How Much Land Will We Industrialize?

As of December, the Bureau of Land Management had approved or received applications for utility-scale solar and wind energy facilities on 1,659 square miles of public land in California.  These projects are massive in scale, requiring tons of steel and concrete, and the bulldozing of ecologically intact lands.  Yet if all of the proposals are built they will provide less than half of California's energy demand.  Similar levels of destruction will have to take place in other states to meet their energy demand.

It is hard to imagine all of these beautiful landscapes being destroyed in the name of "green" energy, especially when we have enough rooftops, parking lots, and other brownfields in our cities to support solar panels. What would you rather find beyond coal?  Rooftop solar or industrial destruction of our landscapes?

Just how big is 1,659 square miles?  The red shaded boxes in the Google maps below each show an area 1,659 square miles in size.

View 1,659 square miles in a larger map

View 1659 sq miles over Sierra Nevada in a larger map

View 1659 sq miles over the Bay in a larger map

Once beautiful hillsides scarred by hundreds of wind turbines, which also pose a threat to birds.

Just a fraction of the devastation of desert habitat for BrightSource Energy's solar facility in the Ivanpah Valley.  This desert landscape once hosted a robust desert tortoise population before BrightSource Energy bulldozes began clearing up to 5.6 square miles.


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