Where Solar Does & Doesn't Fit - Differing Views
Posted on November 6, 2015
This Tuesday, the New York Times in its "Room for Debate" online feature ran a trio of articles on "The Costs of Solar to the Environment." In my contribution, "Don't Ignore a Solar Cornucopia," I argued that we will need to make selective use of our open spaces for utility-scale solar in order to achieve the transformation we are looking for in our electricity sector. I suggested that we start with farmland, already altered from its natural state, but I pointed to examples of environmentally responsible solar development in areas that still have high natural resource values. Erica Brand, California energy program director at The Nature Conservancy, maintained in her article that sound scientific planning can minimize the adverse environmental impacts of large solar projects.
Janine Blaeloch, founder and director of the Western Lands Project, weighed in with a very different perspective. She asserted that "federal lands are being ruined for inefficient solar energy." In her view, solar should be kept within our already built-up areas. She took particular aim at solar and transmission projects on federal public lands.
Our three-way debate generated a tidal wave of spirited, even vehement responses. Take a look!