This is really wrong — you’re giving in to hype that’s been moved by enemies of clean energy. The amount of desert area that solar projects occupy is a small fraction of the land we are permanently destroying with coal mining. All US electric power could be delivered from a 92 x 92 mile patch of desert — eliminating all the mountaintop removal, all the destruction of Montana/Wyoming, and most importantly the thousand-year destruction of Earth’s climate from dirty energy systems.
I think these industrial-scale green energy schemes (solar, biofuels, wind) are just a way for big energy companies to make more money (through government subsidies and adding charges to customers), and that they have no intention whatsoever of burning less oil and coal. It’s just adding one more energy source; not substituting for more destructive ones — as far as I can tell.
If I’m wrong, that would be great, and I’d support it.
Hear hear, John and admin,
Decentralized solar and wind, efficiency and better, more fulfilling lives are better for democracy, individuals, and the biosphere. This desert thing is just one more cynical, manipulative attack on the real solutions to climate catastrophe and peak oil/peak everything. It’a being funded and spread by people who brought us the equally nonsensical wind”mill”-bird lie. Stop and think if they’ve ever cared about birds and desert ecosystems before–in the millions of development projects, logging, mining projects, golf courses, pesticide use, landscraping of all varieties… Have the anti-solar and -wind people ever once suggested those far more destructive projects kill birds and destroy ecosystems, desert or otherwise?
Since the sun shines down upon us all (and the bldgs we work in and homes we live in), doesn’t it make better sense that we put those solar panels on them, and leave the desert alone? why destroy that habitat needlessly?
Decentralized energy won’t work in very many places. The solar panels to power a building require a larger footprint than the building particularly in the highly populated areas in the US (like where I live) that are both sun and wind poor. These areas would be resigned to poverty. In most areas, the necessary land area and excess resources to provide the local generation would lead to big environmental impacts, even more suburban sprawl, and attendent car use, lack of publc transportation and all that that entails.
Finally, I find this whole “everyone need to generate their own energy locally” to be anti-solidarity and ultimately another form of hyper-privatization. There is nothing wrong with a continent wide centralized syatem of electric energy if it is publicly owned and democratically administered. Indeed, such a syatem will be the only way renewable energy will ever be practical on the large scale.
And finally, I am troubled by people who are not at all practicing experts in technical things who nonetheless insert ideology into every technical and engineering issue then wnat a say in the technical matter. This is exactly what the AGW denialists do! Part of solidarity is trusting a brother/sister who is an engineer in the technical matter in question that they know what they are talking about – while they trust what others are talking about in their fields of knowlege.
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