Connecting Land Use and Energy

When thinking about the right way to invest in renewable energy, it's important to realize the different land use impacts of solar, wind, biofuels, along with coal and nuclear, says Clinton Andrews of Rutgers University.

In a recent paper, Andrews and his colleagues divided all available energy sources into three categories:

"In the small footprint category is nuclear, geothermal, coal, solar thermal technology, and natural gas. Although only suitable for certain places, geothermal is a good candidate for expansion because geothermal plants have about the same footprint as oil and gas drilling, since they all use much of the same technology, Andrews said."

Large footprint energy forms include rooftop solar thermal systems, wind, petroleum and hydropower.

Full Story: Figuring land use into renewable-energy equation

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