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In many parts of the American southwest, a mesa is a flat topped geological formation known as a tableland. One of them is the Morman Mesa, a 149,000 acre tableland located above the confluence of the Muddy and Virgin Rivers, north of Las Vegas, Nevada.

The area is under the control of the federal Bureau of Land Management and is a protected area for the desert tortoise. It is also the home of Double Negative, an artistic rendering by artist Micheal Heizer. It consists of two trenches 30 feet wide, 50 feet deep, and 1500 feet long dug into the Earth. It is significant that the 244,000 tons of rocks excavated to create the “sculpture” were unceremoniously dumped into the valley below during its construction. More about that later.

Several years ago, a plan spearheaded by then Senator Harry Reid was put forward to build Battle Born Solar Project, the largest solar power plant in the United States, on Mormon Mesa. The project would cover 14 square miles — about 9000 acres, or less than 7% of the mesa’s total area. Over time, the project developer became Solar Partner VII, a subsidiary of California based Arevia.

Even though the project would be sited out of sight of nearby towns, it provoked a fierce backlash from the local community, a backlash that coalesced into something called Save Our Mesa. At the end of July, Arevia notified BLM it was abandoning the project. The Save Our Mesa folks were ecstatic.

The group argued such a large installation would be an eyesore and curtail the area’s popular recreational activities such as riding dirt bikes and ATVs and skydiving. It also said it would discourage tourists from visiting Heizer’s Double Negative sculpture. But the heart of the protest was “not in my backyard” self-interest. Let’s take a look at the overheated language presented on the group’s website.

I first want to make it clear that we are just a group of residents that saw a possible tragedy for our community and our way of life. We are NOT against renewable energy, we are against irresponsible decisions that are being made without sufficient studies as to what the impacts are.

The majority of our community’s revenue comes from tourism. We lost a lot of tourism and businesses when the shrinking lake levels of Lake Mead occurred closing a nearby beach. We have struggled but built back our economy through tourism. When people come and camp/hotel for a week, they buy our gas, our groceries, eat in our restaurants, use our mechanics and parts stores. This allows these businesses to thrive thus keeping us self sufficient. Feedback from many of our Snowbirds was that they would look for new places to go ‘[if the solar power plant was built]. That’s lost revenue. 

We were simply trying to save our community and our way of life. We are not expendable for the “greater good” as I was told we should be! Moapa Valley would NOT gain anything from this project. In fact the power was slated for California. So why should we sacrifice OUR lives? The solar farm that was being proposed was going to be the largest in the nation. 14 sq miles, equivalent to 2/3 the size of Manhattan. Our homes are less than 8000’ from it.

There aren’t enough studies to show what this size of a project would do to us. Will our temps be too hot to live here, would the dust choke us or make us sick, would we ever get rainfall? Would our rivers, that run down both sides of the Mesa into Lake Mead, get contaminated? The list goes on. These were SERIOUS concerns! Simply “saying” that won’t happen, was not good enough, we were essentially going to be lab rats. Our goal all along was to get them to move this project to a more appropriate location, in which they have stated is one of their reasons for withdrawal.

Why are we not pushing for rooftop solar as much as we are pushing to destroy the desert southwests public lands? Look at the rooftops available in major metropolitan areas alone!! Las Vegas has thousands of acres of rooftop with the casinos alone!

We need to slow this rush to solar farms in the desert until studies are done. What will it look like in 10, 20, or 30 years down the road when all these solar farms age out. Are we creating a bigger problem for our future generations when there is millions of tons of non-recyclable waste? The deserts would never recover. Once it’s done, it can’t be undone.

Dissecting The Opposition

OK. That’s quite a long list of complaints Save Our Mesa has got there. And some of them are valid. If the Battle Born Solar Project did actually have a negative impact on the local economy [the developers says it would create over 2,000 new jobs], that would be a valid reason to oppose it. But many of the group’s complaints are 100% pure horse puckey.

A solar power plant will create dust that will roll down and pollute the local lakes and rivers, but thousands of people tearing up the landscape on dirt bikes, off-road vehicles, and jeeps won’t? That strains credulity. Millions of tons of non-recyclable waste? Where did they hear that, Tucker Carlson? And what about the 244,000 tons of debris from the Double Negative project that got dumped into the valley below. Was that used to mulch the petunias in local flower beds?

That seems like the comment left recently on a story I did about Toyota and its anti-EV policies. “Super smart move, let’s all replace CO2 emissions with toxic batteries that end up in rivers and lakes.” Yup, there’s some certified Artificial Stupidity right there.

