Green Gridlock

Science, technology, and life.
Dec. 6 2008 8:53 AM

Green Gridlock

Solar power is good for the environment, right? Eh, sort of. Marla Dickerson reports in the Los Angeles Times :

Rows of gigantic mirrors covering an area bigger than two football fields have sprouted alongside almond groves near California 99. This is a power plant that uses the sun's heat to produce electricity ... At least 80 large solar projects are on the drawing board in California ...

Critics fear that massive solar farms would create as many environmental problems as they purport to solve. This new-age electricity still requires old-fashioned power towers and high-voltage lines to get it to people's homes. A proposed 150-mile transmission line known as the Sunrise Powerlink that would carry renewable power from Imperial County to San Diego has run into stiff resistance from grass-roots groups and environmentalists. Solar plants require staggering amounts of land, which could threaten fragile ecosystems and mar the stark beauty of America's deserts.

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No problem. We just need to put these huge arrays on the moon .

Now, about the energy cost of getting them there ...

Over to you, John Tierney .

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.