Officials with the utility, which serves 4 million residents, project it will have to pay $700 million a year in fees for burning coal under the cap-and-trade system being considered. That will divert money it now spends on expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, said David Nahai, the DWP's general manager. ...Southern California Democrats, who are some of the most outspoken advocates for reducing greenhouse gases, are supporting their coal-dependent utility.
They say Los Angeles can wean itself off coal faster if the city-run utility doesn't have to pay a price to pollute. Instead, they say it should be allowed to spend its money on programs that curb emissions, such as meeting energy efficiency and renewable energy goals.
LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles City Council has signed off on a 16-year contract to buy energy from a wind farm in Wyoming.
The board of commissioners for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power moved Dec. 20 to accelerate by seven years a plan to generate 20% of the utility's electricity from renewable energy.
LAKE HUGHES - Plans for the installation of 70 wind turbines on a ridge northwest of Lake Hughes and construction of power lines to connect them with an already-controversial proposed power line in Leona Valley have been submitted to Los Angeles County regional planners.
But residents of the Lakes communities aren't too happy about it.
"We as a community are not getting a lot of oversight protection on these projects," said Jim Walker, president of the Lakes Town Council.
In signing off on Tule Wind, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed an alternative for 62 turbines on public lands instead of 128 to reduce environmental impacts.
Neighbors of the project have expressed concerns about disruptions to wildlife and the area's pristine views.
The problem, he said, is that those big investment firms tend to focus on mature companies that are generating significant revenue, and there are few of those in cleantech. Meanwhile, more government investment seems increasingly far off as congressional Republicans demand answers about the failure of Fisker Automotive.
But with the potential for many more of the 200-foot-tall wind towers, some residents are none too pleased with the whole idea.
"This is one of the most important habitats for birds in the county," said Emmy Cattani, an owner of the Adobe Ranch, located northwest of Benton.
Environmentalists in California are taking issue with the way wind power is affecting native bird populations in the area.
Citing research by the California Energy Commission (CEC), two groups have launched lawsuits against the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, saying that permits issued for wind turbines do not sufficiently account for the environmental impact of the energy source.
Lightning struck most of the wind turbines along Interstate 8 on the Campo Indian Reservation Monday night, causing severe damage to at least two of them, an official said.
It's unclear how much damage the lighting strikes caused the other turbines, said Neal Emmerton, regional asset manager.
I now have bright red lights flashing in my face which I can also see inside my house which are very annoying and totally unacceptable."
The shadow flicker has a disquieting impact as well, casting vast moving shadows as three blades on each turbine rotates.
A recent National Academy of Sciences study predicts that significant scientific advances and changes in electricity generation, transmission and use are needed before the United States will be able to produce 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources.
Four Siskiyou County residents involved with renewable energy and sustainability were asked to comment on the report. Without exception, they criticized the report as ignoring conservation, and they voiced support for localized renewable energy sources.
An appeal to the U.S. Department of the Interior over its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of San Diego Gas & Electric's Sunrise Powerlink transmission project was filed recently by three local organizations in San Diego County. The appeal notice to the Interior Board of Land Appeals is the first step to a court appeal.
It shows that the BLM failed to adequately conduct environmental reviews and therefore BLM's decision to approve the project should be reviewed.
ACCIONA wants to build up to 65 wind turbines near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Supporters of the project said it would be an historic move to bring new forms of energy to the Central Coast. ...But opponents are not sold. The landscape around the proposed area is mostly rural agricultural land. Some want it to stay that way.
"We bought here because of that beautiful view that we see," said homeowner Jane Fasold, who opposes the project.
Among other concerns: birds and bats killed because of these windmills.
The cattle ranch owned by Jennifer Cruz's parents sits right where the turbines would be built. Her neighbors are worried about noise and a drop in property value.
Across the nation, about 450,000 birds are killed every year at wind farms. According to Dave Bittner, executive director for the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona, golden eagles are another bird species vulnerable to the windmills.
"They're big soaring birds and they like to hunt under the towers," he said.
Johnson Valley resident Betty Munson says the plan threatens "over 22 million acres of desert - from the Mexican border all the way up to Inyo County."
Munson proposed an alternative: Limiting solar projects to areas already developed to prevent further industrialization of the High Desert.
The question of where renewable energy plants can and should go has prompted debate across the West, in New England and in numerous other parts of the country. What makes the debate so heated is that it forces people to reconcile two imperatives: developing sources of alternative energy and supporting preservation-whether of a Civil War battlefield, an endangered species' habitat, or a sacred Native American burial site.
A ruling is soon expected on Lompoc residents George and Cheryl Bedford's lawsuit over the environmental impact report for a wind farm proposed on land surrounding their property. George Bedford explains his frustration with the county's planning process for the project, which would place dozens of wind turbines in the hills south of Lompoc.
"Their bird studies were like trying to determine how many kids would go to a school by driving by during Easter vacation," she said. Taaffe named the California condor, long-eared owl, horned lark, and golden eagle as species at risk. "The blades move at 200 miles per hour at the tip ... Each blade is replaced within a second. That's not terribly slow." At the DEIR hearing, Audubon California board of directors member Steve Ferry asserted that bird surveys were conducted on only five days and during the afternoon, when birds are least likely to be present. He said the draft neglected mitigation measures such as radar, which could track avian traffic and shut down turbines as needed.
"We know birds will be killed," Drude acknowledged of the biological impacts.
The Lompoc project calls for up to 65 turbines, each about 400 feet tall with blades about 130 feet wide, along the ridgelines above a giant bowl. ..."It's just very frustrating with what's going on up there", says rancher George Bedford, "we live in a beautiful area, a beautiful county." He tried unsuccessfully to stop the project from moving forward because of its expected deadly impacts to avian wildlife which Acciona has promised to mitigate.
City officials broke ground Thursday on a mountainside wind farm that is expected to produce enough electricity to power 56,000 homes when it's completed next year.
The 8,000-acre Pine Tree Wind Project in the Tehachapi Mountains about 100 miles north of Los Angeles will more than double the portion of energy the nation's second-largest city gets from wind and help fulfill its pledge to having a fifth of its energy come from renewable sources by 2010, officials said.
The $425 million, 120 megawatt facility will have 80 turbines and a new high-voltage transmission line.