Selfishness And Self-Interest

NIMBYism is strong in some of the group’s complaints. Why should they provide electricity to those pinheads in San Francisco and LA? The connection between an overheating planet and a lack of water to fill Lake Mead apparently is too remote for them to comprehend. But people are funny. Folks in Wyoming wonder the same thing about wind farms that supply power to West Coast nerds. Those who live in western New York are none too keen about giving up their farmland to keep the lights on in New York City.

Can you suggest a strategy that might help get people onboard with renewable energy? How about cutting them in on the deal by sharing some of that clean energy with the local community? That’s such a no brainer that it’s hard to believe every renewable energy developer doesn’t make it part of their toolkit every time a project is proposed.

Would the attitudes of local residents change if they could have access to clean energy at an attractive price? How about helping them get residential storage batteries that would keep their lights on if there is a power outage?

The Takeaway

A lot of the complaints about the Battle Born Solar Project are overblown, but there is a kernel of reality to them. People who are worried about their personal finances are inclined to be a little bit skittish about slick-talking outsiders riding into town with a trunk load of fancy promises. I’m nobody from nowhere, but I know a developer has to offer the locals something to get them to buy in to all those pie-in-the-sky plans.

You wouldn’t expect a new car customer to buy an EV just because it’s good for the planet, would you? Why should renewable energy be any different? These developers don’t seem to have a very good understanding of human behavior. Yes, the locals doth protest too much, but the developer deserves some blame for handling the public relations aspect of its project so poorly.

Why spend all that time and money on plans and permits but none on some good old-fashioned salesmanship? The US and the world are the big losers in this deal.

[Editor’s note: Some research in Denmark several years ago found that a critical solution to avoid NIMBYism blocking large wind power projects was to bring the financial benefits to locals to some degree — give them a cut of the profits. I’m not sure how much that insight is used by large renewable energy project developers, but as Steve says, at this stage, “it’s hard to believe every renewable energy developer doesn’t make it part of their toolkit every time a project is proposed.” My impression, though, is that not much is offered to local communities in almost all cases. Promises of jobs and an economic boost, of course, but not clear direct benefits to nearby residents. —Zach]

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This ultra-fast compact EV charger has an integrated battery – and it’s coming to the US

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This ultra-fast compact EV charger has an integrated battery – and it's coming to the US

ADS-TEC Energy today debuted ChargePost, a compact battery-based EV charging system that enables ultra-fast charging without the need to extend the existing grid.

ChargePost is an all-in-one design that integrates the battery, electronics, cooling system, and charger in a compact container that ADS-TEC Energy says requires less than 21.5 square feet (2 sq m) of ground space.

Each ChargePost, which is 100% made in Germany, is equipped with two charging points that give drivers up to 300 kW DC power with one charging point and 150 kW with two charging points in use at the same time. It has a configurable 143 or 201 kWh battery capacity. Battery modules can be swapped out as needed, which increases the charger’s longevity. ADS-TEC says it only takes five minutes of charging at ChargePost for more than a 100 km (62-mile) drive.

The integrated charging cable with uncooled CCS1/CCS2 connector is at least 3 meters long. It has a 10-inch touchscreen interface and an “easy-to-use” payment terminal. 

From the first half of 2023, ChargePost will be capable of feeding stored energy back into the grid, and it can also be paired with solar.

DS-TEC says that ChargePost can be set up quickly with a forklift and that its instillation is plug-and-play. Because it’s battery-based, it can connect directly to any existing, power-limited, low-voltage grid. That means it can be installed in a variety of locations, including inner cities and rural areas where high-voltage grids often aren’t available.

ChargePost is on the market now in Europe, and it’s expected to be launch in the United States in 2023.

Read more: Electrify America’s first megawatt-level battery storage-backed charging station reduces stress on the grid


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Canoo (GOEV) delivers EV pickup for US Army use – which makes sense

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Canoo (GOEV) delivers EV pickup for US Army use – which makes sense

EV maker Canoo (GOEV) is on a mission to provide electric vehicles for multiple uses with its flexible Multi-Purpose Platform. Canoo announced today it has officially delivered its Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) EV based on the platform to the US Army.

Meanwhile, the military implementing electric vehicles can do more than protect the planet from climate change.

Founded in 2017, Canoo has overcome several hurdles in bringing its “use case” EV platform to market.

With nearly $1 billion in investments and over 250 patents, Canoo’s Multi-Purpose Platform was born. Despite the technological advancements, Canoo was running out of funds, expressing “substantial doubt” in its ability to continue operations.

Canoo quickly secured a purchase agreement with Walmart to provide at least 4,500 EVs in exchange for exercisable warranted shares, giving the company a lifeline.

