Many people would agree that renewable energy is a good thing.  Getting electric utilities to rely less on coal and natural gas to fire plants would reduce one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions in the US.  There is a problem with this strategy – transmission.  As reported recently in the Washington Times, San Diego Gas & Electric wants to build a large solar power operation in the SoCal desert, but the current plan calls for a 150 mile high voltage transmission line that would cut through pristine parkland.  Naturally, the plan faces fierce opposition from environmental groups, and likely from the NIMBY crowd.

Renewable power requires abundant sunshine and wind, but these areas are typically in remote locations.  No one will build plants without power lines to connect those remote spots to big cities.  Some trade-offs are required.  Clean energy may require building infrastructure in potentially sensitive areas.  Other examples will crop up across the country as state regulators are requiring utilities to boost the use of renewable energy to run electric plants.


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