By Tim Benson
Massive Plan Would Cause Serious Environmental And Ecological Harm
A new Heartland Institute Policy Brief warns that the implementation of the “Green New Deal” (GND), introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and championed by other leading members of the Democratic Party, would cause serious environmental and ecological harm. This is primarily due to the massive land use of “renewable” energy sources such as wind and solar power and the amount of rare earth minerals that would need to be mined to manufacture these energy sources.
The Brief, authored by Paul Driessen, a policy advisor to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, notes that the GND has already been “roundly criticized for the astronomical costs it would impose upon factories, businesses, households, hospitals, and virtually every other sector of the U.S. economy, as well as for the economic devastation it would inflict.”
However, Driessen argues, “too little attention has been paid to the fact GND policies would seriously harm the environment—including lands, wildlife habitats, and threatened and endangered species—and thus would undermine the very values environmentalists have espoused for decades.”
The main problem would be the excessive amount of land that would be needed to power the country with wind and solar. Driessen estimates 18.8 billion solar panels would be required, covering 57,048 square miles—the equivalent of blanketing the entire states of New York and Vermont combined. Driessen also notes that “[Negative habitat impacts] on desert tortoises and other rare, threatened, or endangered species [from solar farms] have already prompted legislators, regulators, and courts to block or ban solar facilities in critical habitat areas, such as parts of California’s Mojave Desert, despite the fact that such sunny areas would be ideal locations for solar energy facilities.” What will these legislators, regulators, and courts do when solar power, which currently provides 1.5 percent of the country’s electricity, is dramatically expanded into more habitats?
The footprint needed for wind power is far larger and more destructive. While noting it would be “virtually impossible” to power the entire country using just wind power, Driessen estimates 2.12 million turbines would be required to do so, covering 500,682 square miles of land. This means covering an area the size of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and most of West Virginia—combined. These turbines are responsible for killing hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of birds and bats each year. Estimates of the death toll range from 570,000 to 10 million per year. With wind currently making up only 6.6 percent of the U.S. electricity portfolio, the number of bird and bat deaths would exponentially increase with a hypothetical push to 100 percent wind.
Renewable sources also need to be placed farther away from urban centers than natural gas and coal facilities, requiring the building of thousands of miles of high-transmission power lines, threatening a large increase in wildfires. “The 2018 and 2019 wildfires in California demonstrate that when power sources serve distant urban and industrial areas, transmission lines must frequently traverse wild grass, brush, and forest areas that dry up during long summers and pose serious fire threats,” Driessen notes. “If those power lines are not maintained and upgraded on a regular basis, and if grass, brush, and overgrown, diseased, and dead trees are not thinned or removed, catastrophic wildfires can result. These wildfires destroy homes and businesses, burn and kill people, immolate wildlife, and incinerate soil organic matter and organisms, leaving vast areas sterile, susceptible to erosion and mudslides, and unable to support wildlife for decades.”
Pollution from manufacturing and installing these renewable systems is also significant. Driessen point out the manufacturing of solar panels require the use of “lead, cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, and polyvinyl fluoride. All pose environmental dangers and health hazards.” Further, a massive expansion of wind turbines would require a “gargantuan” amount of concrete and steel far beyond what U.S. manufacturers produce for all products.
“With all these factors in mind, it’s clear the Green New Deal would not only be an economic catastrophe,” Driessen concludes, “it would also be an environmental disaster—one that all policymakers should firmly reject.”
The following documents provide more information on the Green New Deal and renewable energy.
Policy Brief: Protecting the Environment from the Green New Deal
This Heartland Policy Brief by Paul Driessen, policy advisor to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, reviews the largely ignored environmental damage that would result from the expanded use of renewable energy mandated under the Green New Deal.
Policy Brief: The Green New Deal: A Grave Threat to the American Economy, Environment, and Freedom
The Heartland Policy Brief argues the Green New Deal is a dangerous combination of environmental extremism and socialism. The tremendously expensive proposal would devastate the U.S. economy and cause more environmental destruction than protection. The provisions of the Green New Deal pose a dangerous threat to the American values of individual freedom and limited government.
