Whatever you may think about the positive and negative effects of California's efforts to increase the "renewable" proportion of it's electricity generation, it is undoubtedly a very large effort.
Out in the Mojave Desert in California, a power plant that could eventually generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes hopes to get its moment in the sun soon. When the $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah is completed — sometime next year, if all goes according to plan — nearly 350,000 mirrors on 3,600 acres will reflect light onto boilers. Steam will power turbines, which will generate electricity that flows to California homes. It will be the largest such plant in the world. These “solar workhorses of the desert,” says V. John White, an analyst in Sacramento and an advocate for renewable energy, “can produce a lot of high-quality energy in the way that other renewable energies can’t do. And there are only a handful of places on the planet that have solar radiation that good.” But some opponents have criticized the Obama administration for pushing solar projects that don’t pan out. The solar-panel maker Solyndra declared bankruptcy last year despite receiving $528 million in federally guaranteed loans, while BrightSource Energy, one of Ivanpah’s developers, has benefited from a similar $1.6 billion government loan. It’s expensive harnessing the sun. And the costs go beyond construction. BrightSource says that it has spent more than $56 million relocating desert tortoises.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012 ... ld.html?hp