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Environmentalists Mobilize Against Clean Energy Projects !

on 28 of June of 2010

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Many investors planned to install renewable energy power plants in California's Mojave Desert. The private sector’s desire to invest in this region is understandable. In 2006, a state law determined that one fifth of the electricity consumed in California must come from renewable sources through 2020. The Mojave Desert is an ideal region to produce renewable energy. Not all environmentalists are in favour of this idea.

Many investors planned to install renewable energy power plants in California's Mojave Desert. The private sector’s desire to invest in this region is understandable. In 2006, a state law determined that one fifth of the electricity consumed in California must come from renewable sources through 2020. The Mojave Desert is an ideal region to produce renewable energy.

Not all environmentalists are in favour of this idea. According to David Myers, Executive Director of the Wildlands Conservancy, the Mojave’s landscape is idyllic, sacred and should remain untouchable. The desert shelters dozens of plants and animals that should be preserved. To the despair of investors such as Goldman Sachs bank and energy companies like Pacific Gas and Electric, environmentalists against clean energy are winning this unusual argument. This radical faction of environmentalists counts on the support of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, a powerful politician in the United States.

Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stands on the other side of this argument and stated, “If we cannot install solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don’t know where the hell we are going to put them!” Governor Schwarzenegger may have to look for another location to accommodate this endeavour. Since Senator Feinstein began expressing her desire to maintain the desert, some investors simply decided to stop investing in solar projects in the discussed area.

The current arguments between the environmentalists in California are a clear example of a global issue that has been worrying environmentalists for years. Until global warming became the central issue, the main mission of environmentalists was to fight for the preservation of ecosystems. Now, environmentalists feel that it is necessary to defend animals, rivers, native vegetations and breath-taking landscapes. Unfortunately, a clean energy source that doesn’t impact the environment does not exist. "Nothing is free. Everything has its price," said the renowned American ecologist Bill McKibben.

“Sometimes you are trading a small interference in the landscape for a huge cloud of carbon dioxide which causes damage to the entire planet.” McKibben points out another dispute between a renewable energy project and the defenders of natural beauty. The American government, in partnership with private initiatives, has been pushing to implement the Cape Wind project, an offshore wind farm composed of 130 turbines, capable of serving 400,000 homes. The problem is the location.

The project is intended for Cape Cod Bay and the inhabitants of the region were not thrilled with the idea of looking through their windows and seeing the sea covered with hundreds of turbines.

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