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After much discussion during a public hearing Tuesday, the Solano County Board of Supervisors voted to continue its policy that prohibits wind turbine projects in the primary management area in the marsh, but permit them in the secondary management area.
Erecting thousands of wind turbines along a major migration corridor would seemingly fail a fundamental requirement for bird-safe wind energy: correct siting. A World Bank document about one of the Tehuantepec wind farms states "avian impacts are not expected to be significant," but a case study of another wind farm admits "concern about the potential cumulative impacts of the many additional wind farms planned in the same general area."
Protesters that marched and chanted in front of construction equipment Saturday said they felt like they won the day, stalling work on a wind farm in the area for a time.
California's plan to dramatically increase reliance on renewable power sources, such as solar and wind, while shutting a number of ocean-side plants that supply power around the clock will challenge power grid operators to keep the lights on.
But Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Planning Group, said her community opposes the project because the turbines emit low frequency noise, vibration and electrical pollution through "stay voltage that's discharged into the ground and migrates into people's homes." Tisdale said she's received complaints that existing turbines are making people in a 3 mile radius sick.
Wyoming officials have started a campaign to sell Wyoming wind to California and are preparing a similar sales pitch to Colorado. Both states want electric utilities to provide a percentage of their power from renewable sources, such as wind.
On Friday the 13th of July, foaming floodwaters rushed through the town of Ocotillo, leaving a white chemical residue behind on lawns, streets, and the surrounding desert floor. Despite numerous complaints to federal, state and local officials, however, nothing has been done to test the residue or correct a drainage pattern altered by Pattern Energy's construction at the adjacent Ocotillo Express industrial wind site.
Windmill-like turbines will not be spinning along Walker Ridge in western Colusa County for at least a couple more years. "Hopefully we will have our right-of-way grant by mid-year, 2013," said Neil Mackie, manager of Communications for Calgary-based AltaGas. If all goes well, the company hopes to be operational in 2015. AltaGas first proposed the wind farm in 2006, and had hoped to have the project under construction this year. "We are in the (US Bureau of Land Management) review process, and after that we have the public consultation," said Mackie, who described that BLM process as very, very thorough. The "public consultation," Mackie said, includes distribution of information as well as public meetings about the project. The proposal is for 29 to 42 turbines to be built on about 80 acres of a 8,157 acre area, and generate up 67 megawatts of renewable energy. The company reportedly would sell the energy to P.G.&E, and produce enough power to meet the needs of 25,000 homes. The turbines are 240 feet high, with blades 150 feet long. Each costs about $1.5 million, company officials told county officials. Also part of the project are an underground electrical collection system, a substation, a 115-kilovolt overhead transmission line, an interconnect station, an operations and maintenance building and access roads. The project would take about eight months to build, and when completed, who create four to eight full-time jobs, and generate an estimated $17 million-$20 million in sales tax annually, which would be divided between Colusa and Lake counties. The farm would operate for about 20 years. The Colusa County Chamber of Commerce endorsed the project in March 2011, and while the reaction from neighboring property owners has been mostly positive, there have been some concerns. Among some of the issues raised are visual and wildlife impacts, as well as impacts that come from construction in a remote area and impacts from the transmission lines. Mackie did not have a budget number for the cost of the project.
"In the development of this land, we want to preserve and protect as many sacred areas or the burial grounds as possible," said Riolo. Dog handler Lynne Engelbert is with the San Francisco Bay area-based Institute for Canine Forensics, which was tribally funded. She said her dog, Piper, alerted her to more than 30 sites with human remains in McCain Valley on Tuesday.
After eight years and $5 million-worth of work, Shell WindEnergy Inc. is pulling the plug on a wind turbine project that was proposed for Bear River Ridge. ...The wind project has been a controversial issue.
Western Wind was awarded a $78.3 million U.S. grant ...The Vancouver-based company had applied for $90.5 million under the Treasury Department's 1603 cash grant program and plans to appeal to receive the full amount. The $12.2 million shortfall may make it harder for Western Wind to repay short-term loans that are due soon for its 120- megawatt Windstar project in Tehachapi, California
The developer of the US' biggest wind farm in terms of megawatts, which is due to get even bigger, said Friday it will not pursue expansion into 2013 if the production tax credit is not extended by Congress.
In recent months the company has prepared studies to explain the project and discuss any noise, effects on birds or other environmental consequences arising from the operation of the turbine.
If the company decides to build a turbine farm, it would also have to put up seven or eight miles of transmission lines to deliver the energy to existing power lines. The California Desert Coalition and a second local group, Save Our Desert, are opposing the project.
Despite numerous complaints including photos and videos of dust billowing up from construction activities at Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express wind energy site, the apparent health hazard continues. "This issue has been ongoing from the start of this project and someone needs to get control of it before there is serious health related issues."
San Diego's planners are not willing to allow the health of residents or the rural character of East County to be sacrificed in order to accommodate wind energy developers. The victory for rural residents may be short-lived, however, since the San Diego Board of Supervisors ultimately has the final say on whether industrial wind facilities will be allowed on county-controlled lands.
"How would you feel if the President proposed a wind project on top of your ancestors' graves, or on top of Arlington National Cemetery?" Keeny Escalanti, president of the Quechan Tribe asked at a press conference ..."This is nothing more than a public land grab for private profit."
At a press conference yesterday outside the gleaming corporate towers occupied by Pattern Energy in La Jolla, a coalition of environmental groups, Native American tribes and outraged citizens urged President Barack Obama to stop fast-tracking of massive energy projects on public lands and halt construction at the Ocotillo Express wind facility immediately.
The federal government started pushing alternative energy development with aggressive incentives, and wind turbines suddenly became one heck of a great tax shelter. "We started out selling a small wind turbine to consumers for $98,000" said Coulter. "The consumer got a huge tax write-off, about two-thirds in tax savings," he recalled. "In one month, we built an entire wind farm - 72 machines."
Helena Quintana Arrow-weed of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, decried the Supervisors' action as "one horrible, terrible, very bad day for everyone." In an e-mail forwarded to ECM, she stated that Quechan tribal council members planned to meet today with Viejas Chairman Anthony Pico and other tribal representatives to strategize.