Articles from California

Ivanpah Solar project faces risk of default on PG&E contracts

Energy production has picked up at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert, but not enough to allow the plant’s owners — who include Google and Oakland-based BrightSource Energy — to avoid the risk of defaulting on their contracts to deliver electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric. Majority owner and plant manager NRG Energy said in its most recent quarterly report that it won’t be able to deliver the electricity promised in its power purchase agreements with PG&E. The agreements cover output from two of Ivanpah’s three units.
15 Dec 2015

Board delays Altamont repowering, seeks more transparency in siting

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.
25 Nov 2015

Desert energy plan could 'dramatically limit' California wind growth

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.
11 Nov 2015

After 7 years, desert renewable energy plan finalized

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.
11 Nov 2015

Altamont Pass: Controversial wind turbine company blamed for bird deaths shutting down

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.
31 Oct 2015

Wind Energy vs. Golden Eagles

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. 
30 Oct 2015

TerraForm investors say SunEdison duped them

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.
27 Oct 2015

Green energy’s dirty secret: Industrial solar and wind endanger wildlife but are getting more support than ever

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.
26 Oct 2015

Desert plant has pollution problem

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."
19 Oct 2015

First U.S.-Mexico Wind Energy Project Sees Legal Challenge

“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.
15 Oct 2015

Wind energy gets blown away by shifting patterns in the West

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.
20 Aug 2015

California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act fails to create promised green jobs

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.
18 Aug 2015

http://www.windaction.org/posts?location=California&p=4&type=Article
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