There is an alternative to bulldozing pristine desert...

Someone responded to my last blog post with concern that I did not identify alternatives to utility-scale (large) solar power facilities in the middle of the desert.  Although I did try to explain the optimal solution (distributed generation, using rooftops, installing panels over parking lots, or using other spaces in our cities), there is a paper that discusses this solution in-depth (and with much more expertise!).  The paper, "Community Power: Decentralized Renewable Energy in California," was written by energy expert Al Weinrub, in collaboration with the Sierra Club and the Local Clean Energy Alliance. 

Community Power by Al Weinrub


  1. Also I believe the Nature Conservancy identified a couple hundred thousand acres of disturbed land close in land owners itching to sell, but of course the renewable energy firms preferred the BLM land.

  2. The way forward also needs to include consideration of the fact that consumers are paying the bill for these so called "renewable energy" infrastructure projects. When all factors are accounted for it becomes clear that large scale remote projects on pristine lands are NOT less expensive, and will only benefit the energy cartels.

    The paper is an insightful analysis--Community based energy is the way forward!

  3. Guess who foots the bill for community based energy? Yeah the same people; tax payers and home owners. Whether you pay it through taxes or you pay by building your own home based renewable source, if it is going to happen, it has to be paid for.
    BTW oil companies were greatly subsidized by the government when it became out nation's source of fuel. In fact, despite their outrageous profits these days, they still are.

  4. Awesome,
    But with distributed generation, at least any subsidies are invested back in either the local community or the taxpayer's pocket. With utility-scale solar and wind, the money ends up in the hands of Big Energy. That's the same energy and economic model we have with coal and oil. Solar technology offers amazing opportunities to change the way we get our energy. We need to learn that we no longer need to sacrifice so much pristine public land.


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