The U.S. Leads the World in Clean Air: The Case for Environmental Optimism
This paper from the Texas Public Policy Foundation examines how the United States achieved robust economic growth while dramatically reducing emissions of air pollutants. The paper states that these achievements should be celebrated as a public policy success story, but instead the prevailing narrative among political and environmental leaders is one of environmental decline that can only be reversed with a more stringent regulatory approach. Instead, the paper urges for the data to be considered and applied to the narrative.
The 100 Percent Renewable Energy Myth
This Policy Brief from the Institute for Energy Research argues that a countrywide 100 percent renewable plan would put the U.S. economy in jeopardy. The brief investigates the intermittency, land requirements, capacity factors, and cost of transition and construction materials that limit the ability of the U.S. to adapt to 100 percent renewable energy.
Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver?
This working paper from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago finds that average retail electricity prices in states after the passage of a renewable energy mandate are 11 percent higher after seven years and 17 percent higher after a dozen years, even though the increase in renewable electricity generation is a minimal 1-4 percent.
Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Renewable Portfolio Standards
This paper by Timothy J. Considine, a distinguished professor of energy economics at the School of Energy Resources and the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Wyoming, examines the renewable portfolio standards (RPS) of 12 different states and concludes while RPS investments stimulate economic activity, the negative economic impacts associated with higher electricity prices offset the claimed economic advantages of these RPS investments.
Legislating Energy Poverty: A Case Study of How California’s and New York’s Climate Change Policies Are Increasing Energy Costs and Hurting the Economy
This analysis from Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute shows the big government approach to fighting climate change taken by California and New York hits working class and minority communities the hardest. The paper reviews the impact of global warming policies adopted in California and New York, such as unrealistic renewable energy goals, strict low carbon fuel standards, and costly subsidies for buying higher-priced electric cars and installing solar panels. The report finds that, collectively, these expensive and burdensome policies are dramatically increasing the energy burdens of their respective state residents.
The Social Benefits of Fossil Fuels
This Heartland Policy Brief by Joseph Bast and Peter Ferrara documents the many benefits from the historic and still ongoing use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are lifting billions of people out of poverty, reducing all the negative effects of poverty on human health, and vastly improving human well-being and safety by powering labor-saving and life-protecting technologies, such as air conditioning, modern medicine, and cars and trucks. They are dramatically increasing the quantity of food humans produce and improving the reliability of the food supply, directly benefiting human health. Further, fossil fuel emissions are possibly contributing to a “Greening of the Earth,” benefiting all the plants and wildlife on the planet.
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels – Summary for Policymakers
In this fifth volume of the Climate Change Reconsidered series, 117 scientists, economists, and other experts assess the costs and benefits of the use of fossil fuels by reviewing scientific and economic literature on organic chemistry, climate science, public health, economic history, human security, and theoretical studies based on integrated assessment models and cost-benefit analysis.
Nothing in this Research & Commentary is intended to influence the passage of legislation, and it does not necessarily represent the views of The Heartland Institute. For further information on this subject, visit Environment & Climate News, The Heartland Institute’s website, and PolicyBot, Heartland’s free online research database.
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department.
There is no idea too crazy for the Krazy-Cats. The more collateral damage there is from an idea, the more the Democrats love it. The Green New Deal is so damaging that Alexandria Occasional-Cortex really, really loves it.
The UK’s PM who is an AOC follower, has just announced that he is legislating to ban the petrol, diesel and hybrid cars manufacture in 14 years time. Naturalist David Attenborough who is nearly 94 has accepted the task to see project through to its fruition, despite the fact that he is telling us that world is going to end in 11 years and 4 months.
I think the Land Area estimates are far too conservative for the task proposed.
To run the nation on Solar and Wind combined means not only allowing for capacity factor rather than Nameplate but would also require allowing for the recharging of Night Time Batteries while still allowing for day time usage. Further, the required replacement of fossil fueled heating and cooking would also create further electricity demand as would the total electrification of Transportation. This would take between 4 – 8 times production capacity regardless of nameplate capacity.
To convert existing electricity usage in New York City to 100% Solar would require covering King, Queens, the Bronx and 1/2 of Long Island with panels.
To allow for recharging night time batteries would require covering the remainder of Long Island.
