Library from California
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.
Solano County has taken the first step toward what could be a two-year timeout on building commercial solar and wind energy projects, with the goal of preserving agriculture and Travis Air Force Base. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed a 45-day moratorium in rural areas for these large-scale projects that create electricity for utilities. It will consider extending the construction moratorium on Dec. 3 for another 10 months, and could ultimately extend the moratorium even longer.
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.”
A wind farm in eastern Shasta County was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 339 birds in the first two years after it started generating electricity, according to studies done at Hatchet Ridge.
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.
Just outside Vacaville sits a battery pack big enough to power more than 1,500 homes.
“We think it's really wise to take a precautionary approach,” said Dennis Rosatti, executive director of Sonoma County Conservation Action. The board agreed to revisit the issue in three to five years to determine whether the regulations need to be strengthened or relaxed based on the pace of actual green energy development.
The apparent uptick in Californian eagle deaths is cause for significant concern. For more than a decade after 1997, the year of the first records examined by the authors, verifiable eagle mortalities from Californian wind facilities other than Altamont stayed between zero and two annually, with a peak of three eagles confirmed killed in 2002. And then, in 2011, that number more than doubled with six confirmed deaths, and then four more in just the first half of 2012. ...Wyoming's eagle kills have shot up even more dramatically, with all 31 taking pace in the years since 2009 -- 24 in 2010 and 2011 alone.
A new dust storm, flooding and more white foam flowed through Ocotillo today, heightening residents' concerns about impacts of Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility on this desert community. At 4:40 p.m., a storm hit, sending massive amounts of dust into the air, this time coming directly from project access dirt roads created by Pattern Energy.