Articles from California
Federal judges today dismissed a challenge to a large wind farm near San Diego, rejecting claims that agencies did not adequately weigh potential impacts on bald eagles and other birds. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management conducted the legally required “hard look” at alternatives before approving the Tule Wind LLC project.
Board Chairman and 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino asked what the scale of such a solar project might be to power the approximately 150,000 households in the county. An Optony spokesman said a 1-acre solar array could power 60 to 100 homes, so it would require a total of 1,500 acres of solar panels scattered throughout the county to power all the county’s homes.
CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. -- The Bureau of Land Management is in the beginning stages of a year-long process to analyze a Canadian-owned company's proposal to build dozens of turbines in the Walker Ridge area, where another wind farm had been proposed a decade ago.
How dispiriting to read that officials at Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) have fallen hook, line and turbine for a deeply flawed energy proposal. Like many outside colonizers since 1850, a Manhattan energy company, Terra-Gen, is relying on local officials to support its plan to place up to 60 wind turbines, each standing 600 feet tall, on Monument and Bear River ridges. The RCEA's Michael Winkler, in a June 27 op-ed in the Journal ("Why I Support Terra-Gen's Wind Project"), epitomized this colonial mindset.
The developer is seeking a right-of-way that would permit 42 wind turbines to be constructed on 2,270 acres of public land in the two counties. The area is described as “along Walker Ridge, within the Indian Valley Management Area in Northern California.” Among the other planned structures are a substation plus a collection line and tie-in to an existing Pacific Gas and Electric transmission line. Walker Ridge Road will also be widened.
The Strauss Wind Energy Project — put forward by BayWa, a German agricultural and renewable energy company — calls for the construction of 30 turbine generators 500 feet tall across 2,790 acres of rural land in an unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County. ...More than 600 mature oak trees would be chopped down to make room for the infrastructure and to build the roads needed to transport three 35,000-pound blades to each turbine location.
An “avian incident” sparked a fire at one of California’s biggest solar farms, affecting 1,200 acres and knocking out 84% of the California Valley Solar Ranch’s generating capacity.
About 5:50 p.m., Palm Springs police said that 19th Avenue between McLane Street and Karen Drive was closed because a windmill was spinning out of control.
A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a challenge from environmental groups to a large wind farm project east of San Diego.
For years developers have tried to figure out how to repurpose Kaiser Steel’s former open-pit iron mine at Eagle Mountain in Riverside County. One idea: Use it as a massive landfill, a proposal that fortunately never came to fruition. The current owners of the site now want to convert it into an immense, $2.5-billion hydroelectric battery, using daytime power to pump water from a lower-elevation pit to a pit 1,400 feet farther up the mountain, then running the water downhill at night through turbines to create energy.
With the deadline to comment on the draft environmental impact report fast approaching, debate over a proposed wind farm on a ridgeline to the south of the Eel River Valley is heating up.
Before Humboldt County begins investing in offshore wind energy, local conservationists and fishermen say more research needs to be done to assess the projects’ local impacts. That was the consensus today at a meeting of the state Senate’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, hosted by committee chairman North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center in Eureka.
“While we support it in concept, we remain keenly aware that, as related to our waters, the technology is still largely unproven and untested." Some of the major concerns from environmental groups consisted of turbines affecting bird migration patterns, electromagnetic fields, underwater noises and vibrations affecting orientation and navigational abilities of marine mammals and the turbine cables that float potentially leading to whale entanglements.
Central Valley lawmakers have long argued that large hydropower projects should count toward California’s renewable energy goals. From their perspective, excluding existing hydropower facilities forces utilities to buy additional solar and wind energy, raising energy costs for ratepayers in one of the poorest parts of the state.
At 586 feet tall, the turbines would dwarf the tallest buildings in Downtown San Diego. One America Plaza stands at 500 feet tall, the Symphony Tower is 499 feet tall and the Manchester Grand Hyatt is 497 feet tall. The SeaWorld Tower is 320 feet tall. The view isn’t the only issue. Donna Tisdale, who is the president of the Boulevard Planning Group and also the activist group Backcountry Against Dumps says the windmills can cause health problems for people who live nearby.
The price of our leaders’ green virtue will fall particularly hard on working-class Californians who already suffer the nation’s highest rate of people living in poverty. They also tend to live in less-temperate geographies such as the Inland Empire, the high desert and the Central Valley. Expect the recent moves to expand the ranks of the million Californians who suffer from “energy poverty,” defined as spending 10 percent or more of their household income on energy-related expenses.
The dream of Morro Bay as a new hub of offshore renewable energy production in California could be over before it even gets its sea legs — or it could just be ramping up. ...State and San Luis Obispo County leaders say they’ve been informed the Navy will likely recommend against building potential wind farms off the coast of Morro Bay and Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, something that could effectively sink hopes for the North Coast to be a new hub of renewable energy.
California's largest county has banned the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land, bending to the will of residents who say they don’t want renewable energy projects industrializing their rural desert communities northeast of Los Angeles.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to ban “utility-oriented renewable energy” in fourteen communities and in “rural living zoning districts” throughout the county. What the board has designated as “community-oriented renewable energy” (CORE), will be allowed.