Transmission is another area that has succumbed to a dogmatic theology. The argument that transmission is a limiting factor on renewable generation is simply a red herring. Virtually all states have some renewable energy potential, whether it be wind or solar or biomass, etc. -- some in more than sufficient quantities. But, do we really need to power the entire U.S. from a 75-mile square portion of the Mojave Desert or from mega wind farms in North Dakota? We need to analyze the trade off between the cost of high capacity factor resources that are dependent on transmission to move the energy and lower capacity factor local resources that don't require it. Moreover, we are now beginning to see resistance from some environmental groups and land owners who do not believe that high voltage transmission lines are necessarily the highest use of pristine land. Thank you.
But, while distributed generation (DG) has its place, it too is not the solution to all of our energy needs. There are tremendous opportunities for the creative and more efficient use of space to deploy renewables -- unused roof tops and awnings over parking lots to name just two. And these don't need to be unattractive if designed well. But the notion that we must deploy black panels along every highway right of way or wherever there are a few square feet of vacant land is also nonsense. The line of thought that if some is good, more is better has unfortunately become the canon of the solar theocracy. I am looking forward to more creative uses of thin films and new technologies in BIPV designs.
If nothing else, consolidation in the solar industry, the turmoil over Climategate, and debates over transmission lines and land use promise to return some balance and rationality to discussions of energy and climate change. That will be a welcome change.