Library from Arizona
In Utah, state officials are fielding various combinations of energy proposals, a list that includes solar and geothermal installations and an energy storage project ...Scores of projects - some speculative, others well-funded and a few quirky - have surfaced with energy companies eager to take advantage of loan guarantees and tax breaks being promoted by President Barack Obama.
Navajo County Planning and Zoning officials have assured citizens that they would obtain additional information on a series of proposed wind and solar energy farms between Holbrook and Snowflake. Although much of that information is still forthcoming, Planner II Bill Fraley provided an update on what the county is doing to inform the public and help commissioners and supervisors make a decision on whether to issue special use permits for the project.
"People are distraught over something that's not even specified. It's not fair to the people, it's not fair to the watershed, it's just not fair to us and it's not appropriate," said Kathy Hemenway, who has been actively organizing citizens who live near the proposed energy farms. Another audience member noted, "We need a specific plan. We don't want to hear ‘maybes.' I don't think you should get any permits until we have specific site plans."
Environmental protection activists and proponents of the mining industry have collided over the U.S. Department of the Interior's recent decision to protect nearly one million acres of land near Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims ...Popovich said the demand for clean, carbon-neutral energy sources cannot be met without disturbing the environment and regulations should seek to minimize and remediate disturbances without banning them altogether. "A single wind turbine requires 4.7 tons of copper," Popovich said. "A typical hybrid vehicle on the road today needs about 100 pounds of lithium and other rare Earth metals to make its battery.
The Arizona Corporation Commission has a mandate in place requiring that at least 15 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources by the year 2025. But despite its intention to wean the state off fossil fuels, the move has drawn vocal criticism from free-market advocates such as the Goldwater Institute, which claims the mandate will cost utility customers billions over the next 15 years.
Wind developers are proposing to build the first major wind farm near Flagstaff on a cattle ranch about 22 miles southeast of the city. Foresight Wind Energy is proposing to install 130 to 330 large turbines on the Flying M Ranch east of Mormon Lake and tie into federally owned power lines. In all, the proposed project could cover 55 square miles.
The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project seeks to deliver wind-generated electricity to western area markets and load centers. The proposed parallel lines would run through federal, state and private lands. ...According to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management news release, SunZia's proposed route for the 460-mile lines would originate at a substation to be constructed in Socorro County or nearby Lincoln County.
Mohave County could see a cut in property tax and income tax revenue from renewable energy manufacturers looking to move into the area. On Monday, Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a legislative bill that would provide income and property tax incentives to businesses that manufacture items for renewable energy facilities, such as solar plants.
Salt River Project announced Friday that it was considering raising electricity rates 8.8 percent, opening the next chapter in a long string of rate hikes to hit Arizona consumers over the past decade. But it also offered a glimpse of the future, where more energy will come from cleaner, renewable sources - but will come at a premium. If approved, the increase could go into effect in October.
The Sunzia Group held a scoping meeting on Wednesday to discuss potential routes for its projected high-voltage power lines that may run through the Valley. Several representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, including Adrian Garcia, the project manager for the BLM, were present to answer questions about the effect the project would have on local lands.
A California utility said Friday that it is dropping plans to build a high-voltage transmission line across the Southwestern Arizona desert and is scaling back the project to only its California portion, at least for now. Southern California Edison said it's halting separate efforts to win approvals from Arizona and federal regulators. The project had been approved by California regulators but rejected initially by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Thirty big wind machines rising off a little-used highway between Holbrook and Heber are a curiosity for now in a state that lags its neighbors in alternative energy. But that soon will change. The 412-foot turbines, Arizona's first, will begin sending energy to Salt River Project customers later this year, and many more turbines are on the way.
The Mohave County supervisors will hold a special workshop Monday to discuss renewable energy projects in the county. ...The workshop comes on the heels of an announcement last week by Albiasa Corporation on plans to build a 200-megawatt solar power plant on 1,400 acres off Highway 93, about 40 miles south of Interstate 40.
The SunZia transmission line that would link sun and wind power from central New Mexico with cities in Arizona is just the sort of energy project an environmentalist could love -- or hate. And it is just the sort of line the Interior Department has been tasked with promoting -- or guarding against. If built, the 460-mile line would carry about 3,000 megawatts of power, enough to avoid the need for a handful of coal-fired plants and to help utilities meet mandated targets for use of renewable fuel.
Harnessing the sun and the winds will be looked at Monday by the Mohave County Supervisors. The supervisors will look to hold a special workshop in the coming months dealing with renewable energy projects in Mohave County. No workshop has been scheduled, but, upon recommendation of the county planning and zoning board, one is highly likely.
A Flagstaff company that makes small wind turbines for homes, commercial buildings and even sailboats has laid off more than 10 percent of its staff because of the slowing economy. Southwest Windpower laid off 14 workers at its Flagstaff manufacturing plant on Friday.
Renewable energy companies are putting more emphasis on developing public land for utility-scale projects, and both the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Arizona State Land Department are seeing an uptick in the number of applications. BLM officials are planning to open four offices in the West, including one in Phoenix, to handle the growing demand for renewable energy projects - particularly solar and wind developments.
If they could demonstrate there was a desire for renewables here, perhaps Arizona Public Service would sign a contract with an entrepreneur to start a solar, wind or biomass energy project in northern Arizona and create new jobs here, they reasoned. That didn't happen -- APS spent that money on renewable power elsewhere. But backers aren't dismayed and say they will continue the project this coming year.
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management authorized the establishment of special offices in Wyoming and other Western states to expedite that renewable energy development on federal public lands. BLM officials said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a Secretarial Order on Friday that will allow the agency to establish coordination offices in Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada.
A San Diego company that owns Southern California utilities is considering building a wind energy park on the western Navajo Nation, near Cameron, and has been in talks with chapter officials there. Sempra Energy has five wind-testing meters installed on Gray Mountain, to study the wind there. "Gray Mountain is a particularly good site and has some of the best wind resources in Arizona," said company spokesman Hanan Eisenman.