As renewable energy technology gains momentum as a viable replacement for burning fossil fuels (thanks largely to environmentalists concerned about the toxins and the carbon dioxide spewed by coal plants), opposition is also starting to grow — from other environmentalists.
In order to replace a utility-scale coal plant, renewable energy projects may also have to be, well, utility scale. And for solar plants, that may mean covering thousands of acres of land with mirrors or PV panels. This has some environmentalists concerned about how those panels will affect local ecosytems.
Now, biologists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have begun a three-year study to look at how the land under solar panel arrays — which is typically graded, stripping the earth of its native vegetation — can be restored. Read more