United States: Could Regional Interests Compromise Renewable Energy?
As America is finding out, it might not be the technology that is holding up an alternative energy revolution, it is politics.
The Waxman-Markey bill has been scrutinized by many of the United States' most influential civil servants. One debate that has emerged, and could have an enormous impact, is the local energy versus distant energy.
Many observers, including President Obama, believe that renewable energies, such as wind and solar power, should be developed in the most promising spots. For wind, many of the best areas are found in the Midwest, far from the populous Eastern cities. As a result, the Waxman-Markey bill calls for an update of the national grid with the creation of efficient long-distance transmission lines to transport the energy to city centers.
However, a coalition of Governor's and utility companies from Eastern states have tried to block the creation of transcontinental power lines, and eliminate the provision for a huge, super high voltage grid.
The coalition wants wind and solar farms to be built in their regions, even though they are not ideal spots. They claim building in other areas will be detrimental to their economy.
Often energy projects are built where they are most wanted, and as Dan Reicher, the head of energy initiatives at Google, explains, "the most attractive renewable energy resources often don't overlap with the places where the push for job creation is strongest."
Read the full story at the New York Times: Debate on Clean Energy Leads to Regional Divide
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