Mojave, Mojave Desert, California.
I just came back from the Mojave Desert. I spent time there during the last years, and I witnessed the rapidity of the development of windmills and solar farms. There is no way around transitioning to renewable energy, but how can it be done with a minimal impact on those rich, fragile, and unique ecosystems?
“Wind energy is the leading renewable technology towards achieving climate goals, yet biodiversity trade-offs via land take are emerging. Thus, we are facing the paradox of impacting on biodiversity to combat climate change.”
Vassiliki Kati, Christina Kassara, Zoi Vrontisi, Aristides Moustakas in “The biodiversity-wind energy-land use nexus in a global biodiversity hotspot” [Scientific paper]
“Most of California’s renewable energy comes from utility scale solar energy and large wind farms in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, which are regions recognized as having exceptional solar insolation and wind resource values. However, California’s deserts are also one of the last great wilderness areas within the contiguous United States, containing thousands of square kilometers of intact, relatively undisturbed desert habitat. The desert southwest has been designated as a “hotspot” of endemism and endangered and threatened species occurrences, and desert systems are fragile and slow to recover once disturbed, due to their arid climate, delicate soils, and slow pace of ecological succession.”
Sophie S. Parker, Brian S. Cohen, James Moore in “Impact of solar and wind development on conservation values in the Mojave Desert” [scientific paper - journals.plos.org]