To electrify Transportation and end dependence on Fossil Fuels within Manhattan would require an area the size of Connecticut be covered with panels given Solar Powers 25-30% capacity factor.
Figured by the size of Topaz Solar Farm acreage and production capacity factor extrapolated to energy requirements for Manhattan.
Some talented graphics artist should produce images depicting what this coverage of panels and turbines would look like over the landscape. Something along the lines of the “Miami underwater” graphics.
Most of the current construction of wind and solar has been done in the best locations. As we increase the penetration of wind and solar, more and more marginal sites will have to be implemented. This also increases the total amount of land that will be needed.
Also, most of the best places for wind and solar are not where the bulk of the population lives, which will result in line losses as the electricity is transmitted from where it is made to where it is needed.
Having spent the last 20 years driving up & down the West Country, Somerset, Devon, & Cornwall, I have seen it littered with windmills & solar arrays, all on land owned by very wealthy landowners, who are being paid lots of cash by hard pressed energy users for doing so, & getting wealthier in the process, & all my Socialist friends think it’s a really great idea, going green & making rich people richer! I understand that the feed-in tarrifs have already been cut for thethe peasants with solar panels on their roofs, etc! What a money spinner the whole game is!
The Sun angle is very low and it is not at all unusual for weeks and weeks to go by with overcast conditions in the NE US in Fall and Winter.
Spring the Sun is higher and in the sky longer, but it is often still rainy and cloudy for many days at a time.
And overcast skies often come with lack of wind.
There is zero chance of even getting the power we currently use from wind and solar, let alone additional amounts for transportation, heating, cooking, etc.
And the batteries do not exist even if there was enough Sun and Wind.
The batteries would, by necessity, need to be Pumped Storage Hydro. With above ground storage tanks gravity fed into underground tanks to be Pumped back to surface during the day.
The number of places where pumped hydro is even possible is very limited, and many of the best places are already in use.
How exactly were you planning on creating enough underground cavities?
To power the entire country using just wind power, Driessen estimates 2.12 million turbines would be required to do so, covering 500,682 square miles of land. This means covering an area the size of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and most of West Virginia—combined
At what cost Bryan?
The batteries to store the power that it will never be possible to create in sufficient amounts, by 2 orders of magnitude or more, you mean?
Sure, of course it will have to be something that requires construction, land, and materials in a scale that does not exist to be tapped, and then use vast quantities of scarce resources like water to inefficiently store this power that will be impossible to create, thereby vastly increasing and never decreasing mineral and fossil fuel extractions for several life times to come, all for nothing, but to pretend to solve a problem that does not exist, would not be a solution if it did, and has been proposed by imbeciles who know nothing of such matters as a means to wrest control of everyone’s life and crush civilization.
What are the disadvantages of pumped storage reservoirs?
However, the disadvantages of pumped hydro power generation include high initial capital cost and potential site-specific negative environmental and ecological impacts and the fact that the electrical power used for pumping the water back up the mountain could possibly come from other energy sources, such as nuclear, …
http://www.alternative-energy-tutorials.com › …
Pumped Hydro Storage – The Ups and Downs of Hydro Power
Let’s assume that you can take 100% of the output of every battery manufacturer in the country in order to build a big enough battery back up system to account for days when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun isn’t shining.
By the time you finished building the array, the first batteries that you installed would have long since needed replacing.
They’re trying to enact this agenda locally here in Oregon – Kate Brown is making a money grab – backed, of course, by the slime over at Nike – who are granted sweetheart tax deals to deign to do business in the state, and who turn around and screw the rest of the citizenry.
We’re having a rally at the state capital Thursday, Feb 6.
Here’s Kate Brown’s contact info, if anyone wants to tell her about herself:
And Tim there is so much more that can be done to increase energy efficiency and reduce associated carbon emissions.
The Green New Deal I agree is a Democratic 70 Trillion dollars of our taxpayer money ~ disaster.
We have a Republican Carbon Capture Reduction Solution. https://youtu.be/RQRQ7S92_lo This Sidel Carbon Capture Utilization System turns the CO2 in the combusted fossil fuel exhaust into good paying full time jobs and money. It will put Billions of dollars back into America’s Economy.
