Articles filed under General from California

New windmills in California fuel global warming fight

California's latest source of clean energy started spinning slowly in the wind above the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta last spring........ The Shiloh Wind Power Plant, which was unveiled to reporters and utility executives this week, represents a new generation of technology for wind power. Each of its turbines can generate the same amount of electricity as 15 older windmills, some of which still dot the same grassy hills....... It is one of the first wind farms to begin operations since California began ordering the state's utilities to use more renewable energy in 2002. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. buys half of Shiloh's electricity. The rest goes to Palo Alto's municipal utility and the Modesto Irrigation District....... The project also demonstrates some of wind power's limitations. It is spread across 6,800 acres, vastly more than a traditional power plant would require. At roughly $220 million, it also cost more to build than a plant burning natural gas or coal.
16 Nov 2006

Investing in clean energy

“There's legitimate debate about a couple of segments,” says Keith Raab, boss of Cleantech Venture Network. In some instances, valuations accorded to firms with no profits—and little chance of making any soon—were reminiscent of the excesses of the dotcom bubble. As Douglas Lloyd, of Venture Business Research, puts it, “There's too much money chasing too few opportunities. How is it possible that this many solar companies are going to succeed? They're not.”
16 Nov 2006

City may renew coal deal-Environmentalists shun contract extension

Despite promoting its green endeavors, Pasadena's dirty secret is that two-thirds of its power comes from coal, a fossil fuel and leading contributor to greenhouse gases. "It's the cheapest of the fuels available for us," said Phyllis Currie, general manager of Pasadena Water and Power. And although PWP is working to increase its portfolio of renewable energy sources, Currie said, the technologies needed to wean consumers are not there yet. Like it or not, coal is an essential part of the energy supply, in part because of its low cost of about 4 cents per kilowatt hour, according to IPA General Manager Reed Searle, compared to 6 cents for natural gas and 6.5 cents for wind power.
10 Nov 2006

Windmills of Altamont have their breath taken away

The wind still blows. But thieves are ripping off its harnesses. Over the past six months burglars have repeatedly trespassed onto the Altamont wind farm, where they have cut and stolen copper cables used to operate thousands of windmills. The thievery has become so prevalent that Alameda County Sheriff’s Department deputies conducted an early-morning sting Sept. 1 and took two men into custody before the officers even launched their helicopters.
30 Oct 2006

Prop. 87 not the right road toward alternative energy

The temptation for Silicon Valley voters would be to ignore the intricacies of the proposition and simply decide a ``yes'' vote would send a message to oil companies and to the world that California intends to lead the way in developing alternative energy sources. That would be a mistake. We strongly support the concept of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs helping California research and develop technological breakthroughs that will eliminate our foolhardy reliance on Middle East oil. But two fundamental flaws in Proposition 87 force us to recommend a ``no'' vote.
30 Oct 2006

Wind's up for energy industry

A hard wind is blowing - and it's kicking up a lot of energy. In fact, the U.S. wind energy industry is on track to install a record 2,750 megawatts of generating capacity this year. That will produce about as much electricity as is used by the entire state of Rhode Island and help strengthen energy security, according to the American Wind Energy Association, which released its third-quarter market report this week.
29 Oct 2006

Kern County wind industry to expand

Forests of turbines march up the foothills west of Mojave into the Tehachapi Mountains, turbines that take Valley winds and turn them into electricity. The power produced by these wind farms and their planned expansion is the basis for Southern California Edison’s proposed Antelope Transmission Line. The high-voltage electric transmission line will deliver this electricity for use elsewhere in Southern California. The proposed transmission line will help Edison meet the state-legislated requirement of 20% of its electrical power created by renewable sources and will allow for further expansion of the wind industry in eastern Kern County.
27 Oct 2006

