The Rise Of The American Gestapo

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

Adolf Hitler is alive and well in the United States, and he is fast rising to power.”

– Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, on the danger posed by the FBI to our civil liberties

Despite the finger-pointing and outcries of dismay from those who are watching the government discard the rule of law at every turn, the question is not whether Donald Trump is the new Adolf Hitler but whether the American Police State is the new Third Reich.

For those who can view the present and past political landscape without partisan blinders, the warning signs are unmistakable: the Deep State’s love affair with totalitarianism began long ago.

Indeed, the U.S. government so admired the Nazi regime that following the second World War, it secretly recruited Hitler’s employees, adopted his protocols, embraced his mindset about law and order, implemented his tactics in incremental steps, and began to lay the foundations for the rise of the Fourth Reich.

Sounds far-fetched? Read on. It’s all documented.

As historian Robert Gellately recounts, “After five years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Nazi police had won the FBI’s seal of approval.” The Nazi police state was initially so admired for its efficiency and order by the world powers of the day that J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police—the Gestapo.

The FBI was so impressed with the Nazi regime that, according to the New York Times, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen.

All told, thousands of Nazi collaborators—including the head of a Nazi concentration camp, among others—were given secret visas and brought to America by way of Project Paperclip. Subsequently, they were hired on as spies and informants, and then camouflaged to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. All the while, thousands of Jewish refugees were refused entry visas to the U.S. on the grounds that it could threaten national security.

Adding further insult to injury, American taxpayers have been paying to keep these ex-Nazis on the U.S. government’s payroll ever since. And in true Gestapo fashion, anyone who has dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties has found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.

As if the government’s covert, taxpayer-funded employment of Nazis after World War II wasn’t bad enough, U.S. government agencies—the FBI, CIA and the military—have fully embraced many of the Nazi’s well-honed policing tactics, and have used them repeatedly against American citizens.

Indeed, with every passing day, the United States government borrows yet another leaf from Nazi Germany’s playbook: Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Censorship. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. Indefinite detention.

These are not tactics used by constitutional republics, where the rule of law and the rights of the citizenry reign supreme. Rather, they are the hallmarks of authoritarian regimes, where the only law that counts comes in the form of heavy-handed, unilateral dictates from a supreme ruler who uses a secret police to control the populace.

That danger is now posed by the FBI, whose laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, harassment and indoctrination, governmental overreach, abuse, misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, and that’s just based on what we know.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government; recruiting high school students to spy on and report fellow students who show signs of being future terrorists; or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.

Whatever minimal restrictions initially kept the FBI’s surveillance activities within the bounds of the law have all but disappeared post-9/11. Since then, the FBI has been transformed into a mammoth federal policing and surveillance agency that largely operates as a power unto itself, beyond the reach of established laws, court rulings and legislative mandates.

Consider the FBI’s far-reaching powers to surveil, detain, interrogate, investigate, prosecute, punish, police and generally act as a law unto themselves—much like their Nazi cousins, the Gestapo—and then try to convince yourself that the United States is still a constitutional republic.

Just like the Gestapo, the FBI has vast resources, vast investigatory powers, and vast discretion to determine who is an enemy of the state.

Today, the FBI employs more than 35,000 individuals and operates more than 56 field offices in major cities across the U.S., as well as 400 resident agencies in smaller towns, and more than 50 international offices. In addition to their “data campus,” which houses more than 96 million sets of fingerprints from across the United States and elsewhere, the FBI has also built a vast repository of “profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.” The FBI’s burgeoning databases on Americans are not only being added to and used by local police agencies, but are also being made available to employers for real-time background checks.

All of this is made possible by the agency’s nearly unlimited resources (its minimum budget alone in fiscal year 2015 was $8.3 billion), the government’s vast arsenal of technology, the interconnectedness of government intelligence agencies, and information sharing through fusion centers—data collecting intelligence agencies spread throughout the country that constantly monitor communications (including those of American citizens), everything from internet activity and web searches to text messages, phone calls and emails.

Much like the Gestapo spied on mail and phone calls, FBI agents have carte blanche access to the citizenry’s most personal information.

Working through the U.S. Post Office, the FBI has access to every piece of mail that passes through the postal system: more than 160 billion pieces are scanned and recorded annually. Moreover, the agency’s National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose those demands to the customer. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread constitutional violations.

Much like the Gestapo’s sophisticated surveillance programs, the FBI’s spying capabilities can delve into Americans’ most intimate details (and allow local police to do so, as well).

