HERE ARE TWENTY-FIVE or so desert tortoises crawling around a four thousand–acre patch of the Mojave Desert known as the Ivanpah Valley. A minor biological marvel, these reptiles are able to survive in temperatures of up to 140 degrees and go for a year without access to water. About a foot long, and maybe a dozen pounds, they don’t look like much.1
But this tiny little band of creatures, and others like it, may be the key lever that environmental groups use to prevent large-scale solar installations from blossoming in the vastness of California’s arid lands.
If ever there is going to be a place where solar energy works, the Mojave Desert is it. It is, as venture capitalist and solar enthusiast Bill ...