Power, blowing in the wind

Wind turbines on the Alta-Mesa hill near Whitewater They're elegant, swooping testaments to the promise of clean energy. They're noisy, clanking blights on a once-pristine desert landscape. Opinions on the thousands of power-producing wind turbines spinning in the San Gorgonio pass are as varied as, well, the wind. But one thing is certain. Californians' growing appetite for electricity means more demand for juice from dozens of newer, bigger windmills on the way - whether the people who live beneath them like it or not.
24 Oct 2006

California to vote on new oil tax

Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley tycoons and energy companies are waging a multi-million dollar campaign battle over plans for a Californian oil tax. They are fighting over Proposition 87, which proposes raising $4bn (£2.1bn) to fund alternative energy projects by taxing oil production in California....... Backers of the proposition claim it will fund a $4bn programme aimed at reducing the state's petrol consumption by 25%, promoting wind, solar and bio fuel energy alternatives and reducing air pollution. Its critics say the tax will drive up petrol prices, increase California's reliance on foreign oil and create an unaccountable bureaucracy to spend the proceeds.
20 Oct 2006

Environmental group considers appeal of wind farm ruling

An environmental group said today that it’s considering appealing a judge’s dismissal of its lawsuit alleging that wind-farm operators in the Livermore area violate state law by killing migratory birds. In a decision issued last week, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw said windmill operators aren’t violating the state’s unfair competition law because the Center for Biological Diversity didn’t lose property or money. The center, which filed its suit in 2004, had claimed that the birds are part of the public trust and therefore are the property of the public.
18 Oct 2006

Judge dismisses windmill lawsuit

An Alameda County Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against wind-farm operators in the Altamont Pass that claimed windmill operators had violated state law by killing migratory birds in the area. Judge Bonnie Sabraw ruled Thursday the operators were not in violation of the states unfair competition law because the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the suit in 2004, did not lose property or money. The center had claimed the birds were part of the public trust and therefore wildlife property of the public.
17 Oct 2006

Wind power isn't reliable enough to satisfy electricity needs

California's power shortage confirms that all of the hoopla over wind energy's credentials as a clean and renewable source of electricity is undercut by the reality of its unreliability. During an extremely hot week in August, when air conditioners were cranked up and the state was on the brink of rolling blackouts, how much help did the state get from its beloved 2,500 megawatts of wind power? Only 4 percent of its capacity, according to the California Independent System Operator, which is responsible for the state's electricity grid. Southern California Edison's 2,200 megawatts of wind capacity generated only 45 megawatts. In other words, wind energy works great — except when you need air conditioning.
13 Oct 2006

Six-month program to monitor Altamont Pass bird deaths OK’d

Alameda County supervisors approved the initial phase of a monitoring system that will study the impact the Altamont windmills have on scores of birds — including golden eagles, red tail hawks, burrowing owls and other protected species. The board unanimously approved the $610,000, six-month program after hesitating in July to support a $3 million, three-year plan to monitor bird deaths in the Altamont. At that July meeting, supervisors agreed to cap the program — to be paid for by the turbine operators in the Altamont — at $2 million, saying costs for the monitoring had spiraled out of control. The monitoring program will be a collaborative operation of UC Santa Cruz, WEST Inc. and Jones & Stokes, the top three bidders for the project. The group will monitor avian deaths at the 5,400 windmills east of Livermore.
6 Oct 2006

Marginal Utility

ON the way there from L.A., you first pass through the wind farms in the mountain pass and the creepy rows of wind turbines that render the landscape alien and forboding. Harvesting wind energy seems a good idea, but still, the hills seems to have been colonized by some relentlessly churning alien life-form—I felt like I understood the concept of visual pollution at a visceral level. The whirring blades are mesmerizing, in a bad way. They create a delirium of planes and angles shifting and changing in a lulling rhythm, making it impossible to see anything else. It’s a wonder there aren’t more accidents on that winding downhill stretch of the freeway, where it seems like the average traveling speed is around 85 miles per hour.
4 Oct 2006
back to top