By ROBERT BRYCE
Published: (June 7, 2011) In April, Gov. Jerry Brown made headlines by signing into law an ambitious mandate that requires California to obtain one-third of its electricity from renewable energy sources like sunlight and wind by 2020. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have renewable electricity mandates. President Obama and several members of Congress have supported one at the federal level. Polls routinely show strong support among voters for renewable energy projects -- as long as they don’t cost too much.
But there’s the rub: while energy sources like sunlight and wind are free and naturally replenished, converting them into large quantities of electricity requires vast amounts of natural resources -- most notably, land. Even a cursory look at these costs exposes the deep contradictions in the renewable energy movement.
Consider California’s new mandate. ...
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