Can Rooftop Solar Save California’s Open Space?

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

All around California, the development of open space to produce renewable energy has put climate and biodiversity goals at odds. To meet the state’s 2045 goal of 100 percent renewable energy will require between 1.6 and 3.1 million acres of wind and solar, according to projections from The Nature Conservancy, and much of that land, like the North Livermore Valley, has wildlife living on it. The debate has become acrimonious, framed as a choice between stopping the extinction of the desert tortoise or the extreme heat killing people in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to limiting development and saving ratepayers money, Del Chiaro says, distributed solar is safer since those high-voltage transmission lines that stretch across California’s dry landscape all-too-frequently spark wildfires, as well as more reliable because local energy generation “is just inherently more reliable and resilient.”

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