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County supervisors today are scheduled to consider changes that tighten noise and size restrictions for small wind-energy installations. "We want to have some local control and not just rely on what the state thinks is appropriate for the county," said Noel Langle, a Santa Barbara County senior planner who is working on the amendments.
San Francisco may encourage wind and solar energy use equally, but the number of solar panel installations has doubled to more than 2,000 since a citywide incentive was drawn up 2 1/2 years ago. Meanwhile, the number of wind turbines remains in the single digits.
Included in the ordinance's environmental protections are requirements to conduct "biological and special-status plant" studies before construction of the energy system, as well as limitations of the system's height and noise emitted. For parcels between two and five acres, towers cannot exceed 50 feet.
San Bernardino County supervisors approved new height limits for wind turbines Tuesday despite protests from industry advocates who called the rules too restrictive. The limits were adopted as part of a group of land use code changes, including those affecting renewable energy projects. The ordinance reduces the maximum height for wind turbines from 120 feet to 100 feet for parcels larger than 5 acres.
Currently there is no municipal law governing noise in Crescent City, but over the past several months, as the Planning Commission has attempted to draft an ordinance for small wind energy systems, it was apparent that rules for noise were needed.
The regulatory agency has told a Santa Cruz County couple that a wind turbine planned for their new home in the Pleasure Point neighborhood is too tall. Suggesting it would add to the area's "visual clutter," the commission recommends the residents lower their proposed 35-foot-high, electricity-generating windmill, an idea the home's architect says is simply unworkable.
Despite the hoopla over renewable energy - media chatter, government rebates, neighbors who "go green" - the nuts and bolts of installing more Earth-friendly power sources often get stuck. San Diego County, for example, is wrestling with how to handle applications for using residential wind turbines. Critics say the approval process is confusing and drawn-out enough to discourage investment in green power, just as companies are moving to fill the home-windmill niche.
The Tehama County Planning Commission Thursday approved a use permit for a series of 330-foot meteorological test towers outside Mineral. With use permits issued for as many as five towers to test the feasibility of installing wind turbines, Padoma Windpower has been granted the authority to build and keep the towers on Sierra Pacific land for as many as 36 months.
A Crescent City wind ordinance seems to be as elusive as the breeze a turbine tries to catch. More than a year after the Planning Commission decided to write a new law that would allow small wind energy systems within city limits, the board delayed taking a final vote on the proposed guidelines to allow more time for revisions. "They have some lingering concerns about setbacks and noise," Crescent City Planner Michele Rambo said.
The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission denied a Lompoc resident's attempt to waylay an alternative energy project Wednesday, but approved the first step for a senior housing development in Old Town Orcutt. The commission unanimously denied an appeal that took issue with temporary meteorological towers that are part of a renewable wind-energy project southwest of Lompoc.
The City Council is trying to craft rules for electricity-generating wind energy systems that won't divide the city's residents into warring camps of "wind energy advocates" and NIMNBYs: "Not in my neighbor's back yard." So far, it's been tough to find a happy medium.
The Temecula City Council wants to take a closer look at a wind energy ordinance and another proposed ordinance that would offer protection for the city's heritage trees. During Tuesday's meeting, the council postponed a hearing on the heritage tree ordinance until its next meeting in mid-July and voted 3-0 to create a subcommittee to look more closely at the proposed regulations on the harnessing of wind energy.
San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to streamline the process for meteorological equipment testing for wind energy turbines while directing county staff to return to the board with an analysis on developing a two-tiered ordinance, which separated domestic and commercial systems. On May 12 the supervisors established $350,000 of funding to prepare an Environmental Impact Report.
Prompted by a determined resident who erected a wind turbine in violation of city code, Rancho Palos Verdes officials are contemplating a change in their policy on "small wind" systems. But it won't happen anytime soon. The City Council on Tuesday decided to put off consideration of the issue until it becomes clear what will happen with related state legislation.
The 35-foot-tall Skystream 3.7 - a small wind turbine marketed for residential use - overlooks Palos Verdes Drive East from Ramirez's fruit tree-filled backyard. Neighbors and passers-by have been calling Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall to ask about the electricity-producing turbine since it began spinning last month. The inquiries led to a code violation letter from municipal staff to Ramirez, who put up the turbine to power his home without seeking city permission.
A "wind farm" that would take advantage of the gusts that have been blowing through the Central Coast at 30 to 50 mph is moving right along despite a lawsuit filed against the county's approval of the project. Construction won't begin for at least a year, but in the meantime officials of the developer say they are working to meet all the requirements imposed by the county with the intention of protecting the environment surrounding the "clean energy" project.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously February 25 to streamline the permit process for meteorological equipment testing (MET) facilities. "It's always a balance," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "The Administrative Permit process still allows a public review process. Specific conditions have to be met."
So after all back and forth over the last two years about whether the wind turbines should be built on Hatchet Mountain, we hear in the Inter Mountain News that the developers are not returning calls and the project may be "delayed" due to financing problems. ...The county should make them post at least a $10 million bond to insure that if a similar financial failure strikes, guaranteed funds will be available to remove these massive turbines and restore Hatchet Mountain to its former beauty.
Environmentalists, renewable energy developers, and regulatory officials on Tuesday hammered out ways to build solar, wind and geothermal projects in the Mojave Desert and still preserve the ecosystem. "It will be a challenge to strike that balance... but it can be done," said Kevin Hunting, of the state Department of Fish and Game.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to make it easier for energy firms to test for suitability for wind turbines in rural areas. ...