Arnold Schwarzenegger backs up solar panels

It gives me great pleasure to see some points of view the governor of California has; here’s what he had to say about solar panels, simple and short:

“Asking whether large solar power plants are appropriate in the Mojave desert is like wondering whether subways make sense in New York City.”

This is hands down one of the best statements I’ve read in quite a while. To see a top politician back up renewable solar energy in such an open and clear way definitely doesn’t happen every day; it’s still not clear for me how much of what he says is actually backed up, but I liked what I read.

We won a legal battle with the federal government that will make cars more fuel efficient in California and the rest of the nation. We enacted laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We established the 25 million-acre Sierra Nevada Conservancy and preserved hundreds of thousands of additional acres up and down our state. But as I said three years ago in a speech at Yale University, if we can’t put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don’t know where we can put them. In other words, we need to worry less about a few dozen desert tortoises and more about the economic prosperity, security and health of our nation.

What raises a question mark for me is the “save a few [something]” line. There are still many things we don’t know about the Mojave ecosystem and solar panels cover up a lot of ground, but if done right, this project could have impressive benefits, with a minimum negative impact.

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