since the advent of environazi control of the legislature that we have seen these massive, mind-boggling wildfires.

    The people running that state are absolutely certifiable nutcases and commies bent on the destruction of a once magnificent paradise and economic powerhouse engine. Their business model has served obastard well, too, in his efforts to destroy this country. The similarities of method are glaringly obvious and clear.

Wildfires are to California are what hurricanes are to Louisiana. They will happen, and emergency planning should not rely on “green” theories pleasing to eco-activists.

I respectfully disagree. I think if California went without electricity for a few weeks, or maybe even a month or two, it would be a great learning experience! I bet gun laws and bullet restriction laws would change. And, eco laws. And they might even decide that overdoing welfare benefits isn’t a good thing. They might even rediscover “personal responsibility.”

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

2nd Ammendment Mother | August 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm

The Bald Eagle population couldn’t be reached for comment about those green environmentally friendly “windmills”….. remind me again about how they get to kill all the birds they want to and I can go to Federal Prison for inadvertently picking up the shed feather of an endangered species while hiking.

The fact that the looney-tunes eco-nazis have had their way with California forestry policy for decades, should make them an obviously guilty party to blocking the well-proven forest fire-prevention management programs. Their insane “hands- and feet-off” policy naturally leads to a ticking time-bomb of increased risk of natural fire events that become virtually impossible to prevent from becoming the massive disasters we are witnessing, in progress now.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to sepepper. | August 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I grew up in CA, lived there all my life intil 1.5 years ago. The forest management programs were developed to prevent large forest fires. They were good programs that worked well for years until the environazis got the reins of control.

    These huge, massively destructive wildfires that rage every year in CA lay directly at the feet of these lunatics.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | August 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      I was going to ask if the greenies were still successful in preventing the clearing out of dead wood and underbrush which is the kindling to major forest fires. I think they also killed the idea of cutting strategic permanent fire lines so the spread of a wild fire would be limited to the nearest such cut line.

      Few wild fires in NC, at least not on the scale of western fires, but we get more than our share of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and liberals.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Henry Hawkins. | August 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm

        All true and still the case.

        Here’s an example of their M.O.: In some places in CA, you can be fined $5000 for burning trash in your yard, but the government itself creates all the necessary conditions for these massive wildfires.

        It’s all about fleecing the taxpayers to build their fiefdoms and controlling/owning the resources.

The Drill SGT | August 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Your average resident of the City (as we Northern California natives call it) is a certified tree hugging Sierra Club member UNTIL you talk about dynamiting the Dam and restoring the Hetch Hetchy to its natural state, which means giving up all that cheap power and that nearly free water. SF pays the Feds $30k a year for water rights.

However that renewable stuff is just hockum. The Hetch Hetchy dam only supplies 20% of SF power, so there must be a lot of little elves spreading fairy dust if they are 100% renewable on an annual basis.

    And even then drowning Hetch Hetchy, which rivaled Yosemite in beauty, to produce your power is hardly “renewable.” Instead of carbon you have millions of acres of dead wilderness. Might as well be an open pit coal mine.

Somebody tell me what is dirty about power generated with natural gas. Stupid is as stupid does.

    It’s dirty because someone other than the powers that be has developed, transported and sold that gas to them at an evil profit. That’s what’s dirty. Profit.

Let’s see, in California you can’t build firebreaks or roads for firefighting equipment. If a fire breaks out, you can’t draw water from lakes or streams to fight the fire, because it might harm some “endangered” fruit fly, salamander, or lizard. You can’t use fire retardant because it might run off into the streams.

I’m really tempted to say, “Let it burn. You wanted it, You got it!”

    A good, hot fire does wonders for reinvigorating the forest. I would love it if the fire caused massive problems for SF greenies, but what would happen is that others would lose their power because the city has so much money and would overbid and corner the market.

Phillep Harding | August 26, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Looks like mountain misery and sugar cone pine burning. Sugar cone just oozes sap from being looked at hard. Redwoods (including sequoia) are adapted to withstand ground cleaning fires.

You know, I keep thinking that San Francisco can’t get any dumber and yet they keep proving me wrong.

If their biggest concern is that their backup power isn’t ‘green’ enough, then fuck them, I hope they lose power for the next three months.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Finrod. | August 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    They will continue to prove you wrong, up to and through the economic holacaust that stafe teeters on as we speak.

Henry Hawkins | August 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm

When California goes bankrupt, I bet federal taxpayer bailout money will be plenty green enough for them.

Methinks the members of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission need to be sent to a Green Re-Progamming Camp to learn their green lessons all over again. Ask ANY dedicated greenie. He/she will tell you that hydro is NOT green. Not in any way, shape, or form. The only good hydro is a GONE hydro. Heck, in Ohio, they’ve already removed one small old decrepit hydro plant from the Cuyahoga River and they’re going after another in the near future. All with plenty of talk about how it’ll do wonders for the health of the river.

I’m not saying anything about the above one way or the other (other than the fact that it happens to reflect the beliefs of the truly dedicated amongst the members of the green movement). What I AM saying is that the S.F.P.U.C. needs to know that there ARE people out here who are paying attention and who are ready to call bull***t on the corrupt and the shills and the liars in government and demand to know in just what way(s) those clowns are personally profiting at the expense of the taxpayer. They sure as all get-out aren’t representing the best interests of the taxpayers.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to ZooMaster. | August 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    The interests of the taxpayers have not been a consideration of theirs for at least thirty-five years.

    The taxpayers are just a cash resource to these people, much like a sheep farmer harvesting wool from his flock for market.

    I would be delighted to see SF lose electrical power for many months. Better yet, let them go really green and just give up power altogether forevermore.

“… clean, greenhouse gas-free hydroelectric power”

So why are some environmentals hell-bent on removing dams ?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Neo. | August 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    They are hell-bent on change. Logic and consistency needn’t have anything to do with it.

    A couple years ago in my local area in rural eastern NC we had one of those greenie fights over a prospective chicken processing plant. Not one, not two, but THREE different factions of environmentalists fought over which of their respective objections ought to be pressed to stop the plant. None of these folks ever seem able to play well with others.

    ZooMaster in reply to Neo. | August 28, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    As Brother Cavil says, it’s all about power. Not electric power, but power over people. Political power. Hydro plants are not natural. They interfere with the “natural order” of things. C’mon, kidz, it’s been decades now since people started protesting against hydro on the Columbia River. I’m actually shocked that the enviro-nuts aren’t raising unholy hell over the bird kills some say are being caused by wind turbines. The book Agenda 21 may not be very far from truth-in-the-making.

Growing up in the midwest with friends in the logging industry, allow me to say this…