Renewable energy is nice in theory. But what about in practice?
That’s the uncomfortable question raised by a showdown in California. Utilities that need to install clean energy to meet environmental targets are running into environmental opposition when it comes to actually transmitting the juice to where people live.
It’s hardly a local phenomenon. From Texas to
“The idea that we’re going to sacrifice critical pieces of our environment to protect other pieces of our environment seems a little ironic,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the nonprofit California Parks Foundation. “That’s an irony I cannot accept.”
Buried in that view is a little irony of it’s a own – one the governor can’t accept. At a climate conference earlier this month at Yale, he railed against green doubletalk.
“[I]t’s also Democrats and also environmental activists sometimes that slow things down. … I don’t know whether this is ironic or absurd. But, I mean, if we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don’t know where the hell we can put it.”
The bottom line is that all power sources need transmission lines to carry electricity to population centers. Since wind and solar power are often sited in remote locations, like ridgelines or deserts, the need for new transmission lines is even bigger. Texas has become a wind power behemoth in recent years, but is
The utility behind the Sunrise Powerlink, San Diego-based Sempra, says that if the state wants to have 20% of its electricity generated by clean energy sources, there’s no choice but to build. “The huge issue” with California’s renewable portfolio standard is the “need for new transmission lines,” Sempra president and chief operating officer Neal Schmale told us.
“We have to balance an array of competing considerations, and then get assaulted by single-issue advocacy groups,” he said.
Posted by Keith Johnson
28 April 2008
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