January 23, 2009

It's not destruction if it's "green"?

Robert Redford writes at Huffington Post ("Utah Lands Win a Reprieve at the Dawn of a Cleaner, Greener Future") that "a federal court acted last weekend to protect more than 110,000 acres of stunning Utah wilderness that otherwise would have been sold by the outgoing Bush administration to the dirty fuels industry."

He says that "What inspired me most was when Judge Urbina wrote that the 'development of domestic energy resources ... is far outweighed by the public interest in avoiding irreparable damage to public lands and the environment.' Finally, the greater good has prevailed over the profit of the few."

Then it starts to fall apart:
Destroying our natural heritage will do nothing to solve our energy challenges for the long-term, which to me, is even more reason to act. I will continue to keep a vigilant watch over these lands, while working to build a cleaner, greener energy foundation for America. With endless untapped reserves of efficiency, solar, and wind power, we do not need to choose between affordable electricity and one-of-a-kind landscapes. We can have both.
Because meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management plans to establish coordination offices to expedite the permitting of renewable energy projects and associated transmission facilities on BLM-managed lands. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 calls for the development of 10,000 MW of non-hydropower renewable energy projects on public lands by 2015.

How did Mr. Redford think those reserves of wind and solar would be tapped to a degree that would do something that might appear "to solve our energy challenges for the long-term"? How much of our natural heritage is he ready to see destroyed for large-scale solar and wind power development?

(10,000 MW of installed wind capacity requires at least 500,000 acres, or almost 800 square miles, plus heavy-duty roads (opening the land to more development and its flora and fauna to more abuse) and transmission infrastructure). 10,000 MW of actual production -- on average (wind turbines actually produce at or above their average rate, which is 20-30% of their installed capacity, only 40% of the time) -- would require 4 times that amount of land, to produce nominally only about 2% of the country's electricity, which 40,000 MW of wind would be nullified by 1 year of average growth in demand. Obviously, big wind is a dead end that could easily be obviated by the less photographically iconic options of efficiency and conservation.)

"The development of domestic energy resources ... is far outweighed by the public interest in avoiding irreparable damage to public lands and the environment."

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights