By a 4-0 vote, with the remaining commissioners absent, the NAHC voted to grant requests by Viejas and Quechan tribes to declare the 12,400 acre Ocotillo wind project site a sanctified Native American sacred site. Further, the commissioners voted unanimously to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to research if legal action can be taken.
In an environmental dispute seemingly scripted for eco-friendly California, a man asked prosecutors to file charges against his neighbors because their towering redwoods blocked sunlight to his backyard solar panels.
But the couple next door insisted they should not have to chop down the trees to accommodate Mark Vargas' energy demands because they planted the redwoods before he installed the solar panels in 2001.
Experts say such clashes could become more common as California promotes renewable energy and solar systems become more popular. ...The law requires homeowners to keep their trees or shrubs from shading more than 10 percent of a neighbor's solar panels between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is strongest. Existing trees that cast shadows when the panels are installed are exempt, but new growth is subject to the law.
As the Santa Clarita Valley continues to grow and expand, there is a concern and movement to sustain growth without exhausting natural resources. Finding ways to balance growth with the environment has come to a crossroads. That crossroads can be found in Saugus, where a proposed renewable energy project may threaten the nesting grounds of federally-protected Red-tailed hawks. ...The new renewable power lines through Saugus would end at the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in Kern County, which is a wind farm that will allow Edison to keep up with demands for renewable power.
Yet Manwaring said she has no problem with Edison's renewable energy plan. She just wants to be sure the hawks are protected until they are done nursing.
A California company announced a deal Wednesday with Alta Windpower Development LLC to put up additional wind turbines in the area.
Southern California Edison signed a wind energy contract that will provide 1,500 megawatts of clean power to customers. The power will be generated by new projects being developed in the Tehachapi area of California.
As the Oregon Renewable Energy Act made its way through the Legislature last month, lawmakers emphasized its potential to create homegrown, clean sources of electricity.
Yet, even as Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed the bill into law Wednesday, the emerging reality defied the vision of a lone state moving toward energy self-sufficiency.
Oregon wind farms, expected to dominate the state's renewable power expansion, are in the sights of utilities throughout the West. Electricity buyers in California are showing interest in power generated by a wind farm under construction in Sherman County, and already California utilities have snagged power from a Washington project. And the electricity from a project under development in Oregon's Union County is headed for Idaho.
Efforts to reduce bird kills in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area may not be working, new data released this week show.
The mortality rate increased 27 percent over two years among raptors targeted in an ongoing monitoring study, according to an executive summary of the data issued by Alameda County's Scientific Review Committee. The five member panel advises the county on progress being made to mitigate bird deaths in the Altamont Pass windmill area. ...The increase in the kills of the four targeted raptors - the golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel and burrowing owl - is in comparison with a baseline study that took place between March 1998 and May 2003.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval of a new California Independent System Operator transmission policy will make connecting renewables easier.
The ISO was approved Thursday and will help states with renewable portfolio standards meet their goals, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
"We recognize that Commission policy with respect to allocation of transmission interconnection costs can present a barrier to entry to renewable energy," said Joseph Kelliher, chairman of FERC. "The California Independent System Operator's proposal should make it easier for California and other states to meet their targets in various state renewable portfolio standards."
San Bernardino County supervisors approved new height limits for wind turbines Tuesday despite protests from industry advocates who called the rules too restrictive.
The limits were adopted as part of a group of land use code changes, including those affecting renewable energy projects.
The ordinance reduces the maximum height for wind turbines from 120 feet to 100 feet for parcels larger than 5 acres.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proposed another route for its controversial Green Path North project that would bypass pristine desert land in the High Desert and closely parallel the 10 Freeway.
The newly proposed route, about 80 miles in length, would run 230-kilovolt power lines westward from just below Desert Hot Springs in Riverside County to Lytle Creek. ...Environmentalists, however, still remain wary. The new route could impact about 370 properties along the 10 Freeway, 16 of which are homes.
California's latest source of clean energy started spinning slowly in the wind above the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta last spring........
