A Portland, Oregon, firm has filed an application to build up to 100 wind turbines — more than twice as many as Hatchet Ridge — in eastern Shasta County.
The turbines would be located north and south of Highway 299 and west of the Hatchet Ridge wind energy project completed in 2010.
The turbines proposed by Pacific Wind Development could also dwarf the 418-foot-tall turbines on Hatchet Ridge, where there are 44 turbines.
While turbine heights haven’t been decided, the firm’s application says they could be up to 591 feet tall, nearly as high as the 602-foot Shasta Dam.
William Carlson said he can see the Hatchett Ridge turbines from his home north of Redding. Having another set of turbines built closer to where he lives would be worse.
“I think the closer it gets to Redding, the more objectionable it is,” Carlson said.
The massive project would be built on 37,436 acres leased from Oxbow Timber I LLC. When operating at capacity, the turbines could produce up to 347 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 260,000 homes, according to a formula from the Lawrence Livermore Labs.
At buildout, the Fountain Wind Project would have about 12 full-time employees, according to a report submitted with an application to the Shasta County Planning Department.
Pacific Wind Development set up monitoring towers several years ago to test whether the area east of Montgomery Creek was suitable for further wind development.
Scott Kringen, the project developer, said the company is in the early stages of development and will need to go through approval through several local, state and federal agencies.
Shasta County planning officials said the project will likely have to go through a thorough environmental analysis.
“Again, it’s very early, and we have lots of work to do, but we think we have a great wind farm site here that can create jobs and deliver a new source of clean energy for Californians,” Kringen said.
But Carlson said he didn’t believe the benefit of clean energy was worth the cost of ruining the view in a county heavily dependent on tourists who visit the area to enjoy the outdoors.
“For the environmental benefits you get, it’s too steep of a price to pay for the (loss of ) aesthetics,” he said.
The application report says views of the turbines are expected because of their height and exposed locations.
“In addition to the size, form and color of the turbines, another source of visual contrast from the operation of the project would be the introduction of motion into a static landscape,” the report says.
Carolyn Adams of Burney said she initially opposed the Hatchet Ridge wind turbines, which can be seen from her home. But over the years she has grown used to seeing the turbine blades turning on the hilltop west of Burney.
Jim Wiegand of Redding said he thinks the wind turbines will be bad for birds because they will be killed by the turbine blades.
“I’m real sad to hear this,” Wiegand said after hearing the news about the proposed wind development. “These turbines slaughter everything. It’s really sad.”
Kringen said the company will work to minimize impacts on birds.
“Wind farms can have an impact on birds, which is why we collaboratively work with stakeholders, scientists and reputable avian organizations to minimize those impacts and find a sustainable path forward,” he said.