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New Federal Rules To Hinder California's Clean Energy Goals

JackSawyer MA, United States 0 Ratings 11 Discussions 8 Group posts

Posted by: JackSawyer // Student

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is a "strategy that will help conserve desert lands and plan for a clean energy future. It will provide permanent protection to the desert’s public lands while also identifying those areas where development of renewable energy will conflict least with natural or cultural values" (Jacobson). Although the DRECP appears to be both a sensible and practical plan, it has faced a lot of criticism over the course of its formation. Specifically, solar and wind companies in California have raised concerns that this plan will prevent the state from achieving it's clean energy goals.

Solar and wind activists are worried that by cutting off millions of acres of desert for conservation, they are not only limiting the area and scale needed to produce renewable energy from solar and wind, but also raising the prices of these renewable energy methods. More efficient production and cheaper materials has allowed for the price of solar and wind to drop quite significantly over the last couple of years and subsequently, this has helped California increase its solar and wind energy production. However, this plan threatens to disrupt the declining price and slow down adoption. Furthermore, the conservation areas are home to some of the best conditions for both solar and wind.

The DRECP is trying to find a compromise in both protecting the environment and allowing for renewable energy installations, however, because of how much land is required for solar and wind to produce a substantial amount of energy, it puts the plan in the middle of a lot of controversy.

Is it worth protecting desert ecosystems if it means that solar and wind won't reach their absolute output potential? Or perhaps we need to sacrifice these desert based ecosystems to allow clean energy to reduce fossil fuel energies, which in turn, could save many more ecosystems? Personally, I think this decision is best to look at from a utilitarian perspective. If we open up the California desert to solar and wind it would continue to help expedite the progress of renewable energy. From this we can transition more rapidly from fossil fuels. By doing this we would be protecting more ecosystems and a range of them from the effects of global warming down the road - it would be the greatest good for the most.

Roth, Sammy. "These Federal Rules Are Supposed to Help Solar Power. Critics Say They Would Do the Opposite." The Desert Sun. USA Today Network, 30 June 2016. Web. 3 July 2016.>.

Jacobson, Daniel. "CA's Energy Conservation Blueprint - Capitol Weekly." Capitol Weekly CAs Energy Conservation Blueprint Comments. N.p., 13 June 2016. Web. 03 July 2016.>.

Allison Friedman Weston, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 102 Discussions 131 Group posts

Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

I always end up thinking in these situations that reasonable people CAN agree if we try. I'd have local environmentalists look at the land with renewable energy experts. We all share similar concerns. What doesn't work are blanket solutions that dramatically cover hundreds of thousands of acres - we need nuanced plans that select the best outcomes for the overall market, and each area. I bet there are plans that allow for expanded solar and wind energy that can use the least sensitive land. We have got to be willing to put the people power and time in to do this right. We need to create win-wins.


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