Reason’s Ron Bailey has an interesting piece on “big solar” and some of the issues involved regarding potential future mandates that will require more renewable energy. Invariably this is leading to a huge land grab in the western part of the US with firms vying for the best spots. I guess not all US land prices are falling ☺
There’s a brief update on the methods being developed that will actually allow solar to produce baseload that is really quite fascinating.
Unfortunately parts of the environmental movement is now showing their true colors.
[A] conflict is brewing between the energy and conservation wings of the environmentalist movement. Why? Because solar plants take up a lot of space. In addition, new power lines will have to be built to transmit the renewable power to growing desert and coastal cities. This means trade-offs. Some desert acreage will have to be sacrificed in order to produce energy.
And what does one side of the environmental family say?
The Desert Protective Council has allies in this fight. “The idea that we’re going to sacrifice critical pieces of our environment to protect other pieces of our environment seems a little ironic,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the nonprofit California Parks Foundation in the Los Angeles Times. “That’s an irony I cannot accept. We have to find a way to do both.” In other words, no trade-offs.…..
Schwarzenegger, the California Governor sounds apoplectic:
“It’s not just businesses that have slowed things down, it’s not just Republicans that have slowed things down, it’s also Democrats and also environmental activists sometimes that slow things down,” declared a frustrated Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) during a speech at Yale University this past spring. “They say that we want renewable energy but we don’t want you to put it anywhere, we don’t want you to use it.” Schwarzenegger added, “I don’t know whether this is ironic or absurd. But, I mean, if we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don’t know where the hell we can put it.”
So there you have it and what a surprise: elements of the environmental movement don’t want to build large solar complexes in the desert in case it spoils the pristine environment. I guess there is no pleasing all the enviromentalists all of the time.