Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Land needs for solar energy raise opposition

The BLM manages 12 million acres in Arizona, "Yet, a two-year effort by the BLM to identify possible sites for solar-power plants on its land in Arizona yielded consensus on only 25,000 acres. Every acre of the bureau’s land in Arizona seems to have at least one environmental organization or citizen’s group that wants to preserve it."

UA law professor Robert Glennon writes in Business Week today that the biggest challenge facing solar energy development in the U.S. is finding the "enormous tracts of land" needed. Glennon calculates that solar power will require 6 to 12 times the land area of equivalent plants using natural gas, coal, or nuclear.

Glennon argues "Environmental groups have opposed the bureau’s granting of permits for solar-power plants on these marginal lands because surveys have disclosed small numbers of important species, particularly the threatened desert tortoise. This opposition is understandable because all undisturbed land is habitat for some species. But not all habitats are crucial for the protection of endangered and threatened species."

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