Will California Be The Saudi Arabia Of Solar Power?

Federal incentives have set off a rush to get solar power plants permitted for the California deserts. Plants approved before January could cover a combined 53 square square miles. Clean energy fans are happy. Desert tortoises, not so much.

"Up to 200 solar energy projects, are seeking, or have received, approval to be developed in California. Most notable of these are nine large-scale projects in the state's own Empty Quarter – the Mojave and Colorado -- where state and federal officials are on the verge of inking approvals on more than 4,100 megawatts worth of solar thermal farms. Collectively, they represent nearly ten times the amount of solar capacity installed in 2009, and enough energy to power roughly 2 million homes."

"The projects' operational sizes range from a few hundred acres to more than 7,000 acres, and their total rights of way are more than 34,000 acres – roughly 53 square miles. These projects represent huge footprints that inevitably impact the local environment and its plant and animal species. But despite concerns, all nine projects appear to be moving towards approval by the end of the year. Six have already been licensed by the California Energy Commission, and three others are expected to face votes by the end of the year."

Thanks to Josh Stephens

Full Story: Federal Deadline Sets Off Rush to Approve Solar Plants

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