Great – where can I see it? I always wanted to overturn the Second Law 🙂
Carbon Capture Reduction Solution?
Count me in. I’m all for reducing Carbon Capture. That’s a solution I can get behind.
Free the CO2!
You know that the leaders of this scam are reaching deperation levels. Renaming the scheme after a political party.
1) There isn’t a shred of evidence to support the belief that we need to reduce CO2 emissions.
2) Only a complete ignoramus believes that using 3 times more people to do the same job is a good thing for the economy.
Yeah…another layer of money wasting.
That oughta solve the non-problem.
What if asteroid hits earth and darkens the sky ? We will have crop failure but also no power since the panels won’t work.
What if we just have the same weather and change of seasons we have always had?
There are not enough batteries made in the world in a year to power a single large city for even one day.
Even the alarmists agree that impoverished countries have the worst environment. link If you want the best environment, prosperity is a necessary condition.
Wrecking the economy in the name of the environment will also wreck the environment. Stupid is as stupid does.
When people are about worried where their next meal is going to come from, they don’t give a flying flip as to whether the Monarch Butterfly is endangered or not.
From the last minutes of Three Days of the Condor (1975)
I saw that movie when I was a sophomore Geophysics major at the Colorado School of Mines. Gas Lines were a fresh memory.
Today we get over 6 million bbls per day out of what I was taught was reservoir SEAL thanks to Fracking. The Permian Basin of Texas, that many US Majors were selling off in the 1990’s is now considered to be the largest “oil field” in the WORLD at over 200 Billion BBL oil recoverable. How times change!
Several months ago, there was discussion here of how much land it would take for the U.S. to go to some combination of wind and solar totaling 100% of our needs, even accounting for the extra needed because wind and solar don’t produce up to nameplate capacity.
I did a back-of-the-cocktail-napkin calculation and found that there was plenty of land in the U.S. for all the wind turbines and solar panels with plenty of land left over for housing and agriculture.
Then a few of the “usual suspects” here on WUWT pointed out to me that most of the good wind locations have already been taken and solar realistically must be confined to the lower half of the continental U.S.
The upshot of the follow-on comments to me was that we are already close to running out of land suitable for purpose for renewables. That’s land that is sunny enough or windy enough. The good spots are taken.
So yeah, to get more suitable land for renewables here in the U.S. we’d have to severely cut into our stock of State and National parklands to have even half a chance at siting all the hardware necessary to go 100% renewables.
We have enough land. We don’t have enough suitable land.
Green isn’t so green when you cut down all the trees and bulldoze parklands for unreliable power.
Did you include the land needed to site all the batteries?
No need for battery backup, Mark.
The Grand Green Plan is for massive government spending on UFCS (Unicorn Fart Capture & Storage) technology.
On diffusivity and green energy:
In addition to green energy’s fatal flaw of intermittency, there is also the second fatal flaw of diffusivity. The land area of the wind farms required to provide 100% of Great Britain’s energy demand would comprise about 10% of the country’s total land area – it’s explained at 1:58 in this video: https://youtu.be/viJ-Y4X-5zQ
In the USA, this 10% would total about 300,000 square miles, or all of Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and more land and much more money would be required to provide back-up power for when the wind does not blow.
WHAT THE GREEN NEW DEAL IS REALLY ABOUT — AND IT’S NOT THE CLIMATE
By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., July 20, 2019
Told you so – 18 YEARS AGO! 🙂
The four most beautiful words in our common language: “I told you so.”
– Gore Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012
We published in 2002:
“THE ULTIMATE AGENDA OF PRO-KYOTO ADVOCATES IS TO ELIMINATE FOSSIL FUELS, BUT THIS WOULD RESULT IN A CATASTROPHIC SHORTFALL IN GLOBAL ENERGY SUPPLY – THE WASTEFUL, INEFFICIENT ENERGY SOLUTIONS PROPOSED BY KYOTO ADVOCATES SIMPLY CANNOT REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS.”
DEBATE ON THE KYOTO ACCORD
The PEGG, November 2002, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta,
by Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and Allan MacRae
reprinted in edited form at their request by several professional journals, the Globe and Mail and La Presse.
