I know I'm the only one who posts here, but yeah, guess what? We're fucked.
Super Dude, I'll try to add something different to the discussion and maybe take it somewhere else. Anyway, I've been working on the West coast of the US on everything from Solar Farms to Wind Farms to the High kV Transmission Lines that carry the power. I'd like to talk about how these are (through my eyes) successful and unsuccessful as far as economy and environment are concerned:
Both economically and environmentally, the regulations enforced to protect the environment during construction is simply bass ackwards. The main goals for a green energy project are: minimizing environmental impact during construction, safety, getting the project built, and making money. The three things that end up happening are: environmental impacts are increased, safety is compromised, the projects are often delayed by gov't agencies, and contractors lose money and/or go out of business.
The major problems are: owners, unions, and environmental agencies do not work together for the main goals of the project (listed above), environmental agencies are ignorant to the construction process to understand how to minimize its impact, and the motive behind environmental regulations on a construction project is money, not Mother Earth.
My Opinion and solution: Environmental agencies need to get educated about construction processes and treat each construction project individually. Each project has diversity in location, species sensitivity, and contractor diversity. Environmentalist agencies need to work with contractors to regulate according to construction activity. Too often, the cause of an environmental restriction on a construction access road leads to a solution that is twice as hurtful to the environment. This can be easily avoided with common sense. You'd be surprised how much common sense is neglected during these projects. Each project has a different location and have different levels of environmental importance. For example, a project in the middle of the desert should not be treated like a project in a national park. Endangered species need to be treated as such so that mitigation measures designed for their benefit doesn't inhibit construction activity to the point of destroying budgets and other environmental regulations. Emissions standards for vehicles need to be project and contractor specific. Small contractors are being forced out of business and kicked off of jobs because their overhead budget cannot keep up with increasingly high environmental expectations from agencies. A certain amount of care must be put into this. A small company does not use nearly as much equipment as a large company, and it cannot budget for upgrades to every vehicle as required on some projects. It is important for environmentalists to understand the importance their efficient construction methods improve environmental conditions during construction. I'm not suggesting cutting a break to certain (small) companies, but spreading regulations proportionally between contractors. Contractors have to be willing to work with environmentalists for the good of the global climate and the good of the economy.
I think it is important to think about the current condition of the environment, but also how it is really being handled. I'm an advocate for both improving environmental conditions and for keeping the economy moving. There needs to be drastic changes in how contractors, owners, and environmental firms work together to build these green energy farms and transmission lines. The sooner these are built, the sooner we reap the benefits of green energy. But if poor green construction practices continue, we'll see more harm done than good.