The clock is ticking for renewable energy developers across America — and it’s not just the pressure of climate change. Developers are racing to qualify for billions in federal stimulus dollars available to projects that break ground before the end of this year.
But many large-scale renewable projects are meeting unexpected opposition from environmentalists concerned about their impact on wildlife. The gridlock has turned what seemed to developers to be an energy oasis into a minefield. And it’s further stalled an environmental review process that is already glacially slow.
In Wyoming, Need to Know reported that wind farm development is stalled because of the sage grouse, a game bird with elaborate plumage and a candidate for the endangered species list.
And in the farmlands of California’s Panoche Valley, a proposal to build solar panels on much of 4,700 acres has met a similar fate. Though the array would power 120,000 homes and help ease the county’s 20 percent unemployment rate, critics say it would be too damaging for the valley’s half dozen endangered species.
Here’s the story, from our partners at KQED:
Find a Home for Big Solar: Part I
Find a Home for Big Solar: Part II
33×20: California’s Clean Power Countdown (KQED)
Interactive Map: Renewable Energy Across America (KQED)
The Biggest Solar Project in the World (KQED)
Going Solar Is Harder Than It Looks, a Valley Finds (NYT)
Clock Ticking for Solar Developers (KQED)