The New York Times online is devoting space to a timely debate over the land use impacts of increased renewable energy use. Here is a sample, a quote from Randy Udall, a Colorado-based energy analyst
The wind and solar potential west of the Mississippi is gargantuan. But today wind provides just 2 percent of U.S. electricity, and solar less than 1 percent. You can’t scale these carbon-free power sources up, and link them to urban areas with new power lines, without having impacts.
Those impacts can be minimized by thoughtful siting and technological advances. To reduce water consumption, for example, solar thermal developers can use dry-cooling technologies. Windmills can be integrated into existing farms and ranches, doubling their bottom line. Transmission lines will always be a hurdle, since their opponents will likely say NOPE — “nowhere on Planet Earth.”
There will be trade-offs. But global oil production is peaking and if we don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions — now more than 20 tons per American per year — why bother rebuilding New Orleans? Over the next few centuries sea level rise will claim it, much of South Florida, and most of Manhattan.