The company’s “Made in America” approach has positioned it well to benefit from the incentives provided by the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act. After choosing a 630,000-square-foot facility in Oklahoma City, Canoo says it’s ready to begin commercial production.

The company’s Multi-Purpose Platform is finding plenty of “use cases” outside of the typical commercial customers.

NASA recently chose Canoo’s proprietary EV platform to transport crew members to the Artemis launch pad. Yet the EV makers platform is capable of more than just transporting from point A to B, as the US Army has given Canoo another opportunity to showcase its technology.

Canoo supplying electric vehicles for the US Army

In July 2022, the US Army tapped Canoo to supply an EV for analysis and demonstration. The partnership comes after the US Army released a new climate strategy in February, including implementing electric vehicles to lower climate emissions.

The American EV maker announced today it has successfully delivered its Light Tactical Vehicle to the US Army, fulfilling its initial contract terms. CEO Tony Aquila commented on the achievement, saying:

The LTV is another milestone proving the power of our technology and how it can be used, even in tactical situations.

Canoo’s LTV comes loaded with an all-wheel drive system delivering up to 600 hp. To support off-road driving, the LTV features a raised suspension, air-springs, and 32-inch all-terrain tires.

Many are wondering – can electric vehicles make a difference?

Canoo-US-Army
GM Defense electric military vehicle

How the US Military can benefit from deploying electric vehicles

Canoo isn’t the only automaker supplying electric vehicle technology for military use. GM Defense, the advanced defense mobility innovation unit of General Motors, was selected by the Defense Innovation Unit (DUI) to develop a battery pack that can power functional electric military vehicles.

The DIU is a unit of the Department of Defense specializing in “strengthening our national security by accelerating the adoption of leading commercial technology throughout the military.”

Electric vehicles offer benefits over their gas-powered peers. They’re stealthier, more powerful, and have technologically advanced options.

A recent post from the Modern War Institute at West Point highlights the US Military’s need “to take advantage of this electrification trend and follow fast in adopting the best new technologies,” offering insights into the case for electric military vehicles.

  • The US Military is the largest institutional consumer of petroleum fuels globally, using up to 4.2 billion gallons of fuel annually.
  • Over $9 billion was spent on fuel by the Defense Logistics Agency in 2019 (they pay a premium).
  • The price of delivering fuel to remote operations can be as much as $1,000 per gallon.
  • Fuel convoys are especially vulnerable to attacks. Between 2003 and 2007, one in eight casualties in Iraq were due to protecting the convoys.

We are seeing examples of how electric vehicles are already winning out over their gas-powered counterparts in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Russian military vehicles sat in a 40-mile-long convoy after a fuel logistics mishap.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian snipers used tactical electric bikes to silently sneak into their target area, engage the enemy, and quickly flee before being spotted.

The examples show electric vehicles may prove to be more beneficial in the military than many assume. EVs can save the military money on maintenance and fuel costs while providing silent, rapid transportation.

Perhaps, more importantly, it will reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, which can be used to start or prolong a war.

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Tesla Semi Delivery Event news hub: Livestream and updates

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Tesla Semi Delivery Event news hub: Livestream and updates

Tesla is holding its “Tesla Semi Delivery Event” today at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) to deliver the first electric truck to customers. The company is also expected to have a presentation about the production version of the truck.

Here’s our news hub for the event, where you can watch the livestream and get updates.

Three years late, but it is now here. Tesla is going to deliver the first production version of the Tesla Semi electric truck to customers – to PepsiCo, to be more specific.

The Tesla Semi was first unveiled in 2017, and it was supposed to enter production in 2020, but it was delayed several times.

Now the automaker is finally ready to make the first deliveries after having started low-volume production at a facility outside of Gigafactory Nevada in October.

Today, Tesla is expected to deliver the first few units to Pepsi. After the launch of Tesla Semi in 2017, PepsiCo placed one of the biggest orders for Tesla Semi – 100 electric trucks to add to its fleet. The company planned to use 15 of those trucks for a project to turn its Frito-Lay Modesto, California, site into a zero-emission facility. Last year, PepsiCo said that it expected to take deliveries of those 15 Tesla Semi trucks by the end of the year before it was delayed again.

On top of the first deliveries, Tesla is expected to give an update on the specs and pricing of the electric truck, which are expected to be updated from the original 2017 unveiling.

Those are the base expectations for the event, but there could also be a few surprises since Tesla used the original Tesla Semi unveiling for a surprise unveiling of the Tesla Roaster.

We never know.

Tesla Semi Delivery Event livestream

Here we are going to share posts based on the most important news coming out of the Tesla Semi Delivery Event:

Refresh the page to get the latest information.

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