Our energy use, NIMBY and the collision ahead

Summary:Clean energy and the current older stuff have a common foe: NIMBY (not in my back yard) and you have to wonder how it all plays out as the U.S. tries to diversify its power sources.

Clean energy and the current older stuff have a common foe: NIMBY (not in my back yard) and you have to wonder how it all plays out as the U.S. tries to diversify its power sources.

You can make the green tech energy argument all day yet it's unclear whether people want a solar grid, wind farm or nuclear plant in their back yards.

Let's connect a few green dots:

Other clean technologies can also become a NIMBY issue. It's not hard to see backlash against many projects ranging from solar to wind to whatever. One person's clean energy is another guy's eye sore.

And now let's look at the current energy needs. President Obama leaned a bit toward offshore drilling in April. And then there was the BP-Transocean Deepwater oil rig disaster, which is still filling the Gulf of Mexico up with oil. BusinessWeek looked at the issue this week and wondered if offshore drilling was worth it.

From the BusinessWeek repor
t:

Until now, Gulf oil production has been not just expanding but reasonably clean, with serious spills so rare that industry and regulator alike behaved as if they were scarcely possible. Catastrophic accidents, it seemed, had been relegated to history by such high-tech gear as "blowout preventers" designed to shut off wells when pressures get out of control. These valves and shears were the last line of defense, a supposedly impenetrable Maginot Line that made other fail-safes unnecessary.

And now? Good luck building an offshore rig in the near future.

Infographic: How much oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico

When you ask around, you could probably build NIMBY opposition to any energy plan---smart, clean, or not-so-clean. So if no one allows these energy plans---wind farms and natural gas plants in the Midwest---to carry on in their back yards how exactly are we going to meet our needs?

Unfortunately, I don't have the answers, but I'd love to hear a few smart suggestions.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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