This Article questions where the push for utility-scale solar energy development in the California desert leaves endangered species preservation. We begin in Part I by providing some general context for the boom in renewable energy projects and outlining the main mechanisms for expediting endangered species permitting. Part II details offsite mitigation requirements for recently approved projects. Finally, in Part III, we draw some conclusions about the challenges posed by the current strategies for balancing renewable energy development and endangered species protection, and we make recommendations for strengthening mitigation outcomes. Our research highlights general concerns with perpetual off-site mitigation and the lack of oversight and information about mitigation projects. Through examining the development of two specific solar power facilities in the California desert (Ivanpah and Genesis), we demonstrate the mitigation choices, the time lag between project approval and developed mitigation plans, and the roles scientific uncertainty plays in making project decisions. Overall, the picture we paint is a disturbing one where decisions regarding desert development are made without full consideration or understanding of the mitigation measures. The urge to approve projects and get them operational quickly increases this problem. In such an uncertain realm, infusing concepts of reevaluation and adaptive management can provide routes to incorporate new information and alter mitigation or development plans as necessary. Current efforts at consolidated landscape-level planning may help ameliorate some of these concerns, but a better solution may be to slow down the pace of project approval to enable better understanding of the desert ecosystem and full evaluation of mitigation prior to plant construction.
Morris, Amy Wilson; Owley, Jessica.
Mitigating the Impacts of the Renewable Energy Gold Rush.
Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
This research explores the application of carbon nanotube (CNT) films for active noise cancellation, solar energy harvesting and energy storage in building windows. The CNT-based components developed herein can be integrated ...
Schmidt, Jennifer A.; Koehn, Ryan E.; Pappenfus, Ted M.; Alia, Joseph D. (2010)
In recent years, conducting polymers have gained attention for their promising application in solar cells due to their potential low cost, lightweight, and flexibility. Desirable polymers have a small band gap and a low ...