It's hard to find a new technology that doesn't have a bad side.
Whether it's giant solar farms on sensitive lands, the effects of wind turbines on birds and bats, the potential for ocean energy to harm marine wildlife, or toxic mining of rare earths for a variety of cleantech applications, none of our cleanest technologies is without problems.
Now, concerns are rising over the health effects from electromagnetic waves produced by smart meters, a key cleantech technology to increase building efficiency in homes and businesses.
Meters produce more electromagnetic radiation than cell phones, which have been the subject of extensive research and health concern.
In California, the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance that calls smart meters a public nuisance in some areas. In addition to health risks, the board cited concerns about using meters to invade peoples' privacy by collecting information about their activities.
The board asked the California Public Utilities Commission to declare a moratorium on meters, following the lead of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The towns of Fairfax, Watsonville, and Santa Cruz County have also passed laws banning meters.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co says they will continue installing the meters, which should be finished by the end of 2012 to comply with a state mandate.
According PG&E, the meters will detect power outages faster, provide residents with hourly and daily summaries of their energy use, and will alert them when they're about to enter a higher pricing tier because of the amount of energy they used.