Library from California
Asked how a crack in a blade on the windmill could cause the main tower to collapse, as occurred on Sept. 16, Matt Dallas, a spokesman for wind farm parent firm Pattern Energy, explained Tuesday, “The crack propagated over time, causing the blade to detach, which in turn led to the turbine collapse.” After the incident, the federal Bureau of Land Management ordered the facility’s 112 windmills shut down while Pattern investigated the cause and developed a plan to prevent further such incidents.
A number of public speakers at an offshore wind energy impact analysis scoping meeting said a full environmental impact statement should be prepared before the federal government leases tracts in an area northwest of Morro Bay. But officials with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said a full EIS can’t be conducted on the effects of wind turbine installation and operation in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area until leaseholders propose specific projects that can be analyzed.
Many, like Cheri Hafer, are concerned the area will prohibit commercial fishing. “One of our biggest enemies right now is industrialization of the ocean," Hafer said. "Not just to fishermen, but to the marine habitat.” Larry Thevik, a dungeness crab fisherman, said many fishermen feel like their concerns aren’t being heard and that the impact it may have on the commercial fishing industry isn’t being thoroughly considered.
The settlement agreement states, “Enforcement found that Cameron Ridge formulated, documented, and implemented a plan to reduce the output of the resource during periods of negative prices,” thus pocketing unjust profits. Moreover, Terra-Gen “falsely represented that more than fifty percent of Cameron Ridge was comprised of technology that was physically unable to curtail output” yet did just that to cut output n response to market pricing.
“Fifteen years ago, Alameda County and the wind companies settled a lawsuit with the Audubon chapters and committed to reduce bird deaths by 50% by 2009. With the approval of this project, the County is putting the Altamont Pass back on pace to kill as many Golden Eagles as it did 15 years ago,” said Glenn Phillips, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
BOEM decided to not include the east extension in its official area designation “based on the stakeholder identification of various resource conditions or use conflicts, primarily including tribal concerns and potential commercial fishing, avian and visual impacts,” according to a 41-page memo detailing the agency’s decision released on Friday.
Another marathon meeting brought the same result.
After more than 10 hours of public comments, Shasta County supervisors voted 4-1 to deny an appeal by a company that wants to build a controversial wind farm in the Intermountain area just west of Burney. Tuesday night’s denial upholds the June 22 unanimous decision by the Shasta County Planning Commission to reject the use permit for the Fountain Wind project. Commissioners heard nearly 10 hours of public testimony before their vote.
California’s switch to a primarily solar and wind-powered grid is a dead end The leaders of California and China have at least one thing in common: fear of blackouts. In late September, following widespread and economically debilitating losses of power, China’s vice premier Han Zheng ordered the country’s energy companies to ensure sufficient supplies before winter “at all costs” and added, ominously, that blackouts “won’t be tolerated.” A month earlier, California governor Gavin Newsom issued emergency orders to procure more natural gas-fired electrical capacity to avoid blackouts. And in a possible sign of more such moves to come, earlier in the summer, California’s electric grid operator “stole” electricity that Arizona utilities had purchased and that was in transit from Oregon.
The notice stated BLM was issuing it “based on its concern for the public health and safety of users of BLM-administered public lands. The (wind farm) is situated on BLM-administered public lands that are readily accessible and frequented by recreationists.” The notice also states the conditions Pattern must meet to resume operations and that the company had informed BLM it is investigating the collapse’s cause.
Though touted as more “wildlife friendly” than their windmill ancestors, the new turbines aren’t allaying the concerns of naturalists who have long been concerned about the area’s bird population. The spinning blades still are projected to kill dozens of birds each year, including golden eagles. The Altamont Pass area is a critical breeding and wintering habitat for the eagles, said Glenn Phillips, director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. ...Phillips said the larger, slower-spinning blades on newer turbines haven’t significantly slowed the bird deaths, however. He said bird kills appear to be more closely tied to the amount of energy being produced, the amount of air that’s “swept” by the blades, and how long they run.
The federal Bureau of Land Management confirmed it ordered the halt of operations at the Ocotillo Wind facility following Sept. 16's collapse of a 300-foot wind turbine.
“All turbines at the facility have been shut down pending completion of the root cause analysis. Siemens Gamesa is the turbine manufacturer and is leading the investigation into the root cause,” Siemens spokesperson Myca Welch stated in an email Thursday afternoon. Welch did not immediately provide information on when the facility was taken offline or a timeline on when it might resume operation.
Offshore wind is no longer a distant possibility in California.
ConnectGen LLC marketed the changes in a half-page advertisement in Tuesday’s Record Searchlight, calling the revisions “Substantially Reduced Impact & Visibility.” The company says it has reduced the number of wind turbines from 72 to 48, which has cut the overall footprint of the project by more than 33%. ConnectGen also proposes to decrease the height of the turbines by 10%, from 679 feet to about 610 feet.
Two of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, along with several other energy companies, have expressed interest in pursuing a lease to develop an offshore wind energy farm off the Central Coast. A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell — Shell Renewables and Energy Solutions LLC — and bp America Inc. both wrote to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to express eagerness about the proposed floating offshore wind farm in the Morro Bay call area west of Cambria and San Simeon.
Another of the 112 Siemens turbines at the Ocotillo Wind Energy facility in California has been destroyed. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the failure.
Residents in Ocotillo are voicing concerns after yet another wind turbine collapse at the Ocotillo Wind Energy facility. There were no injuries or damage to other structures when the 300-foot-tall turbine crashed to the desert floor at the trouble-prone facility on Thursday, September 16. But residents are raising serious questions over public safety at the site, which produces energy to SDG&E to power the San Diego region.
Another major problem has struck at a pioneering big battery project, this time at the 400MW/1600MWh Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in California, south of San Francisco, which was recently expanded to become the world’s largest of its kind. The owner and operator of the big battery, Vistra Corp, says an investigation is underway into an “overheating incident” at the Moss Landing facility, which did not result in a fire, but has taken the 300MW, four hour storage first phase of the project out of service.
Rejected by the Shasta County Planning Commission after a public hearing in June, the controversial Fountain Wind project planned for the Intermountain area is now getting a second look by the company that wants to build it. But the founder of a citizen's group that opposes the wind farm said there is no scenario that would get members to change their mind.