Sunday, February 3, 2013

Agriculture: Solar, Wind, Oil and the "Honey Spread"

I've long maintained that solar and wind turbine farms preclude dual-use of the land, unlike the Bakken in North Dakota.

We now have a story from The Dickinson Press.
There’s a land rush of sorts going on across the nation’s most productive farming region, but these buyers don’t want to grow crops. They want to plant solar farms.
With California mandating that 33 percent of electricity be generated from renewables by the end of the decade, there are 227 proposed solar projects in the pipeline statewide. Coupled with wind and other renewables they would generate enough electricity to meet 100 percent of California’s power needs on an average summer day, the California Independent System Operator says.
And new applications for projects keep arriving.
Developers are flocking to flat farmland near power transmission lines, but agriculture interests, environmental groups and even the state are concerned that there is no official accounting of how much of this important agricultural region’s farmland is being taken out of production.
North Dakota is #1 in honey production, well ahead of California which is #2. Taking a bit more farmland out of production in California will widen the "honey spread."

I will not be tracking the "honey spread."

To the best of my knowledge, the amount of farmland taken out of production due to the oil industry in the entire state of North Dakota is minimal. The operators in the current boom are minimizing the footprint by putting multiple wells on one pad, minimizing the pad footprint, and minimizing the number of roads needed to get to the pad.

It is interesting that elsewhere - at other web sites -- there have been folks in North Dakota who have argued loudly that wells should be placed evenly throughout each section rather than bunching them up on pads. That would be an option.


  1. That two inch fish bait has priority so the desert has claimed former farmland cut off from access to water. They still have to pay their property taxes at the former valuation so now it is the farming of solar panels.

    The bad ideas don't quit coming from the land of fruits and Nuts.
    I sure don't care what California does, just keep their bad ideas locked up out there and prevent them from infecting the rest of the country as much as possible. Nothing very appealing out there anymore and people that have anything are getting out ASP.

    1. For geography and climate, I would love to spend more time in California, but a lot of elitists would have to move out of the state before I would settle there.