Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Here I Come to Save The Daaaaay!!!"

Last week we posted about the frequent confrontations between renewable power interests and conservationists when it comes to finding acreage that is suitable for siting solar power arrays and other renewable infrastructure. Well today, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that a third party has swooped in to save the day and provide a solution to these recurring conflicts.

Just who is said "third party"? Who else?.... Google. (With help from Audoban and NRDC).

Google has created an overlay on its Google Earth application to indicate all environmentally sensitive areas and areas off limits to development. Now, with the click of a mouse, anyone interested in identifying potential sites for renewable energy development can tell if they are going to have a problem and--theoretically-- head off any unpleasant confrontation with environmental and/or conservation groups.

The Chronicle reports:

"A new mapping tool on Google Earth shows renewable-power developers where they can - and can't - build. Working on grants from Google's philanthropic arm, the National Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council pulled together maps of endangered species habitats, national parks and other forms of protected land and loaded all that data into Google Earth.

Zoom in on the Mojave Desert, a favorite spot for solar power projects, and you can see every bit of land that is off-limits to developers. The no-go zones appear as brightly colored shapes superimposed on maps and aerial photographs. The new tool, called the Path to Green Energy, went live Wednesday, and anyone can use it."