July 2, 2008

Moratorium Placed on US Solar

What the fuck?!?!? Yes, that's right, the U.S., the country I live in and call home, land of the largest collective research and university system/intellectual property bank, the so called "richest" country in the world, the self-made policemen of the world, the home to more scientists and engineers than any other place on earth, has shut down all solar projects on public land.

Surely the reason behind this should be an earth shattering revelation to the rest of the world, who are currently pressuring the market for silicon in an attempt to build an energy infrastructure powered by an INFINITE AND FREE SOURCE. Wait, what?...we're shutting down solar projects because a two year study into their environmental impacts needs to be done? That's right, the same government who refused to open emails from the EPA concluding that greenhouse gases are pollutants and must be controlled, has decided that solar installations may be too harmful to the environment to begin construction on them. Yes, the same government that has decided that offshore drilling is the answer have had an epiphany of conscience.

If it has not been clear that the Bush administration is simply an arm of the oil/gas/coal industry before, then this should seal the deal. Detriment to the environment is something that we as a human society cannot escape, but it is feasible to minimize the negative impact we have. I'm unconvinced and will remain so that further oil/gas/coal dependency is safer for the environment than a push toward any renewable source.

And the problem could be magnified by the time we are ready to start building in the future. The New York Times reports:

The decision to freeze new solar proposals temporarily, reached late last month, has caused widespread concern in the alternative-energy industry, as fledgling solar companies must wait to see if they can realize their hopes of harnessing power from swaths of sun-baked public land, just as the demand for viable alternative energy is accelerating.
The unfortunate story of many of those start-up companies will end with failure, a fact no moratorium would have changed for many, but some would have survived. Those that did would have become the experienced companies, those looking to expand and rethink their first designs, one thing that can not be learned is experience. With this moratorium there will be none of those survivors, the few who go on to become second generation alternative-energy companies. The logic baffles me.

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