Friday, February 06, 2009

Environmental concerns roadblock to renewable energy

Stephanie Tavares writes in the Las Vegas Sun:

...That’s because for all their “green” credentials no renewable energy project is without its environmental drawbacks and community effects. Hydropower and the dams that come with them interrupt the natural flow of rivers and the migration and breeding of native fish; geothermal plants require water and their exploratory drilling sometimes damages the land; modern wind farms kill migratory birds and bats and kick up dust during construction; utility-scale solar photovoltaic arrays are made from sometimes toxic or unsustainably mined materials and require vast expanses of land formerly open to native animals; and solar thermal plants face the same land use issues as solar PV but also can’t operate without a good deal of water. On top of that, some wildlife biologists and environmentalists say the new transmission lines that would bring the electricity from planned electric plants to big cities such as Las Vegas often crisscross major migration routes for endangered species, destroying vegetation and affecting grazing and mating routes. “People are beginning to realize there are some problems associated with all these renewable energy sources and maybe we haven’t really thought them through like we should have,” said Mark Stermitz, an environmental lawyer...

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