We Can Do This: Ending Fossil Fuels and Saving Wildlands

As we gather to demand bold action to end fossil fuels, we can also ensure that wildlands no longer have to shoulder the sacrifice for our consumption of electricity.  Renewable energy technology is extremely flexible and scalable, which means that we can replace fossil fuels without replacing wildlife habitat.

  • A Million Rooftops!: Even with relatively tame policy incentives, California was able to install over 8,240 megawatts of rooftop solar.  That is clean energy generated across over nearly 1 million rooftops.  And there is still room for plenty more!  In fact, a study found that one metropolitan area had enough rooftop solar potential to power half of the state of California. 
  • Smart Locations for Large Projects: Through smart environmental policies, California has also guided thousands of megawatts of large-scale solar projects to already-disturbed lands.  One solar project on former agricultural land in the Central Valley could generate up to 2,700 megawatts, as the Los Angeles Times notes.  
  • Virtual Power Plants Are Real: Virtual power plants are giving utility companies the ability to more efficiently harness distributed generation and storage, such as rooftop solar paired with battery storage.  Solar panels and batteries are installed across spaces in our cities, without destroying wildlands, and utility companies can remotely monitor and manage the energy they deliver to the grid.  This is not just a concept, it is already being used in California, with additional virtual power plants being rolled out in Utah and Hawaii.
  • Microgrids Avoid Wildfire:  Communities are fed up with wildfires sparked by downed transmission lines in drought-stricken wildlands.   They are recognizing the value of microgrid technology that allows them to generate clean energy in their community and store it in local battery installations.  This reduces the need to build expensive and dangerous high-voltage power lines.
We can do this.  With the right policies and incentives, our Green New Deal can ensure a transition to renewable energy that respects our wildlands and reflects our conservation ethic.

Solar on former agricultural lands. Not on wildlands.


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