Citizen Coalition Criticizes Obama Energy Proposal

A coalition of energy experts, biologists and concerned citizens known as Solar Done Right issued a report Monday questioning why Washington wants to sacrifice hundreds of square miles of public land and billions of taxpayer dollars to solar energy companies instead of encouraging rooftop solar.   The report is available on Solar Done Right's website

Solar Done Right's report is a response to the policy proposals contained in the Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft PEIS).  The Draft PEIS was issued jointly by the Departments of Interior and Energy last year, and seeks to establish a policy of offering over 22 million acres of mostly pristine desert habitat for development to solar energy companiesThe Draft PEIS fails to consider alternatives to sacrificing public land,  such as implementing policies that encourage distributed generation (aka rooftop solar).   This blog previously commented on the inadequacies of the Draft PEIS

Solar Done Right points out many of the flaws of the Draft PEIS in its report, and explains why distributed generation (rooftop solar) would be the right path--economically and environmentally sustainable.

According to Solar Done Right's report:
The need to move to a renewable-based energy economy, and quickly, is urgent. Global warming threatens to unwind the relatively stable climate regime that has supported the evolution of present human and ecological systems.

But the Draft PEIS is fundamentally flawed. The current document follows an exploitive, outmoded approach, mired in 19th Century attitudes toward public land, coupled with financially and environmentally-subsidized, outmoded technology that will fail to achieve a responsible energy future.
Even the Sierra Club called for a more sensible renewable energy policy.  The Sierra Club's executive director, Michael Brune, called for solar energy development on already-disturbed land and on rooftops and parking lots, according to his op-ed in the Atlantic Monthly According to Mr. Brune:
We must build large-scale energy projects in the places where they will cause the least harm -- abandoned agricultural lands, defunct mines and other areas that have already been developed. 
Bottom line: Solar technology is flexible and innovative.  You can place solar panels anywhere.  Why should we give up open space and biodiversity for a technology that offers so much promise?

You can still comment on the Draft Programmatic EIS up until 16 April.

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