In addition to technology (which is shared with police agencies) that allows them to listen in on phone calls, read emails and text messages, and monitor web activities, the FBI’s surveillance boasts an invasive collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls.  In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.” Law enforcement agencies are also using social media tracking software to monitor Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. Moreover, secret FBI rules also allow agents to spy on journalists without significant judicial oversight.

Much like the Gestapo’s ability to profile based on race and religion, and its assumption of guilt by association, the FBI’s approach to pre-crime allows it to profile Americans based on a broad range of characteristics including race and religion.

The agency’s biometric database has grown to massive proportions, the largest in the world, encompassing everything from fingerprints, palm, face and iris scans to DNA, and is being increasingly shared between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to target potential criminals long before they ever commit a crime. This is what’s known as pre-crime. Yet it’s not just your actions that will get you in trouble. In many cases, it’s also who you know—even minimally—and where your sympathies lie that could land you on a government watch list. Moreover, as the Intercept reports, despite anti-profiling prohibitions, the bureau “claims considerable latitude to use race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion in deciding which people and communities to investigate.”

Much like the Gestapo’s power to render anyone an enemy of the state, the FBI has the power to label anyone a domestic terrorist.

As part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the nation’s de facto secret police force has begun using the terms “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably. Moreover, the government continues to add to its growing list of characteristics that can be used to identify an individual (especially anyone who disagrees with the government) as a potential domestic terrorist. For instance, you might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you:

  • express libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers)

  • exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views (NRA or gun club membership)

  • read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books

  • show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)

  • fear an economic collapse

  • buy gold and barter items

  • subscribe to religious views concerning the book of Revelation

  • voice fears about Big Brother or big government

  • expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties

  • believe in a New World Order conspiracy

Much like the Gestapo infiltrated communities in order to spy on the German citizenry, the FBI routinely infiltrates political and religious groups, as well as businesses.

As Cora Currier writes for the Intercept: “Using loopholes it has kept secret for years, the FBI can in certain circumstances bypass its own rules in order to send undercover agents or informants into political and religious organizations, as well as schools, clubs, and businesses…” The FBI has even been paying Geek Squad technicians at Best Buy to spy on customers’ computers without a warrant.

Just as the Gestapo united and militarized Germany’s police forces into a national police force, America’s police forces have largely been federalized and turned into a national police force.

In addition to government programs that provide the nation’s police forces with military equipment and training, the FBI also operates a National Academy that trains thousands of police chiefs every year and indoctrinates them into an agency mindset that advocates the use of surveillance technology and information sharing between local, state, federal, and international agencies.

Just as the Gestapo’s secret files on political leaders were used to intimidate and coerce, the FBI’s files on anyone suspected of “anti-government” sentiment have been similarly abused.

As countless documents make clear, the FBI has no qualms about using its extensive powers in order to blackmail politicians, spy on celebrities and high-ranking government officials, and intimidate and attempt to discredit dissidents of all stripes. For example, not only did the FBI follow Martin Luther King Jr. and bug his phones and hotel rooms, but agents also sent him anonymous letters urging him to commit suicide and pressured a Massachusetts college into dropping King as its commencement speaker.

Just as the Gestapo carried out entrapment operations, the FBI has become a master in the art of entrapment.

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the FBI has not only targeted vulnerable individuals but has also lured or blackmailed them into fake terror plots while actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing or deporting them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward leaning—preventative—prosecutions.” In addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts. USA Todayestimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day. Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.

When and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America, in much the same way that the empowerment of Germany’s secret police tracked with the rise of the Nazi regime.

How did the Gestapo become the terror of the Third Reich?

It did so by creating a sophisticated surveillance and law enforcement system that relied for its success on the cooperation of the military, the police, the intelligence community, neighborhood watchdogs, government workers for the post office and railroads, ordinary civil servants, and a nation of snitches inclined to report “rumors, deviant behavior, or even just loose talk.”

In other words, ordinary citizens working with government agents helped create the monster that became Nazi Germany. Writing for the New York Times, Barry Ewen paints a particularly chilling portrait of how an entire nation becomes complicit in its own downfall by looking the other way:

In what may be his most provocative statement, [author Eric A.] Johnson says that ‘‘most Germans may not even have realized until very late in the war, if ever, that they were living in a vile dictatorship.’’ This is not to say that they were unaware of the Holocaust; Johnson demonstrates that millions of Germans must have known at least some of the truth. But, he concludes, ‘‘a tacit Faustian bargain was struck between the regime and the citizenry.’’ The government looked the other way when petty crimes were being committed. Ordinary Germans looked the other way when Jews were being rounded up and murdered; they abetted one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century not through active collaboration but through passivity, denial and indifference.

