Sunday, August 14, 2011

Groups form to Oppose Industrialization of Wildlands

At least three groups have formed to fight back against energy company plans to industrialize wildlands in the Mojave Desert. All told, dozens of square miles are at stake as developers seek to install wind turbines as tall as 30 story buildings across hillsides, and blanket other open spaces with solar panels.  Unfortunately, renewable energy policy has encouraged an industrial solution that threatens the same ecosystems we seek to protect against climate change.  But groups like Solar Done Right are advocating for distributed energy generation, where we generate renewable energy at or near the point of use (such as rooftop solar panels).  Instead of giving companies taxpayer money to mow down public land, citizens are asking for a more reasonable solution.
  •  Friends of Antelope Valley Open Spaces:  I wrote about this group earlier (see this post) and its efforts to stop massive wind and solar developments on pristine ridges and wildflower fields that Californians have cherished for over a hundred years.
  • Friends of Sand Canyon:  Organizing against Helo Energy's plans to park wind turbines in the western Mojave Desert near Tehachapi.  Wind projects in this area have already killed Golden Eagles and industrialized entire viewsheds.  The energy company offered the concerned citizens new mailboxes in return for their silence.  The offer was refused.
  • Save Our Desert:  Citizens of Pioneertown are organizing against the Black Lava Butte wind farm, which would destroy nearly 6.3 square-miles of this remote desert, and probably jeopardize ancient Native American petroglyphs.
This photo, from the website of Friends of Sand Canyon, shows some of the devastation already wrought on the valleys and hillsides near Tehachapi, California.  The energy is shipped to residents of Los Angles by expensive transmission lines.  All of these wind turbines, and yet they still only meet a small fraction of LA's energy demand. How many empty rooftops are there in Los Angeles, waiting for solar panels?

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