This an interesting Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times today that is criticising the opening of protected desert lands for the use of massive solar power projects. Essentially Erica Rosenberg and Janine Blaeloch's argument is that this land is important as a nature preserve and that there are better alternative sites that would work just as well.
It's a tough situation because ultimately these big projects would be extremely beneficial for the environment over all, both in nearby areas and all over the world as carbon emissions go down. However, they may hurt their local environment in the process. On the plus side, this process would cut through a lot of red tape, could move forward quickly, create jobs and be easier to maintain.
At the same time, if there were more localized projects such as running panels down the medians of freeways, across the tops of commercial buildings and if subsides for home solar power projects were more prevalent - then we wouldn't need to take up more natural land. That of course is much more expensive, slower to implement and would take away the monthly income that major companies get by selling us power so they are against it and lobbying for these big cash making projects to go forward. Did I mention that funds allocated by the government will be going to companies like Bright Source whose investors include BP, Chevron and Morgan Stanley?
Read the whole thing over at latimes.com.