Much like the German people, “we the people” have become passive, polarized, gullible, easily manipulated, and lacking in critical thinking skills.  Distracted by entertainment spectacles, politics and screen devices, we too are complicit, silent partners in creating a police state similar to the terror practiced by former regimes.

Had the government tried to ram such a state of affairs down our throats suddenly, it might have had a rebellion on its hands.

Instead, the American people have been given the boiling frog treatment, immersed in water that slowly is heated up—degree by degree—so that they’ve fail to notice that they’re being trapped and cooked and killed.

“We the people” are in hot water now.

The Constitution doesn’t stand a chance against a federalized, globalized standing army of government henchmen protected by legislative, judicial and executive branches that are all on the same side, no matter what political views they subscribe to: suffice it to say, they are not on our side or the side of freedom.

From Clinton to Bush, then Obama and now Trump, it’s as if we’ve been caught in a time loop, forced to re-live the same thing over and over again: the same assaults on our freedoms, the same disregard for the rule of law, the same subservience to the Deep State, and the same corrupt, self-serving government that exists only to amass power, enrich its shareholders and ensure its continued domination.

Can the Fourth Reich happen here?

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it’s already happening right under our noses.

$100,000 Per Year Is Now The Bare Minimum To Live Alone In New York

It’s getting extremely difficult to live in New York if you’re making less than six figures, according to a new analysis from Bloomberg. The impact is being felt by those who live alone and it’s taking place in areas that were previously seen as affordable.

Solo renters in popular Brooklyn neighborhoods like Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill now need to be making at least $100,000 per year to live there, a dramatic change from just five years ago. The lower east side of Manhattan has also followed suit.

Readers can use this interactive map (after the jump) to explore the 5 year differences on many neighborhoods in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

A study from StreetEasy looked at neighborhoods with at least 250 rentals available in 2019 and extrapolated the annual salary needed to afford a median one bedroom or studio apartment. They assumed that no more than 40% of income was spent on rent.

People in Manhattan living alone would need a gross income of $115,800, which is more than twice the city median of $57,782.

This chart details all of the increases in salary necessary for many neighborhoods over the last five years.

Some of the most “affordable” neighborhoods in the city required the biggest raises in salary over the last five years.

For instance, renters in East Flatbush need to earn 33% more than they did in 2014 to live alone, with that figure coming in at $68,000. Central Harlem now requires that you make $82,000 to live alone, up 21% and the largest increase in Manhattan for the period.

But hey, if those prices are too steep and if you want to live within your means in Manhattan, you could always look for something more affordable and rent a 300 square foot apartment

“Debt Book Diplomacy” Across BRI: ‘Hidden Debts’ Reveal Risks Of China’s Lending-Spree

Authored by Gordon Watts via The Asia Times,

For many poor nations, it is a long and winding road to ‘debt’ and ‘corruption.’ A journey littered with economic potholes in the shape of China’s signature foreign policy project which was unveiled by President Xi Jinping six years ago.

 

In short, the US$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative, along with other foreign funding, has become a magical mystery tour, baffling the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Or, according to critics, a diplomatic car crash waiting to happen.

“Compared with China’s dominance in world trade, its expanding role in global finance is poorly documented and understood,” a report released last week by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy stated.

“Over the past decades, China has exported record amounts of capital to the rest of the world. Many of these financial flows are not reported to the IMF, the BIS [the Bank for International Settlements] or the World Bank,” authors Sebastian Horn, of Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University,  Carmen M Reinhart, of the Harvard Kennedy School in the United States, and Christoph Trebesch, of the Kiel Institute for the World Economyin Germany, wrote.

“‘Hidden debts’ to China are especially significant for about three dozen developing countries, and distort the risk assessment in both policy surveillance and the market pricing of sovereign debt,” the working paper added.

The study then went on to highlight that China is now the world’s largest creditor.

A breakdown of the numbers showed that lending soared to around US$5 trillion by 2018 from roughly $500 billion in 2000, which dwarfs World Bank and IMF credit lines.

“This dramatic increase in Chinese official lending and investment is almost unprecedented in peacetime history,” the report revealed. “Lower-income developing economies mostly receive direct loans from China’s state-owned banks, often at market rates and backed by collateral such as oil,” the report revealed.

