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"There are now extremely serious infrastructure and national security lenses through which we should re-examine this (Klamath Dam destruction) project"
by Ric Costales, retired logger and Siskiyou County Natural Resource Policy Specialist 1/30/24

Ric and Judy Costales clearing dead trees from their property Ric Costales Copco Lake before Copco Dam
destruction last week
Copco Lake after KRRC destroyed the dam and drained the lake: 8 deer drowned in the sludge
Photo by Chrissie Ishida Reynolds


 
Photo from Chrissie Ishida Reynolds Facebook post
No photo description available.
 
"Neighbors: I worked to save the dams both before and during my time working for the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors as their Natural Resource Policy Specialist. We lost that battle and now one of the dams is gone. However, events on the national and international scene are putting the decommissioning in a critical context that never entered the debate before the decision was final.
There are now extremely serious infrastructure and national security lenses through which we should re-examine this project. Earlier, the 163 megawatt, 70,000-home generating capacity was considered a grain of sand on the beach of the national power grid. Their capacity was also, in the broad-based enthrallment with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, thought to be easily replaced.
Not only has time proven that solar and wind replacements are elusive phantoms for various economic and technical reasons, solar conversion in this country is virtually entirely dependent on China for solar panels. Bipartisan federal legislation passed to stop Chinaís use of forced labor has brought the importation of Chinese panels to a crawl and brought utility-scale solar projects to a standstill. We are years if not decades behind federal conversion goals.
And our relations with China and other malefactor states on the international scene are deteriorating rapidly into the realm of serious armed conflict.
I did some research running numbers and investigating replacing the dams with solar. The 10th largest solar farm in America in 2021 is the Mount Signal Solar Project in Calexico, California. It has a capacity of 594 megawatts, occupies 3 square miles, and 3 million solar panels on state of the art tracking systems. It is advertised as providing the electricity for 72,000 homes, 2000 more than the four Klamath dams. Replacing the dams with solar will require one of the largest solar farms in America.
Despite whatever may be the ecological impact of the mining, manufacture, shipping, installation and land dedication for 3 million solar panels, where are we going to get them? And when? We are hopelessly behind in Bidenís renewable energy scheme.
However small the overall size of the Klamath Project, it will have to be replaced. Is this the time to destroy it given the current environment. Perhaps, when technological and infrastructure solutions such as modular nuclear reactors become workable and national and international tensions improve and cool down, but not now. Decommissioning should be put on hold. Itís irresponsible to persist with this project however far along it is, and however willing its proponents are to damn the torpedoes and rush full speed ahead."

 

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