The Shiloh Wind Power Plant, which was unveiled to reporters and utility executives this week, represents a new generation of technology for wind power. Each of its turbines can generate the same amount of electricity as 15 older windmills, some of which still dot the same grassy hills.......
It is one of the first wind farms to begin operations since California began ordering the state's utilities to use more renewable energy in 2002. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. buys half of Shiloh's electricity. The rest goes to Palo Alto's municipal utility and the Modesto Irrigation District.......
The project also demonstrates some of wind power's limitations.
It is spread across 6,800 acres, vastly more than a traditional power plant would require. At roughly $220 million, it also cost more to build than a plant burning natural gas or coal.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has calculated that the neighboring Pine Tree wind facility caused 11.8 bird fatalities per megawatt in the first year of monitoring; if North Sky River turns out to be of comparable hazard, that's about 3,500 birds per year counting on NextEra's good-faith hazard mitigation.
Despite some changes to the route of the proposed Sunrise Powerlink, analysts at the California Public Utilities Commission have not changed their opinion about the controversial line, according to an environmental study released yesterday.
The revised environmental report includes an evaluation of wind power that San Diego Gas & Electric hopes to tap in northern Baja California as well as more than a dozen changes being considered for Sunrise, a proposed $1.5 billion, 150-mile power line that would stretch from the Imperial Valley to Rancho Peñasquitos.
In the end, the analysts repeated findings from the first draft of the report, namely that there are five "environmentally superior" alternatives to the SDG&E proposal, including proposals to generate power within San Diego County or to build alternate lines that would - unlike Sunrise - avoid Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
A proposal to add up to 88 wind turbines to the 700 already spinning in the Montezuma Hills has been tabled for two months as a result of a Solano County Planning Commission meeting Thursday night. ...
Officials from Travis Air Force Base have said the projects pose a potential safety hazard. The problem, they've explained, is that the additional wind turbines could be incompatible with the ASR-11 radar system the base plans to have operational by October 2008.
The Temecula City Council wants to take a closer look at a wind energy ordinance and another proposed ordinance that would offer protection for the city's heritage trees.
During Tuesday's meeting, the council postponed a hearing on the heritage tree ordinance until its next meeting in mid-July and voted 3-0 to create a subcommittee to look more closely at the proposed regulations on the harnessing of wind energy.
Wind power's intermittency as an energy resource but minimal contributions toward peak-capacity needs are further evidenced in operational data from three Washington and Montana wind farms. Monthly and even daily energy production vary substantially.
Officials from NorthWestern Energy and Puget Sound Energy recently shared these and other wind-power experiences, including reserve requirements (challenging) and wind forecasting (improving). These tales come from the 135 MW-capacity Judith Gap wind farm in central Montana, whose entire output NorthWestern buys from developer Invenergy Wind, and PSE's 150 MW-capacity Hopkins Ridge and 229 MW-capacity Wild Horse wind projects in southeastern and central Washington, respectively. ..."The relationship between load and wind output is almost zero," the former council member told the current council. "That's a real issue for us. We continue to learn almost every day some things about wind operations on our system."
The City Council is trying to craft rules for electricity-generating wind energy systems that won't divide the city's residents into warring camps of "wind energy advocates" and NIMNBYs: "Not in my neighbor's back yard."
So far, it's been tough to find a happy medium.
A human-centric outlook, with its front-forward focus, helps little in devising bird-friendly remedies to prevent the deaths.
Each year in the United States, 440,000 birds die from crashes with wind turbines, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A crop duster pilot killed last week may not have seen the weather tower that his plane clipped, causing him to crash on a remote island in the Delta, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board. ...He appears to have struck a 200-foot meteorological tower.
"The fact that these towers are narrow, unmarked, and grey in color makes for a structure that is nearly invisible under some atmospheric conditions," NTSB investigator Kristi Dunks wrote in the report.
Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter ...Job training programs intended for the clean economy have also failed to generate big numbers.