2010 may well become known in the renewable and environmental community as the year of the solar battles. Battle is definitely brewing in California, with the main focus at the moment on Brightsource. Just before the new year, Senator Feinstein introduced a new bill that she hopes will help balance preservation of the Mojave desert with recreation and renewable energy development.
What makes these discussions difficult is that not all relevant knowledge is available (such as impact of large scale solar construction on the desert tortoise habitats, or probability of success of transmigration of such species to other areas). And as always, there are so many different interests at stake.
We’re organizing a forum on large scale solar deployment in April. In preparation, we’ll write a series of fact sheets or lack-of-fact sheets on utility scale solar. As soon as these are finished, I will post them here.
This utility scale solar debate is very reminiscent of the debates on large scale wind projects we had one or two decades ago.