Wind and solar power do NOT contribute significant useful (dispatchable) electric power to the grid. This is a simple, proved hypothesis, yet many trillions of dollars have been wasted globally on this intermittent green energy nonsense.
So next time, good people, please listen to your Uncle Allan, who cares for your well-being, and does not want you to waste trillions on foolish green energy schemes/scams – just to drive up energy costs, reduce grid reliability, and needlessly increase Winter Deaths.
To try to convey this message to the lower-end of the intellectual spectrum, especially our green politicians, I simplified the message about a decade ago, as follows:
“WIND POWER – IT DOESN’T JUST BLOW – IT SUCKS!”
“SOLAR POWER – STICK IT WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE!”
Bundle up, good people – it’s getting colder out there.
first of all it has nothing to do with saving the planet, the planet will be here long after we are gone, what is about is control, they(the elites) want complete control of your life. if they were really interested in saving the planet their actions would be totally different.
My fun thing to watch was somewhere in Britain , tearing down a forest to up a wind farm, hey maybe if you keep the forest, forgot about the wind farm you could have a gas electric generating plant, no need for carbon credits, another was how to help farmers reduce their carbon. Are the people that come up with that really intelligent(probably have a few PHD after their names.
?? “how to help FARMERS reduce their carbon.” ?!?!
My God, man! Farmers sequester more carbon into the food they produce than you personally can hope to accomplish!
Anybody seen the January GAT anomaly update?
Hey, I know…let’s turn over the means of energy production for our entire country, plus transportation overhaul to something that cannot work at our population density, to an overgrown fifth grader, and the rest of a political party that do not even know how to count up votes in less than a week.
Who cares if she is one of the stupidest people in the country?
Who cares if it is mathematically and scientifically impossible, would cost more than everything else that has ever been built, ever, anywhere, has no purpose other than transferring political power and control of everything and everyone to psychopaths, and is in no way even remotely scientifically or technically doable?
Let’s spend more money than exists destroying our civilization.
When you put it like that, Nicholas, sounds good to me!
Where do I sign up?
And what’s going to power the cement trucks needed to install all those windmills? It will take the entire fossil fuel output of the US just to run the equipment necessary to perform this task. It is absurd.
Do any of these GND imbeciles understand that even today, the windmills and solar panels already installed are as yet net CO2 emitters? Since they have at least a 10 year breakeven period, and the vast majority are less than 10 years old, more energy (mostly Chinese coal) was consumed than they have produced.
I would argue that they will never reach breakeven, when backup conventional generation used to make up for intermittency is included in the balance.
The blight factor. A Green solution with niche applications.
“A countrywide 100 percent renewable plan would put the U.S. economy in jeopardy” I suggest is something of an understatement, like ‘putting Greta Thunberg in charge of the US Treasury would put the U.S. economy in jeopardy’.
I swore to give up posting here, but this article is so fundamentally wrong it needs addressing…
Firstly, the document seems to assume that all of US power is to be provided for by just one renewable means and calculates accordingly… this of course is NOT the case and there would be a complimentary mix of solar, onshore and offshore wind.
You also need to think about demand in terms of seasonal, regional and peak demand and match that to power available – for example there will be more wind power in winter in the NE, but less solar there in summer, however aircon use is less in the NE…. (and so on).
This is a detailed calculation of available solar power in the US from rooftops. It realistically calculates they can provide 40% of annual demand. It does not include parking lots, reservoir mounted solar, solar over irrigation canals, solar on capped landfill etc.
This covers some of those other types of site:
and I find other calculations like the above showing the amount of square mileage would be much lower that the document shows:
The wind farm cited was a 2005 design using 2.5 MW turbines. The latest designs might include 5.2 MW more efficient turbines onshore and larger offshore. The footprint calculation is surely outdated.
With EU/UK stringent environmental regulations and vigorous oversight from the UK’s RSPB bird protection organisation, there is no discernible environmental impact to offshore wind in Europe, though GW of it have been installed (ever more cheaply). There is established practice to mitigate harm to cetaceans etc during construction and no evidence of harm during operation. There is evidence to show that offshore windfarms become havens for marine life and are favoured, for example, by seals.
