Library from Arizona
The Goldwater Institute took a fourth stab Tuesday at striking down rules in Arizona that force utilities to use renewable energy such as solar power. The institute's lawyer, Clint Bolick, argued in the Arizona Court of Appeals that the rules passed in 2006 by the Corporation Commission exceed the authority of those five elected officials who oversee utilities such as Arizona Public Service Co.
The Chevelon Alliance, headed by Tom Lahman, claims that wind generation funded by the government is set to create another "economic bubble." According to Lahman, developers build the farms for the government funds that flow to the projects. "The only reason that industrial wind farms exist today is the tax write-offs, subsidies and green mandates."
Winners of the race for the Arizona Corporation Commission will help shape energy policy in the state for years to come, as the state looks to boost solar and other renewable energy sources while planning to meet future demand.
Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources is asking Coconino County officials for permission to install wind-measuring towers on ranch lands north of the San Francisco Peaks, and west and southwest of Valle that span hundreds of thousands of acres.
Carcasses of eagles and other raptors are a common sight at wind farms across the country. According to a California Energy Commission study, over 1,000 birds of prey are killed every year by turbines at one wind farm, the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area near San Francisco. To address this problem, the Arizona Game and Fish Department recently issued guidelines for developers planning wind farms and solar facilities.
"There's going to be an impact [on wildlife] no matter what," Bahr said. "But the new guidelines are a good place to start discussions on what can be done in the long term." Representatives of APS and SRP, Arizona's two largest utilities providers, were unaware of the new guidelines.
The ordinance would cover a variety of industrial energy generation projects including solar power, biomass and geothermal facilities but the main focus at the work session on July 27 dealt with wind power. Most of the discussion was even more narrow in scope, dealing with noise levels and setbacks of wind farms.
NextEra Energy Resources is planning 62 wind turbines for the high desert south of Grand Canyon to be built by 2012, making enough power for about 25,000 homes at once when the wind is blowing. The company is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc., which also owns Florida Power and Light.
A new wind farm could be under construction soon, after Navajo County supervisors approved 4-1 a resolution for a special use permit for Iberdrola's Dry Lake II project. Although the request for the resolution came with a recommendation for approval from the planning and zoning commission, the matter, discussed at the supervisors' Tuesday meeting, was not passed quickly.
If a public-input session held last week is any indication, power transmission lines are not welcome neighbors, even if the electricity they carry is generated by renewable resources. ..."My general feeling is the Avra Valley is the dumping ground for anything that anybody else doesn't want in their backyard," he said.
Development of the second phase of the Dry Lake Wind Farm received a nod of approval from the Na-vajo County Planning and Zoning Commission last Thursday night as members unanimously approved a special use permit for the project. Final approval of the permit now rests with the county board of supervisors.
A request for special use permits for the second phase of the Dry Lake Wind Farm will go before the Navajo County Planning and Zoning Commission at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, in the board of supervisors chambers at the county complex in Holbrook. The permit request is for both meteorological testing towers and wind turbines.
Ignoring threats by a company to pack up and leave, a House panel voted late Tuesday to overturn the renewable energy mandate on utilities by the Arizona Corporation Commission. HB2701 strips utility regulators of their authority to impose such requirements. In its place, it puts in a different mandate, this one crafted by Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale.
While they are in favor of the concept of renewable energy, members of the Cascabel Working Group (CWG) are opposed to the construction of a 460-mile, high-voltage power line across the middle San Pedro River. An estimated 100 people attended an informal meeting in Cascabel last week, where they told members of the Southwest Transmission Group that building power lines across the San Pedro would damage one of the world's only free-running rivers.
NACEL Energy, a wind power company, has announced it has submitted a formal request for interconnection to Arizona Public Service (APS) for the company's Snowflake wind power project. In an Internet document released Dec. 29, NACEL stated it had delivered engineering drawings and other technical documentation, including wind turbine selection and a proposed date for beginning operation.
The Navajo Nation has announced plans to break ground on a $200 million wind farm late in 2010 on ranch lands about 80 miles west of Flagstaff. If built, it would be the second large-scale wind farm in northern Arizona ...The Navajo Nation, Foresight Wind Energy and Edison Mission Energy propose to build a 48-turbine array by December 2011, and to sell the electricity produced from the wind farm in Arizona.
BP Wind Energy held three public meetings last week with the Bureau of Land Management to inform the public about its plans for a 500-megawatt wind farm near White Hills. ...[BP Wind Energy Business Development Director Daniel Runyan] agreed that there would be some noise while the turbines were operating, and the turbines could kill some birds and bats, but they would likely have no effect on large game animals, such as deer. BP and BLM are still working on wildlife studies.
Noise, property values and the visual impact on the desert landscape were several issues brought up Wednesday night concerning a proposed wind turbine project in Mohave County. BP Wind Energy of North America is seeking public comments for an environmental impact statement for the project. BP Wind Energy proposes to erect 335 wind turbine generators along with roads, power lines and substations.
A power transmission line that could be the first in the United States to transport renewable energy might pass through Las Cruces and White Sands Missile Range, according to preliminary plans of the SunZia Transmission Project. A public scoping meeting was conducted Monday at Court Youth Center to provide interested residents with information about the project. Plans call for wind energy generated in east-central New Mexico, near Clovis, to be transported 460 to 560 miles to a substation in south-central Arizona.
Residents of Snowflake need to educate themselves about the various aspects of wind and solar farms, including pluses and minuses. In his report to the Snowflake councilors at their Sept. 22 meeting, Town Manager Paul Watson brought that issue to their attention. "I'd like to talk about economic development, most especially wind and solar farms," he said. ..."Gary Gumbel, a local resident, is concerned about the issue and is trying to get a letter out to people in the area. I have similar concerns about some of the sentiments he relayed. I'm not saying no, but we need to be made aware of what is proposed as well as the economic advantages and disadvantages."