Renewable energy currently provides only 12 percent of the California's needs. By the end of 2010, that number is supposed to double.
According to a state mandate issued years before, 20 percent of California's electricity is supposed to be from alternative energy utilities by the end of 2010. California would be in deep trouble if it wasn't for a federal boon: a 1.6 million acre desert-area in southeastern California known as Imperial Valley. According to Rob Schmitz of NPR
, a 10 square-mile patch of desert could be filled with 38,000 "sun catchers," which look like enormous satellite dishes with mirrors, and could power up to 600,000 San Diego homes.
But Schmitz's prediction is assuming that the region decides to go solar. The Bureau of Labor Management received over a 100 applications from various companies who would like to institute wind, solar, or geothermal plants within the region. Imperial Valley could be a geothermal hotspot or a wind haven; confining it to solar panels may not be the best use of the region's location. Before granting provisional grants to companies to begin building up the Imperial Valley region, a thorough investigation should be taken by the state to determine which form of renewable energy will be cheapest, quickest, and most viable for the region.
If the investigation is conducted properly, then maybe the 20 percent goal will be met. Until then, it looks like an(other) order that may fall through.