I think it beggars belief to suggest a modern HVDC connector poses the same fire risk as a decades old Californian transmission system. In any case the lines connecting renewables to the existing distribution grid are going to be nowhere near as widespread as current distribution.
Birds. I am willing to bet that the data used was based entirely on the outdated anomalous, not typical Altamont Ridge wind farm. And is thus invalid if applied on a national scale.
I see griff is still pushing lies about renewable energy.
Nothing in griff’s post addresses, much less refutes the points made by the author.
For some reason griff seems to think that getting a wind turbine to 0.1% more efficient is a big deal.
The fact that bird kills have been documented over and over and over again, just doesn’t matter to griff.
If what was intended by these advocates had anything to do with clean and safe and reliable means of generating inexpensive power, the focus would be on hydroelectric where possible, and on nuclear everywhere else.
But these are explicitly rejected by a majority of the climate alarmists.
Instead they insist on expensive and resource intensive methods that rely heavily on subsidies and special tax deals, that require 100% always on backups of alternate means of generating power (IOW…fossil fuels), that have their own set of problematic environmental and ecological harms (real ones, not imagined or theorized), and rely on low density energy that can only be gathered with expensive and non-durable devices.
In fact we have it from the mouths and writings of the advocates for these boondoggles exactly what the real purpose, the real goal is: To provide means of control of every aspect of our lives, to redistribute wealth, to bring and end to our industrial civilization, to cull the entire human race to a fraction of the current population, and to bring about a means to impose globalist socialist political control over the entire world.
You can post links and deny reality from now until doomsday, January 1st 2032…and it will not change a thing, or cause a single person to forget what we know.
We get the real story whenever we pay attention to what the insane fools say themselves:
It’s not about saving the planet, it’s about destroying humanity (capitalism in particular). If one has to destroy the planet to destroy humanity, so be it. In the meantime, the future rulers of the serfs make a fortune wiping out wildlife and landscapes with their destructive ways. It is as it always was.
Sheri has hit the bullseye. To worry about the environmental downsides of the Green New Deal is to miss the point entirely, because the GND is not and never was about the environment except in the sense that global warming provides the excuse for stealth totalitarianism.
This is reflected in the remarks below, published July 10, 2019 in The Washington Post Magazine. The original article lets the cat out of the bag in an admiring profile of Saikat Chakrabarti, then-chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), co-author of the “Green New Deal.” The Post quotes Mr. Chakrabarti from a conversation with Sam Ricketts, climate adviser to then-presidential candidate (and Washington Governor) Jay Inslee. Chakrabarti expresses approval of Inslee’s climate proposals, and the reader next sees the following paragraph, reproduced here exactly as it appears in the article:
Chakrabarti had an unexpected disclosure. “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” Ricketts greeted this startling notion with an attentive poker face. “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti continued. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” (end quote)
Of course, this disappeared straight down the memory hole the instant it was published. So far as I know, none of the utterly untrustworthy U.S. media ever picked up on Chakrabarti’s admission of the hidden socialist agenda. But it still clears up any confusion about any need to even consider the environmental aspects of the GND.
We’ve learned that the windmill blades are not recyclable, so they must be dumped in a landfill (i.e. a dump). I am guessing that old/broken/nonfunctional solar panels will require significant remediation before their remains end up in a dump as well. Nothing lasts forever.
Those giant windmill blades are not recyclable.
“The main problem would be the excessive amount of land that would be needed to power the country with wind and solar.
Driessen estimates 18.8 billion solar panels would be required, covering 57,048 square miles—the equivalent of blanketing the entire states of New York and Vermont combined.
Driessen also notes that “[Negative habitat impacts] on desert tortoises and other rare, threatened, or endangered species [from solar farms] have already prompted legislators, regulators, and courts to block or ban solar facilities in critical habitat areas, such as parts of California’s Mojave Desert, despite the fact that such sunny areas would be ideal locations for solar energy facilities.”
What will these legislators, regulators, and courts do when solar power, which currently provides 1.5 percent of the country’s electricity, is dramatically expanded into more habitats?”
Not to mention https://www.google.com/search?q=birds+mistake+solar+arrays+for+lakes&oq=birds+mistake+solar+arrays+for+lakes+&aqs=chrome.