“Our new dataset covers a total of 1,974 Chinese loans and 2,947 Chinese grants to 152 countries from 1949 to 2017. We find that about one-half of China’s overseas loans to the developing world are ‘hidden,’” it continued.

A main challenge to explore China’s large-scale official lending boom is its opacity. Unlike the United States, the Chinese government does not release data on its lending activities abroad or those of its government entities. No data is therefore available from the creditor side,” the working paper added.

Indeed, the lack of transparency has become an issue with the Belt and Road Initiative. Launched in a fanfare of state-media hype in 2013, the BRI is epic in scale and has become an extension of China’s global ambitions.

Controversy

Crucial to the program are strands of the ‘New Silk Road’ superhighways connecting the world’s second-largest economy with 70 nations and 4.4 billion people across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe in a maze of multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects, including a web of digital links.

Yet in the past 18 months, the venture has been mired in controversy after being branded a “debt trap” by the US and its key Western allies.

“Similarly, China does not provide details on its Belt and Road Initiative and its direct lending activities,” the study by the Kiel Institute pointed out.

“Apart from the aforementioned omissions in reporting to the Paris Club, China does not divulge data on its official flows with the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System, and it is not part of the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] Export Credit Group, which provides data on long- and short-term trade credit flows,” it continued.

“With regard to cross-border banking, China recently joined the list of countries reporting to the BIS, but the data [has] not [been] made available on a bilateral basis and the coverage is incomplete. Taken together, these data limitations make it very challenging to do rigorous empirical work on China’s official capital exports,” the report added.

A graphic from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy report.

Last year, a comprehensive study released by the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think tank, singled out 23 countries prone to “debt distress.”

Of the group, Pakistan, Djibouti, the Maldives, Laos, Mongolia, Montenegro, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were rated in the “high risk” category.

Sri Lanka was another after it handed over control of the Hambantota Port to China’s state-owned Merchants Port Holdings at the end of 2017 under the weight of massive loans.

Stung by phrases such as “debt book diplomacy,” Beijing has again pledged to increase transparency when it comes to commercial funding.

During a keynote speech at the annual BRI Forum in the National Convention Center in Beijing, Xi addressed mounting concerns in front of foreign dignitaries.

“The Belt and Road is an initiative for economic cooperation, instead of a geopolitical alliance or military league, and it is an open and inclusive process rather than an exclusive bloc or ‘China club’,” he said in April.

“Everything should be done in a transparent way and we should have zero tolerance for corruption.”

Since then, the ruling Communist Party has announced plans to expand its anti-corruption campaign to BRI projects.

In the past, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection had limited involvement in the program but that is starting to change.

“How can you strike hard on corruption here at home and give a free hand to Chinese people and business groups [that are] reckless abroad,” La Yifan, the director-general for international co-operation at the CCDI, told the Financial Times last week. “Part of the campaign is to go after corruption and stolen assets abroad.

“[We aim to] create a network of law enforcement of all these Belt and Road countries,” he added.

So, will this long and winding road finally have flashing warning signs of “debt” and “corruption?” Or will this continue to be a highway to economic hell? BRI nations might want to buckle up for a bumpy ride.

California Turns To Farming Photons As Water Woes Result In Central Valley Solar Fields

California’s Central Valley is going green(er). Thanks to constrained water supplies and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) which requires over 500,000 acres be taken out of production, some of the Golden State’s more than 77,000 farms are embarking on ambitious solar projects, according to the LA Times

The Maricopa West solar project. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Converting farmland to solar farms also could be critical to meeting California’s climate change targets. That’s according to a new report from the Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit.

Working with the consulting firm Energy and Environmental Economics, the conservancy tried to figure out how California could satisfy its appetite for clean energy without destroying ecologically sensitive lands across the American West. The report lays out possible answers to one of the big questions facing renewable energy: Which areas should be dedicated to solar panels and wind turbines, and which areas should be protected for the sake of wildlife, outdoor recreation, farming and grazing?

One takeaway from the report, released this week: California will need hundreds or maybe thousands of square miles of solar power production in the coming decades — and it would make sense to build one-third to one-half of that solar capacity on agricultural lands, mostly within the state.LA Times

The 160-acre Maricopa West project, pictured, would be dwarfed by Westlands Solar Park, planned for the Central Valley, which could extend across 20,000 acres. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

By utilizing land which has already been ‘ecologically degraded’ (saving the state’s desert critters from solar annihilation), California can convert a ton of land to solar panels without harming the state’s $50 billion annual agriculture industry. According to a prior study by UC Berkeley, the state has at least 470,000 acres of “least-conflict” lands in the San Juaqin Valley (the lower portion of the Central Valley) where “salty soil, poor drainage or otherwise less-than-ideal farming conditions could make solar an attractive alternative for landowners,” according to the Times

The next project is going to be 100 megawatts. It’s going to be five times this size,” said John Reiter, a renewable energy developer and farmer who has already gone solar on 160 acres and has big plans for the future. 

