on a sunny day In early December, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland stood on a pedestal outside the Phoenix suburb of Buckeye, Arizona. There, about 3,000 acres of desert were cleared and leveled to make way for Sonora he solar projects. The project will soon power approximately 91,000 people. House.
Harland has good news for utility-scale solar and climate hawks. The Bureau of Land Management has decided to review three of his proposed large-scale solar projects in Arizona and expedite permitting solar energy on federal lands in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. I was hoping “Solar energy projects on public lands help communities across the country become part of climate change solutions while creating high-paying jobs,” he said.
These projects, however, are designed to uproot endangered Joshua trees and cacti, kill or displace endangered desert tortoises, block migration routes for wildlife, and threaten communities. It can also harm society. This puts conservationists and policy makers in the difficult position of having to choose between saving the desert and saving the planet.
But there are other ways and places to install solar panels, from home rooftops to drought-affected farmlands. France, for example, recently required a large parking lot to be covered with a solar canopy to cover the cars and provide up to 11 gigawatts of new power generation capacity, roughly ten times the amount of the three proposed projects in Arizona. it was done.
In the wake of this, how much electricity would installing solar panels on the rooftops of 21,000 large stores, not just the vast parking lot on the west side, generate? is what I found.
Estimated power generation capacity if solar panels covered all 370 miles of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, as proposed by LA officials.
37,500 GWh per year
Solar canopy energy output when covering all 12.2 million parking lots in Phoenix, Arizona.
Desert turtle populations have moved to make way for the Yellow Pine Solar Project in Southern Nevada in 2021. Within weeks, 30 of him were killed, probably by badgers.
4,200 (215,000 acres)
To protect wildlife habitat and Joshua Trees, Avantus purchased and closed a grazing lease in California’s Mojave Desert this year. The Onyx Conservation Project is a partnership with federal and state land management agencies to “offset” the impact of the company’s developments elsewhere in the region.
Estimated number of Joshua Trees destroyed by the 2020 dome fire. California’s Mojave National Conservation Area, thought to be exacerbated by climate change.
Note: We used two numbers calculated by Greta Bolinger and Mark Bolinger in “Land Requirements for Utility-Scale PV: An Empirical Update on Power and Energy Density,” published March 2022 in the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics.
Power density: 0.35 megawatts per acre for utility-scale fixed-tilt solar. Most residential solar power systems are around 400 watts, or 0.0004 megawatts.
Energy density: 447 MWh per acre per year for utility-scale fixed-tilt solar. The average American household uses about 10 megawatt hours of electricity per year.
Using Environment America figures and Google Earth measurements, we determined that the average large store has a rooftop area of 3.25 acres. Using American Planning Association calculations, we estimated that there are approximately 145 parking spaces per acre.
Other sources: BLM, EIA, Basin & Range Watch, UC Davis, Berkeley Lab, Avantus, Primergy, American Planning Association, USGS, Environment America, Google Earth.
Infographic by Luna Anna Archey/High Country News
Jonathan Thompson said, high country news. He is the author of The Wormwood Empire: How a Remote Utah County Became the Forefront of America’s Public Lands.