Renewable Energy vs. the Environment

California has aggressively promoted and mandated the development and implementation of renewable energy sources by energy producers.  These policies will invariably lead to conflict with other land uses as the use of massive but low density power sources (wind, solar, tidal) require significant amounts of real estate be dedicated to their installations. 

Many years ago California began to restrict offshore development of gas and oil in  part due to pressure brought by wealthy coastal real estate owners complaints about the unsightly production platforms.  NIMBY.  At the time the loss of production capacity vs the adulterating the natural beauty of the coast was a rationale decision as there were plenty of other sources of energy available.  That is energy was cheap and the view was precious.  And certainly there were better uses of the beach or near shore environments than energy production.

Now we are entering an era of expensive power and the tradeoffs to be made will be  energy production vs. degrading large swaths of land for production facilities, transmission lines and road networks.

The issues exposed in this article will become typical: Will It Be Jobs and Renewables or Private Rights and Aesthetics in Antelope Valley?

With some 13 renewables projects in the works and perhaps twenty more planned, Antelope Valley’s roughly 27,000 acres of high desert lands are poised to become a renewable energy engine unlike anything ever seen before.

The two driving forces: (1) A renewables standard requiring California to obtain a third of its power from renewables by 2020, a near doubling of present capacities, and (2) new Governor Jerry Brown’s determination to meet the standard, typified by his recent call for authorities to “push” and, if necessary, to “crush” opposition.

Expect these conversations about alternative uses of wilderness land in and around urban areas that are primarily used for recreation, conservation or national monuments to become frequent, intense and heated.