Jon Reiter, a senior adviser to Maricopa Orchards, walks between a solar array and almond groves. The solar energy project was part of a 6,000-acre habitat conservation plan.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

At Maricopa Orchards — a major Fresno-based grower of almonds, oranges and other crops — Reiter hatched a plan to build solar panels on thousands of acres of agricultural land in Kern County.

He worked with local officials to create a 6,000-acre habitat conservation plan, which allows solar panels on 4,000 acres of the company’s land and sets aside 2,000 additional acres for environmental mitigation. The mitigation lands are now reverting back to habitat for San Joaquin kit foxes, blunt-nosed leopard lizards, burrowing owls and other at-risk species.

Reiter’s vision is a work in progress: So far, only 160 acres have been developed with solar. The 20-megawatt Maricopa West solar project was built by the German company E.ON and sold to Dominion Energy of Virginia, on land adjacent to almond orchards. –LA Times

Reiter says he’s negotiating with three developers on seven ‘shovel-ready’ solar projects, with “permits and mitigation lands ready to go, saving them time and money,” according to the report. 

Big plans

Meanwhile, other Central Valley agricultural producers are gearing up for their own projects. 

Wonderful Co. — which grows tree nuts and owns Pom Wonderful, Fiji Water and Justin Wines — is aiming to power its operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2025. Wonderful opened its first solar project in 2007 and this year signed a contract with Florida-based developer NextEra Energy for a 23-megawatt solar installation, to be built on 157 acres of fallow farmland.

Wonderful sees “tremendous potential for siting solar on agricultural land,” said Steven Swartz, the company’s vice president of strategy. Wonderful, owned by Beverly Hills billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, can make about as much money producing solar power over a 30-year period, Swartz said, as it can growing almonds and pistachios, two of the most lucrative crops grown in California.

In one case we’re growing an agricultural product that has value, and in another case we’re producing electrons that have value,” he said.

Swartz added that he expects “relatively limited competition” between solar and agriculture because there’s already so much farmland that isn’t in production in the Central Valley. Wonderful has 10,000 acres it’s keeping fallow, he said, either due to poor soil conditions or insufficient water. In 2015, at the height of California’s most recent drought, Central Valley farmers kept about 1 million acres idle all year, NASA scientists estimated. –LA Times

So far the biggest Central Valley solar project is being planned by Westlands Solar Park, which is scheduled to break ground on the first 670 megawatts of a project which could eventually grow to 2,700 megawatts across 20,000 acres. It will be built on “drainage-impaired” land where the soil has been spoiled with tons of “crop-killing salts and toxic selenium” because layers of clay under the dirt prevent irrigation from reaching the underground aquifer. 

If you continue to farm these types of lands, you continue to make the drainage problems worse and worse,” said DCaniel Kim, VP of regulatory and government affairs for developer Golden State Clean Energy. 

How much will it cost to go solar?

According to the Times, citing the Nature Conservancy’s “Power of Place” report, developing solar farms on in-state land which has regulatory clearance could cost around $110 billion. If the projects were to expand to lands with endangered species or, that figure could rise to $125 billion. Easing land-use rules, meanwhile, would bring the costs down to around $106 billion. 

“That West-wide scenario is the best-case scenario,” said Arne Olson, a co-author of the Nature Conservancy report and senior partner at the consulting firm Energy and Environmental Economics. 

The “Power of Place” report doesn’t capture every force that could shape California’s energy future. It assumes no development of offshore wind power, despite enormous potential for turbines off the Pacific coast. It also doesn’t account for other states’ renewable energy needs, which could be substantial.

Still, clean energy advocates say the document could help California officials balance development with ecosystem protection as they plan for 100% climate-friendly electricity by 2045, the target adopted by lawmakers last year. In 2018, California got 31% of its electricity from renewables including solar and wind, and another 20% from zero-carbon nuclear and large hydropower facilities.

The Nature Conservancy’s report “appears to outline thoughtful options for how to site the projects we need to meet the climate crisis,” said Shannon Eddy, executive director of the Large-scale Solar Assn., a Sacramento-based trade group. –LA Times

Read the rest of the report here