Air Force Puts the Brakes on Solar Project


nellis solar farm.jpgA few years ago a Los Angeles-based firm called SolarReserve had what they thought was a great alternative energy idea: A field of mirrors directs sunlight toward a tower filled with salt. The salt heats up to 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit and then flows down to a container where the heat is used to drive turbines that can power upwards of 50,000 homes.

Naturally such a device would need to be built where the sun shines a lot. And, ideally, it wouldn't take up space in a populated area or harm wildlife.

Hey, how about the Nevada desert? At a glance that makes sense, except once you start to move on the idea you realize that "Nevada desert" is synonymous with "Nellis Air Force Base Range Complex."

And among military ranges, Nellis is as mysterious as they come, even for the military aviators who've flown around there. ("The Box" -- rumored to be where nuke testing goes on -- notoriously lurks adjacent to regular operating areas. Troll into it and you'll lose your first-born not to mention your wings.)

So it's little surprise that after originally warming to the idea, the Air Force has balked at having the project on home turf. After all, who wants a bunch of green-minded brainiacs from LA (where they worship the devil -- very un-USAF) arcing around your 'hood, even if your 'hood is in the middle of nowhere?

Read the entire article here.

(Photo: SolarReserve artist's rendering photo)

-- Ward

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