Oakland Invades the Desert 

Four East Bay companies are leading the rush to develop utility-scale solar power. But some environmentalists suggest there's a big price to pay.

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The bill has the support of Southern California Edison, the country's largest purchaser of renewable energy, but is currently tied up in limbo after a Senate hearing in May. Spokesman Tom Mentzer said the bill is still a priority for Senator Feinstein, and that her staff is actively seeking ways to push it through.

As these environmental issues slowly work themselves out, solar companies like BrightSource, FirstSolar, Solar Millennium, and SunPower will continue doing what they do best: supplying as much solar power as they can to our nation's energy grid — not only to survive as for-profit businesses, but also to help ease our dependence on non-renewable and greenhouse gas-generating power. "All of the companies that are doing renewable energy projects believe that they're doing something good," said Defenders of Wildlife's Kim Delfino, who has been critical of solar development procedures to date. "This has been a learning experience for everybody."

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