Senator Feinstein has expressed what a lot of people feel by making an effort to introduce a bill to protect a large area of the US Southwest from solar development. There is also some indication that she is being sensitive to the need for solar development by indicating support for solar installations elsewhere, including in pre-arranged solar energy zones. It is quite possible that this represents a balanced, even productive approach to solar in the US Southwest. After all, we are talking about a major paradigm shift in how energy is made, so it’s not surprising that new laws are needed.
It’s important to be clear about why solar needs the desert lands. After all, one viewpoint is that there are plenty of roofs and otherwise disturbed land, so why bother with the desert?
For one kind of solar, based on using concentrated sunlight to boil water to make electricity, the desert is the only place cloudless enough for it to work. This is the kind of technology represented by BrightSource and the like.