Followers of this blog know that I consider empty rooftops to be wasted space. It's really hard to conceive the gajillions of acres of empty rooftops across America, let alone the world, that could be helping to generate clean energy (via solar installations) and grow fresh organic vegetables and herbs (via roof gardens).
As California Assembly member, Nancy Skinner, notes in this SF Chronicle op-ed, the promise of our unused, but developed space goes beyond just rooftops:
(T)here are prime locations in our cities and developed areas that have significant potential for renewable power generation. These include rooftops of large buildings and the land along our highways, as well as the canals, pipelines and other infrastructure that make up the California aqueduct. Unlike more remote areas, these sites are close to electricity consumers and the workforce.
Expanding local renewable energy production can also generate jobs and boost our economy. According to a 2004 UC Berkeley study, renewable energy creates at least twice as many jobs as the equivalent fossil fuel-based power production, while providing electricity at increasingly cost-competitive prices. And the jobs, like the energy generated, would be close to where most workers live.