Over the past few weeks, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) competition has been introducing a series of new illustrations and concepts aimed at showing how renewable and sustainable energy sources can meet the nation’s needs, from energy to solar-powered water salinization. One of the latest is a map of California showing just how much land mass would be needed to power the whole state with renewable energy. Guess what, it’s not that much.
The initiative’s founders created the map in response to California’s recently enacted carbon reduction policies that require the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below its 1990 levels by 2030. “We decided to take a look at what the land use impact of energy has been on California in the past, and what a real shift to a 100 percent renewable energy infrastructure might look like,” wrote LAGI, which was founded by husband and wife Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian.
As you can tell from the graphic, it won’t change much. It won’t require huge tracts of land or wilderness. “In this graphic, we show a diversified mix of renewable energy technologies and the impact in terms of land area in direct proportion to consumption by county (you can quickly see that Los Angeles County is the biggest consumer),” Ferry and Monoian wrote. “Much of the infrastructure can be located within our cities—on rooftops and through creative and community-owned applications in public spaces. The rest could easily be located in the places that have already been disturbed by oil and gas extraction—the dark dots on the map. By enlisting these fossil fuel land areas in the fight against climate change, we can keep the CO2 the ground while we clean up the sky.”
“The information graphic is the latest in our series that explores the land use impact of renewable energy in a post-carbon world. Starting in 2009 with the Surface Area Required to Power the World with Solar, we have been making the case that the renewable energy transition, while a huge undertaking, is not any more ambitious in scale than previous human endeavors, and that the footprint on our environment can be designed to be in harmony with nature and provide a unique benefit to human culture,” Ferry and Monoian asserted.Tweet