Energy

Solar Power Is Wonderful, Really, Except When You Build It Anywhere Near Anything

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The New York Times reports on Sen. Dianne Feinstein's latest effort to spur block the development of clean, renewable energy facilities:

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region.

But before the bill to create two new Mojave national monuments has even had its first hearing, the California Democrat has largely achieved her aim. Regardless of the legislation's fate, her opposition means that few if any power plants are likely to be built in the monument area, a complication in California's effort to achieve its aggressive goals for renewable energy. 

Developers of the projects have already postponed several proposals or abandoned them entirely. The California agency charged with planning a renewable energy transmission grid has rerouted proposed power lines to avoid the monument.

"The very existence of the monument proposal has certainly chilled development within its boundaries," said Karen Douglas, chairwoman of the California Energy Commission.

…Mrs. Feinstein heads the Senate subcommittee that oversees the budget of the Interior Department, giving her substantial clout over that agency, which manages the government's landholdings. Her intervention in the Mojave means it will be more difficult for California utilities to achieve a goal, set by the state, of obtaining a third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020; projects in the monument area could have supplied a substantial portion of that power.

Link via Sonny Bunch, who points out this is just the latest example of anti-renewable energy NIMBYism amongst putatively environmentally-concerned liberal legislators.

In July, Reason science correspondent Ron Bailey (currently reporting from the climate-change summit in Copenhagen) looked at Al Gore's curiously cost-free plan to replace our current energy sources with wind and solar power.