Library from California
Building and maintaining solar and wind power projects can be hazardous, and industry watchdogs worry that the push for more green energy places more workers and bystanders in harm's way.
This letter prepared by Michael Picker, Senior Advisor to the Governor of California for renewable energy facilities, to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council explains that the State of California appears to have met its 33% RPS requirement for 2020. Excerpts of the letter are provided below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
Some, including economist Christopher Thornberg, figure there's some wiggle room in defining exactly what a green job is. "Who the hell knows what they classify as a green job?" Thornberg said. "That's what it boils down to. There are very few jobs you could say are truly green - maybe a solar-panel installer ... but who else?"
"The wind industry's central tenet now is that bigger is better," said John O. Dabiri, an aeronautics professor who runs Caltech's Center for Bioinspired Engineering. "It certainly goes against conventional wisdom, but we're taking the opposite perspective."
Officials at BLM , which permits renewable energy development on public lands, said the project is in the testing phase only. An environmental review and public comment were not required because the company said placement of the masts by helicopter would not cause significant disturbance to the land.
"DyoCore actions have negatively impacted legitimate competition under this program, since other providers of small wind systems are unable to compete with DyoCore's low-cost systems, claims that are based on a false premise," Robert Oglesby, executive director of the commission.
Brown's goal, being fleshed out this week at an invitation-only conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, is to build 12,000 megawatts of distributed renewable energy, building on and extending former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's target of 5,000 MW by 2020.
Demand for clean energy has led to a wind turbine building boom. But many living in their shadow decry the electricity generating projects as pesky eyesores.
The reality: wind energy's carbon dioxide-cutting benefits are vastly overstated. Furthermore, if wind energy does help reduce carbon emissions, those reductions are too expensive to be used on any kind of scale.
Cal-ISO is looking at ways to deal with 71,000 MW of renewable generation in its interconnection queue, which is more than three times the additional renewables capacity needed to meet California's 33-percent renewable energy target.
A few members of the public, along with the county's Central Board of Architectural Review, were given a first-hand look at the future Lompoc Wind Energy Project on Friday.
The following comments were submitted to the Department of Planning and Land Use in San Diego County California in opposition to Iberdrola-Tule Wind LLC's request for amendments to the County's General Plan, the local Community Plan, and to the existing and draft revised Wind Energy Ordinance. The comment letter was prepared by Attorney Stephan Walker on behalf of several grass-roots non-profit groups.
"We must make every effort to ensure that these projects are developed in a manner that respects the residents of the community in which they are located. Indiscriminate placement of these resources in pursuit of energy or financial gains fails to protect the very individuals that proponents of these projects claim to be serving."
The group concluded in written comments that the project falls short of state law by failing to address the "expected cumulative fatalities" of birds and bats. However, project consultants for the county and the applicant, Nextra Energy Montezuma II Wind, LLC, pledged to provide habitat for wildlife and birds elsewhere.
"This is an industrial complex moving into my neighborhood, and it doesn't belong here," resident George Young told Eyewitness News. He stood near the entrance to the canyon at Dr. Beverly Billingsley's veterinarian clinic and pointed at the area where the wind machines are planned.
As objections increase to the prospect of alternative energy facilities consuming large parts of the Antelope Valley, county regional planning officials are seeking local input for the updated Antelope Valley Area Plan to help determine sites for future wind and solar farms.
Now many residents aren't so sure it is the right place. "If they mess up our canyon, then they mess up the rest of our lives," said Young. Resident Bob Biggs agreed. "It doesn't really fit well with 500-foot tall industrial machines," he said.
Just days after a group of Tehachapi residents celebrated the collapse of a large windmill project, another group contacted 17 News about another wind project in the works. They say the windmills will destroy the natural beauty of their neighborhood.
Terra-Gen Power tried to get more than 7,000 acres of land re-zoned for the Pahnamid Windmill Development Project. "If this project had gone through, they would have bulldozed the Tehachapi mountains, an area larger that 640 football fields."
The question of where renewable energy plants can and should go has prompted debate across the West, in New England and in numerous other parts of the country. What makes the debate so heated is that it forces people to reconcile two imperatives: developing sources of alternative energy and supporting preservation-whether of a Civil War battlefield, an endangered species' habitat, or a sacred Native American burial site.