Photo via Flickr
California's renewable energy providers and utilities are pushing to meet their state's 2020 deadline of providing at least 30 percent of the state's energy from renewable resources. But as the demand rises and the deadline approaches, it's proving hard to raise the necessary capital to start the massive projects needed to provide clean and green energy. One project, scheduled to break ground in the Mojave Desert, is now being challenged after green groups objected to its site, home to several dozen endangered turtles. BrightSource Energy, the developer of the large solar project, is based out of my hometown of Oakland. They want to create a concentrated solar project made up of 400,000 mirrors on U.S. Bureau of Land Management property, but the Sierra Club wants the site moved closer to the highway to help protect the endangered desert tortoise.
According to the Associated Press, "The Bureau of Land Management has received more than 150 applications for large-scale solar projects on 1.8 million acres of federal land in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. In California alone, such projects could claim an area the size of Rhode Island, transforming the state into the world's largest solar farm."
BrightSource has offered to pay for the transfer of the tortoises, at a substantial cost, but the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity are saying no way. It's clear that the country moves to a grid increasingly supplied with renewable energy, such fights will be a common occurrence. Stay tuned to see what happens to this project and the desert tortoise.