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Google Earth Mash-Up Shows Best Areas for Renewable Energy Projects

You might think that renewable energy developers have few problems convincing towns to let them move in. But things can get surprisingly tricky when it comes to wildlife protection, according to a new map from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Audubon Society. The Google Maps mash-up shows which renewable energy project locations are likely to provoke a fight based on the location of wilderness areas, areas where roads are banned, national parks, wildlife refuges, areas under consideration for wilderness protection, and areas that lack legal protection but contain endangered species.

The map is a useful primer for companies, but inspection of the sites is obviously required to find out if development is suitable. While the NRDC’s mash-up is mainly intended for alternative energy developers, it is also useful for oil and gas prospectors as well as potential coal mine installations.

As the NRDC’s website notes, “Knowing the location of sensitive lands is the first step toward ensuring that new projects and new transmission lines are built in the right way.”

You can check out the map here.

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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