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Solar Energy: A Blessing or a Curse?

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In the past two decades, environmental and energy conservation issues have been at the forefront in the global campaigns. This is literally because poor use of resources has adverse effects to future generations. As a result, conservation research and studies suggest that countries adopt renewable energy strategies. One of the mostly recommended renewable energy sources is solar power. It entails trapping and generating power from solar energy. This essay seeks to put forward and explain aspects of solar energy use as propounded by two articles: “State Solar Plans Are As Big As All Outdoors” and “Environmentalists against Solar Power”. The former was authored by Marla Dickerson while the latter was written by Peter Maloney. All the articles explain the pros and cons of adopting solar energy in California. Although the two authors have different views, their contribution in the field of conservation studies cannot be overlooked. While Dickerson propounds an ambitious adoption of solar energy, Maloney is concerned that solar energy would negatively affect the environment. Moreover, it is clear that California is making immense strides in conservation because while energy conservationists suggest use of solar, environmentalists are either disregard it or approve it only when used from roof tops.

The idea of conservation of energy and environment is relatively old. Most authorities agree that both the environment and energy should be conserved. However, most scholars offer different opinions on how exactly conservation should be approached. Perhaps a major question to pose this early is whether the academic background of a scholar matters in determining what conservation ideology he or she adopts. Moreover, in spite of ideological differences in conservation approach, it is crystal clear that California needs to adopt better measures of energy generation. This is especially with regard to the previous trends in the quantities and sources of the energy used in California. The Californian law requires that 20% of its total national energy use should come from renewable sources.

The recent developments and campaigns in global campaign against environmental degradation and for the adoption of the so-called green energy are variously evident in California. Dickerson (358) observes that in spite of the fact that California “has the largest operating collection of solar thermal facilities in the world”, only 0.2% of the total national power consumption comes from solar. These past trends simply point out that if Californians do not do something about their energy sources, the State may face serious problems in the near future. As at now, the State gets about 30% of its power from other countries. Dickerson’s article is a wake up call that the nation should make use of its solar resources at its disposal in the deserts.

The recommendations arising from studies in possibilities of adopting solar energy in large scale have elicited somewhat contrasting views from environmentalists. Although it is not a controversial view, it challenges the absolute adoption of solar energy generation at the expense of the ecological niches and habitats for some animals and human beings occupying those parts of the country. A pioneering scholar in this caution-calling view, Peter Maloney is either opposed to certain modes of solar energy generation or pessimistic that solar energy would not be a sound or sustainable idea for the country. Citing the government’s plan to use 78,490 acres of land in the desert, Maloney (362) cautions that such a move would render many living things homeless. He writes that although these acres are in the desert, they “also the home to the Mojave ground squirrel, the desert tortoise and the burrowing owl, and to human residents". In proposing a better method of solar energy harvesting, the writer uses the Germany example in which solar is generated from roof tops as opposed to large chunks of land which would displace humans as well as animals. Further, Maloney observes that solar energy for national use may not be a prudent idea at all. This is because the method never produces enough energy as opposed to coal and petroleum, which again pollute the environment.

In conclusion, the recent campaigns to adopt use of renewable energy are differentially taken up by different professionals. Although all of them are geared towards conservation, scholars from different backgrounds seem to apply different approaches towards conservation. For energy advocates, as long as the alternative energy does not pollute the environment the way coal does, then it is appropriate to be adopted. In this regard, Dickerson observes that California has a great potential of solar energy courtesy of its desert. In expounding his approach towards renewable energy and environment at the same time, Maloney explains how Germany uses rooftop solar panels to successfully generate solar energy. He explains that this would be a better plan considering that solar stations would take up a lot of space thus displacing inhabitants. All in all, there is no doubt that California is making useful strides towards renewable energy.

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