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Greentech blow back

Land use conflict may prohibit some alternative energy development in U.S.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

The conflict between some environmentalists and alternative energy promoters is going to be a constant theme during the next decade, even if the U.S. government does little about global warming. From T Boone Pickens to big V.C. funds, money is pouring into alternative energy. That means using land for solar or wind or the ocean surface to capture wave power. That means conflict.

A California Senator is trying to block the construction of 13 solar and wind power plants in the Mojave Desert. There's a proposal to turn the Mojave into a National Monument, blocking any commercial energy development there. Many offshore wind farms have also run into opposition. NIMBY is not restricted to dry land.

Why don't we put windmills on all those high rises in The Windy City? Or cover over the zillion acres of Walmart parking lots with solar panel roofing? Or solar panel farms on every apartment building and mall in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson? Why do energy developers always think they must trash open space first?

These land use or ocean use conflicts will become commonplace. In Minnesota one small town utility company has run into probs with their proposed wind farm. Local opposition. NIMBY.

In Britain there's similar opposition to the big offshore wind farm plans. We could just put wind farms or solar panels on top of all those federal buildings, post offices, military barracks. Where are the solar panels on Capital Hill or the White House? In Britain all of Cornwallis essentially a wind tunnel, put the turbines on top of existing structures, perhaps? One or two windmills down the pub?


A wind farm nearby is NOT like several neighbors in foreclosure, or a cul-de-sac full of "For Sale" signs. A Berkeley study says wind farms do NOT adversely affect nearby real estate values. Bet you can't say that for a nuc plant or coal-fired generation plant. The wind farm study did not delve into homeowner upset over noise, however.

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