Articles from California
An application to repower a 5-square-mile section of the Altamont with up to 32 modern wind turbines has been continued to Dec. 10 in an effort to obtain more transparency concerning the science behind the decisions on where to site the turbines. The East County Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) met Nov. 19. It heard from applicant Altamont Wind LLC, Dyer Road residents, East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) representatives, and Alameda County staff on the application.
A public meeting about a proposed offshore wind project will be held Dec. 10 in Morro Bay; Trident Winds envisions installing 100 turbines about 20 miles off the coast
The first phase identifies national conservation lands and designates areas of critical environmental concern, wildlife allocations, and national scenic and historic trail management corridors to conserve biological, cultural and other values. Furthermore, the DOI says special recreation management areas and extensive recreation management areas are identified to recognize and promote recreational opportunities and public access. Thus, these lands would be closed to renewable energy and benefit from adaptive management in the face of climate change, the agency explains.
The plan will encourage energy companies to build solar, wind and geothermal power plants on 388,000 acres of federally managed land, although only a portion of that land is likely to be developed. The plan also sets aside 5.3 million acres for conservation and 3.8 million acres for recreation, virtually all of which would be closed to energy development.
Altamont Winds Vice President Bill Damon wrote in the email to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service that "the reduction of avian impacts" was the primary reason ...The shutdown was a surprise, as Altamont had earlier this year received an extension to operate until 2018, which frustrated environmentalists. ...Judy Holzworth, the regional communications director for U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said her agency was happy to hear the news.
Altamont Winds, Inc. (AWI), one of the largest operators in the East Bay’s Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in an Oct. 23 email that it is permanently shutting down all its turbines there by Sunday. ...The USFWS has 16 open investigations on wind energy companies around the country, Flaherty says. The agency has opened a criminal investigation of one company doing business in the Altamont concerning its turbines’ “take” of golden eagles, Birchell said in an email in July.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has released a draft environmental assessment (DEA) in response to a request by Alta X Wind LLC for a five-year programmatic take permit for golden eagles at its Alta East Wind Project in Kern County, Calif.
The shareholders say that the information TerraForm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in anticipation of its IPO was misleading because it did not disclose that SunEdison was about to report disappointing financial results for the 2015 second quarter.
Even on paper, it was a wonder: Three expansive circles of shining mirrors supplicating three glowing 500-foot-tall towers, each engineered to turn the sun’s heat into electricity in the otherwise godforsaken Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System offered a sparkling vision of our nature-powered future, whose every gigawatt would keep tons of coal’s heat-trapping pollutants out of the atmosphere. BrightSource Inc., a company based in Oakland, California, would design it; construction giant Bechtel would build it on 4,000 acres near the California-Nevada border. It would supply clean electricity to 140,000 homes.
The Altamont Pass, east of San Francisco, is home to hundreds of bird species, as well as to 3,000 wind energy turbines. That's a deadly combination, especially for golden eagles. Special correspondent Scott Shafer and producer Gabriela Quirós of KQED report on a strategy to help save protected species.
And former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar freed up large expanses of public land for the plant despite environmentalists’ concerns about wildlife habitat and the loss of open space. Ivanpah was built on 5.6 square miles of mostly undisturbed public land that was home to desert tortoises, a species threatened with extinction, among other wildlife. ...“It feels like a bait and switch."
“All these agencies and companies are in lockstep on this green energy rush, whether it’s actually beneficial to us or not,” said Donna Tisdale, a resident of Boulevard in East San Diego County. Tisdale is leading the lawsuit against Energía Sierra Juárez, which also names the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Among other things, the lawsuit claims the Department of Energy issued a Presidential Permit without considering environmental impacts in Mexico or alternative clean energy projects, as required by law.
The government's Energy Information Administration detailed the findings earlier this month in a study that showed falling wind energy production in California, Oregon and Washington state — typically known as a bastion for clean energy development. The agency didn't say how the wind energy slump would affect the electric grid, but it did say it could hinder wind farms from taking advantage of a key federal tax subsidy and harm their economic viability. Clean energy companies rely on the subsidy to fund projects. ...Even small changes in wind speed can dramatically reduce electricity output from wind turbines.
The Energy Commission said its jobs number is based on dollars spent and doesn’t take the type of project into account. Johnson said the slow results show the oversight board should have gotten involved much earlier. “They should have been overseeing all stages of this project, not just waiting until the money’s gone and seeing where it went,” Johnson said.
A young female golden eagle rescued by San Ramon Valley firefighters in March and rehabilitated by Lindsay Wildlife Hospital died hours after being struck by a wind turbine.
Although permits for the project’s first phase have been approved, permission from the California Public Utilities Commisison (CPUC) is still needed, and must provide opportunity for public comment first. In addition, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has not yet issued take permits for golden eagles at the site. The project has generated substantial opposition in the community, with concerns raised over the impact of 500-foot-tall turbines lining the main entry to the federal recreation area.
Vast acreages of land are being earmarked for the development of wind and solar projects. These aren’t mom & pop proposals to build rooftop panels or small windmills; instead, they are being planned and constructed on a scale that should stagger the sensibilities of anyone with an environmental conscience. It represents the wholesale destruction of vast areas of the West. ...the subsequent environmental damage cannot be understated. And yet suddenly, environmentalists don’t seem to notice...or care.
The regressivity of California’s energy policies are the focus of our new report for the Manhattan Institute, which found that, in 2012, about 1 million California households were living in “energy poverty,” a term that applies to residents who spend 10 percent, or more, of their income on household energy costs, (excluding the costs of transportation-related costs, such as gasoline.)
After hearing pleas from more than a dozen Antelope Valley residents, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors took preliminary steps Tuesday to ban utility-scale wind turbines in unincorporated areas of the county. The supervisors unanimously approved a draft Renewable Energy Ordinance that updated permitting and regulations on small-scale wind and solar projects and utility-scale solar projects.
Bird carnage combined with opposition by Native American tribes to industrial projects on undeveloped land has made California regulators wary of approving more. Last September, Abengoa and BrightSource abandoned their quest to build a solar-thermal project near Joshua Tree National Park ...In March the Board of Supervisors of Inyo County voted to ban solar-thermal power plants altogether. “Ivanpah had a significant effect on the decision making,” said Joshua Hart, the county’s planning director.