New Google Earth Layer Shows What US Lands Should Be Off-Limits to Renewable Energy Development
As Senator Feinstein's recent talk about making 500,000 acres of the Mojave desert off-limits to renewable energy development, on the conservation grounds, goes to show, conflicts over siting large projects is no less likely just because the project is green. Now, with the release of a new Google Earth layer developed by the National Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council hopefully some of those conflicts can be avoided:Covering 13 states, the different maps in the layer cover land on which development is already legally prohibited or restricted, and lands on which development should be avoided so as not to disturb critical wildlife habitat. The National Audubon Society portion focuses on breeding areas for the greater sage-grouse in Wyoming and Montana.
All the areas in the western US which are currently off-limits for, have restrictions on, or should be off-limits to renewable energy development.Just those additional areas that should be off-limits to development on conservation grounds.
One interesting thing it the short time I've had to play around with the layer is that the difference between lands which are already off-limits (for whatever reason) and those which NRDC and Audubon lists as should be off-limits is quite small. Preserving these lands on the grounds of wildlife conservation really doesn't diminish the amount of land on which we could develop renewable energy significantly.
More, download the layer: NRDC: Clean Energy and ConservationRenewable EnergySen. Feinstein Wants to Prohibit Renewable Energy Development in 500,000 Acres of the Mojave DesertLet the Large-Scale Solar Power Backlash Begin: Objections to California Solar Plans Mounting?BrightSource to Build 500 Megawatts of Solar-Thermal Power in Mojave Desert