The East County Board of Zoning Adjustments' (BZA) 2-0 decision on March 24 approving Sand HIll Wind LLC's 12 new turbines to replace 433 old-style turbines has been appealed to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Darryl Mueller, who lives in the vicinity of the turbines, filed the appeal. The project would be located in three areas totaling 875 acres near Grant Line Road and Interstate 580. The item has been set tentatively for the supervisors' May 10 agenda.
The project is planned to produce up to 36 megawatts of power. The Sand Hill Wind LLC application represents a modification of an earlier stage of the application, which asked for 24 wind turbines. Dialogue between stakeholders such as East Bay Regional Park District and the Audubon Society brought about the 50 percent reduction.
Mueller opposed the project when the BZA approved it. He commented then that the search area for dead birds was too small for the new turbines. Turbines can be as tall as 495 feet, depending on the model selected by Sand Hill Wind LLC.
Mueller said that the smaller search area could harm the data that a scientific panel examines to see whether the siting and design of the turbines meets goals in reduction of bird deaths in the Altamont. Mueller contends that future bird deaths are estimated too low.
Another problem seen in computer simulations of the wind towers relates to the flickering light from the blade motion that will fall on some homes, said Mueller.