Library from California
For years developers have tried to figure out how to repurpose Kaiser Steel’s former open-pit iron mine at Eagle Mountain in Riverside County. One idea: Use it as a massive landfill, a proposal that fortunately never came to fruition. The current owners of the site now want to convert it into an immense, $2.5-billion hydroelectric battery, using daytime power to pump water from a lower-elevation pit to a pit 1,400 feet farther up the mountain, then running the water downhill at night through turbines to create energy.
With the deadline to comment on the draft environmental impact report fast approaching, debate over a proposed wind farm on a ridgeline to the south of the Eel River Valley is heating up.
Before Humboldt County begins investing in offshore wind energy, local conservationists and fishermen say more research needs to be done to assess the projects’ local impacts. That was the consensus today at a meeting of the state Senate’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, hosted by committee chairman North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center in Eureka.
“While we support it in concept, we remain keenly aware that, as related to our waters, the technology is still largely unproven and untested." Some of the major concerns from environmental groups consisted of turbines affecting bird migration patterns, electromagnetic fields, underwater noises and vibrations affecting orientation and navigational abilities of marine mammals and the turbine cables that float potentially leading to whale entanglements.
Central Valley lawmakers have long argued that large hydropower projects should count toward California’s renewable energy goals. From their perspective, excluding existing hydropower facilities forces utilities to buy additional solar and wind energy, raising energy costs for ratepayers in one of the poorest parts of the state.
At 586 feet tall, the turbines would dwarf the tallest buildings in Downtown San Diego. One America Plaza stands at 500 feet tall, the Symphony Tower is 499 feet tall and the Manchester Grand Hyatt is 497 feet tall. The SeaWorld Tower is 320 feet tall. The view isn’t the only issue. Donna Tisdale, who is the president of the Boulevard Planning Group and also the activist group Backcountry Against Dumps says the windmills can cause health problems for people who live nearby.
The price of our leaders’ green virtue will fall particularly hard on working-class Californians who already suffer the nation’s highest rate of people living in poverty. They also tend to live in less-temperate geographies such as the Inland Empire, the high desert and the Central Valley. Expect the recent moves to expand the ranks of the million Californians who suffer from “energy poverty,” defined as spending 10 percent or more of their household income on energy-related expenses.
The dream of Morro Bay as a new hub of offshore renewable energy production in California could be over before it even gets its sea legs — or it could just be ramping up. ...State and San Luis Obispo County leaders say they’ve been informed the Navy will likely recommend against building potential wind farms off the coast of Morro Bay and Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, something that could effectively sink hopes for the North Coast to be a new hub of renewable energy.
California's largest county has banned the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land, bending to the will of residents who say they don’t want renewable energy projects industrializing their rural desert communities northeast of Los Angeles.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to ban “utility-oriented renewable energy” in fourteen communities and in “rural living zoning districts” throughout the county. What the board has designated as “community-oriented renewable energy” (CORE), will be allowed.
San Bernadino County in California adopted this resolution banning large-scale renewable energy projects. The full resolution and presentation slides explaining the change in policy can be downloaded from this page. Minutes from a May 28, 2018 special meetiing of the supervisors is also available from this page. Below is an excerpt of the resolution. Other supporting documentation leading up to adoption of the resolution can be accessed at the link on this page.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week reasserted jurisdiction over power contracts held by California utility Pacific Gas and Electric ...PG&E last month asked a federal bankruptcy court to prevent FERC from enforcing the terms of more than 380 power purchase agreements (PPAs) that it may want to exit as part of a Chapter 11 proceeding. FERC argued Friday it must separately win approval from the agency to alter the contract terms.
In its bankruptcy filing, PG&E claims some of the credit for helping renewable energy come of age, saying its contracts “contributed to significant price reductions for renewable energy resources currently available in the market.” But PG&E is still paying out those contracts, which can last 15 to 20 years. The bankruptcy judge could potentially seek to change their terms or prices.
PG&E wants the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco to rule whether the company must honor $42 billion worth of contracts with about 350 different energy suppliers, mostly solar and wind plants. The court’s decision could have a major impact on California’s renewable energy industry and power makeup.
In this court filing, utility-giant PG&E asks the court for an injunction against efforts by FERC to assert jurisdiction over the power contracts (PPAs) held by PG&E. Court documents show PG&E is bound by 387 PPAs with more than 350 companies totaling about $42 billion. The generators whose energy is under contract are at risk if PG&E is allowed to exit the agreements. A portion of PG&E's filing is provided below. The full document can be accessed at the links on this page.
A giant wind farm proposed for more than 35,000 acres in eastern Shasta County will be the topic of a public meeting Thursday in Montgomery Creek.
"...PG&E is involved in a number of contracts with power purchase agreement suppliers. Some of these agreements have above market terms and are pretty expensive for the company. ...PG&E may seek to reject or renegotiate some of its more expensive PPAs. The rub there is, who has jurisdiction? Can the court allow PG&E to cancel these, or do they have to go to FERC?" said Foss, noting there is case law supporting both sides.
This important research examines the methods for quantifying population-level effects of human activity on raptor mortality. The study was conducted on raptors in California. Despite efforts to protect eagles, many lethal agents remain. According to the report, "prominent among them are electrocution, pesticide exposure, wire collisions, vehicular strikes, lead poisoning, and now, wind turbine blade-strikes." The abstract and conclusion of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed at the document links on this page.
Gleaning energy from ocean wind would seem to be a California ideal: It emits no greenhouse gases, has nearly no environmental footprint, and harnesses one of the state’s most powerful and plentiful natural resources. But engineering challenges, regulatory hurdles and concerns about the turbines’ impact on wildlife have, until recently, mucked any forward progress.