Library from California
A wind turbine on a ridge overlooking the Golden Acorn Casino exploded today, sparking several spot fires “If the wind had been coming from the northwest or west then my home, one of the closest homes to the turbines, would have definitely been in danger because we have brush on this side of the turbines and we would have had a major fire.”
“The committee finds that the amended project will also result in significant and unmitigable impacts to biological resources due to the risk of solar flux on avian species. The committee recommends denying the project amendment at this time, finding that the totality of the project impacts outweighs the totality of the project benefits.”
Some utility officials warn, however, that the only guarantee is that ratepayers will be spending a lot. The commission's goals, while laudable, "could cost up to $3 billion with uncertain net benefits for customers," Southern California Edison declared in a filing. But regulators are desperate to move past the status quo. Already, power grid operators in some states have had to dump energy produced by wind turbines on blustery days because regional power systems had no room for it. Officials at the California Independent System Operator, which manages the grid in California, say renewable energy producers are making the juggling act increasingly complex.
Even without San Gorgonio, the authors found mortality rates for monopole turbines in California leading the nation, averaging 108,715 per year, compared to 22,177 per year for the rest of the western states. Breaking it down to bird deaths per turbine, California is again the highest, with 7.85 per turbine ...If you want to put it in terms of megawatts, in California, we’re losing about 18.76 birds per megawatt of wind power produced.
Despite numerous calls for an increase in the transparent reporting of study results and availability of reports to the public and scientists, collision data largely remains confidential and/or offline. Furthermore, reports that have been released to the public (e.g. on the internet) are often difficult to locate. We join previous authors in calling for increased transparency in data reporting. Requiring industry reports to be made publicly available would greatly improve understanding of wind energy impacts to wildlife.
Tuesday, the Solano County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a 45-day moratorium on wind and solar projects in the unincorporated areas of the county in order to do more research and planning on potential impacts to operations at Travis Air Force Base and agriculture in the area.
County Supervisor Jim Spering on Monday supported having a moratorium on the large, green energy projects while the county does its studies. The county is concerned about preserving the base’s ability to operate. It has a responsibility to preserve the base’s mission, he said.
Though several other wind energy projects have applied for eagle take permits, Shiloh IV is in line to be the first project granted a programmatic eagle take permit. USFWS published a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the permit before the shutdown, and is now extending the public comment period to make up for the 16 day period during which that Draft EA wasn't accessible to the public.
“Our desert home is not really a home any longer, it is just a place to fight wind turbine syndrome, since the turbines crank out profits for huge investment companies and CEO's get big bonuses while the uninformed public is forced to subsidize and allow production tax credits for a wind industry that could care less about renewable energy. Profit is the name of the game here.”
On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to vote on a groundbreaking proposal that would require PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to collectively buy more than 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2020 -- roughly enough electricity to supply nearly 994,000 homes. The first-in-the-nation mandate is expected to spur innovation in emerging storage technologies.
"Suddenly, you look up and there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars going into investments that produce marginal benefits," said state Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), a member of the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. "You know the tale of Robin Hood? Well, this is robbing the 'hood," he said. "You are taking from poor people to give to rich people." ..."We are moving in the direction of spending $2.5 billion per year on energy efficiency and alternative-energy programs."
Several years of wind energy boom in the mountains east of Tehachapi and the desert around Mojave drew the ire of locals as hundreds of the massive machines were installed in stately rows along ridgelines and across the desert. One major complaint was the red lights shining from the top of the towers -- lights powerful enough, critics said, to drown out the stars.
It is challenging for Cal ISO to manage the big swings in solar and wind power due to intermittency. Solar power spikes when the sun rises in the morning and throughout the afternoon, but drops at night, while cloud cover and other variables can also affect it. California’s wind resources climb in the evening but fall in the morning, he said. Cal ISO has been increasingly forced to ramp up power — on Sept. 30, 2013, for example, it spiked power by 6,500 MW in a three-hour period. By 2020, the ramps will more than double to 13,500 MW, he predicted.
Invenergy is doing the noise study within its 134-turbine wind farm because some residents, who are not leasing their property to Invenergy, have complained that noise from the wind turbines is affecting their quality of life, disturbing their sleep at night and causing them health problems. And some of those residents have been attending monthly county board meetings since the spring, complaining about the turbines.
The report forecast that in 2020, the policy of "net metering" would cost $1.1 billion a year. It will shift about $359 million in costs a year from customers with solar panels to other ratepayers. Residential customers who have no solar panels would bear about $287 million of those costs.
The report, which will now go through a 45-day public comment period, analyzed four alternatives, including the possibility of denying the permit application. In addition to retrofitting the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power poles, Shiloh, which is an affiliate of EDF Renewable Development, has agreed to use audio or visual deterrence measures to scare away eagles, migratory birds and bats.
Those who opposed the work plan were residents of East County who say that renewable energy projects in the mountains and desert will harm their health and be eyesores to the residents of those communities. ..."What you’re doing here is wrong; you’re endangering our lives, not to mention our property value. It’s too close; it’s way too close. Please, have a little mercy.”
For a long time, the wind industry operated pretty much with impunity when it came to its impact on golden eagles and other birds. Those days could be coming to an end. ...with wind’s big expansion during the Obama presidency and under pressure from conservation groups, the Fish and Wildlife Service has been pressuring the wind industry to get permits to “take” eagles.
Starting in a couple of weeks, the hundreds of companies subject to California's strict curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions will have a new way to meet the regulations. They'll be able to buy "offset" credits generated by dairy farms and others who have managed to reduce their own carbon emissions.
A member of California's fastest-flying bird species was found mortally injured at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert two weeks ago, ReWire has learned. Found on the site still alive, the bird was shipped to a rehabilitation facility by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) but subsequently died of its injuries.