Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from California
State Senator Ben Hueso has taken heed of his constituents’ complaints about flashing red lights on wind turbines shining into people’s homes at night. In a February 10, 2014 letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Hueso wrote that flashing red lights on over 100 turbines, each taller than a 40 story building, are harmful to the health of Ocotillo residents.
The system produces power by reflecting line from more than 300,000 giant mirrors onto three water towers. The sunlight hitting the towers can create temperatures of up to 1,000F (530C), producing steam which then drives generator turbines. Yet this process also creates an extremely hot “thermal flux” around the tower. ...birds found on the site in November last year were likely killed by “scorching”.
“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.”
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.”
"[The green-energy companies] are going to get what they want, whether it's by hook or by crook," Tisdale says. "They're bullies. They know what they can get away with. They have the connections and know all the moves, and they use them all. They have the money to spread around. It's smooth as butter for them. I'm just a bump on the road."
The incident worries Pelley because he said it's not natural. He said the BLM is part of a 42-mile network of dirt roads carved into the desert near Ocotillo so that work vehicles can get to a massive wind turbine installation operated by Pattern Energy.
"We need a new model for the way public lands are managed that recognizes we can't keep trying to divide the pie up between exploitation and preservation." ...The move to increase solar permits "just shows the utter blindness that there is in the administration," said Blaeloch, of the Western Lands Project. "The 'all-of-the-above' approach-what kind of thing is that to say about what our energy policy is?" she said. "Let's be a little more discerning."
Rivaling the Sahara Desert in solar intensity, California's Mojave Desert is again attracting plans for industrial-scale solar and wind projects on pristine public land near Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve, two of the largest parks in the Lower 48 states. "It's just inappropriate to plunk down this giant industrial zone at that location."
San Diego County Supervisors are being sued over their May 15th approval of the technically and legally flawed Wind Energy Ordinance & Plan Amendment-that benefits wealthy industrial wind and solar developers, San Diego Gas & Electric, Sempra, and absentee land-owners at the expense of rural east county residents and valued resources.
The Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association and other groups argue that the fast-tracking of wind and solar energy plants will prevent local groups and residents from directing these projects to the least invasive locations.
Boulevard Planning Group chair Donna Tisdale did not mince words. "It's immoral, unethical and in my opinion, unlawful," she said. Tisdale and the others were in front of the County Administration Building on Monday calling attention to a vote that the county supervisors will cast on Wednesday.
This isn't the first time that reports have surfaced of workers at the Ocotillo Express Wind site failing to hew to the highest standards of professionalism. In February, Pattern's construction manager Russell Scott Graham was arrested by Imperial County Sheriffs deputies after allegedly assaulting and threatening Parke Ewing, a local opponent of the project.
By a 4-0 vote, with the remaining commissioners absent, the NAHC voted to grant requests by Viejas and Quechan tribes to declare the 12,400 acre Ocotillo wind project site a sanctified Native American sacred site. Further, the commissioners voted unanimously to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to research if legal action can be taken.
The California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) has declared the area surrounding the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility, located in Imperial Valley, Calif., as a sacred Native American site and is seeking assistance on enforcement options from the office of the California Attorney General.
Johnson Valley resident Betty Munson says the plan threatens "over 22 million acres of desert - from the Mexican border all the way up to Inyo County." Munson proposed an alternative: Limiting solar projects to areas already developed to prevent further industrialization of the High Desert.
New applications for projects keep arriving. Developers are flocking to flat farmland near power transmission lines, but agriculture interests, environmental groups and even the state are concerned that there is no official accounting of how much of this important agricultural region's farmland is being taken out of production.
Ocotillo's project also changed the hydrology of the desert to cause erosion and flooding. "Construction was an absolute nightmare," he added, citing dust storms, noise and floodlights all night long shining in his windows. When he complained, lights were directed at him even from places where no work was occurring, an action he suspects was malicious.
Iberdrola, developer of Tule Wind, successfully fought to remove significant protections in Boulevard's Community Plan during the County's General Plan Update--changes that made it easier to build massive energy projects. Supervisors approved those changes in August 2011, tossing out years of planning by Boulevard residents. Those changes appall the vast majority of those who live in this quiet rural community.
I now have bright red lights flashing in my face which I can also see inside my house which are very annoying and totally unacceptable." The shadow flicker has a disquieting impact as well, casting vast moving shadows as three blades on each turbine rotates.
A proposed wind turbine installation that would have covered more than 63,000 acres of the California desert on the eastern edge of Joshua Tree National Park has been canceled by the Bureau of Land Management, ReWire has learned.