Library filed under Zoning/Planning from California
MELISSA, Texas - An orange flag marks where Gary Lisle planned to put up a 33-foot windmill behind his house. But that's about as far as his green idea got in this Dallas suburb. Denied a building permit in March, Lisle joined the growing ranks of frustrated homeowners across the U.S. whose hopes of harvesting wind energy in their backyards have been dashed. Some communities have outlawed residential turbines. Others entangle applicants in so much red tape that they simply give up.
A wind project that would include about 45 towering turbines on three parcels in and near Palm Springs is one step closer to approval. The Palm Springs Planning Commission approved the portion of the project within the city in a 4-1 vote Wednesday. The Dillon Wind Project would add about five 327-foot turbines and associated facilities on roughly 200 acres about 6,000 feet west of Indian Avenue, east of Highway 62, south of Dillon Road and north of Interstate 10.
At a Riverside County Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, officials approved a project to have 40 wind turbines proposed by Portland-based developer PPM Energy on county land. "We're going to continue to fight it," said Michele McNeill, a Desert Hot Springs resident who lives near the proposed site.
Dozens of community activists, public officials and environmentalists Thursday criticized a plan that sets the stage for the federal government to overrule state decisions on new power lines. At the same time, several elected officials and business leaders supported giving the federal government power to solve Southern California's electricity problems if the state fails to adequately address the challenge of keeping lights and air conditioners on.
Dozens of community activists, public officials and environmentalists Thursday criticized a plan that sets the stage for the federal government to overrule state decisions on new power lines. At the same time, several elected officials and business leaders supported giving the federal government power to solve Southern California's electricity problems if the state fails to adequately address the challenge of keeping lights and air conditioners on. San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, one of about 60 to testify at a hearing hosted by the U.S. Energy Department on a proposed national power corridor for Southern California, said that allowing a federal commission to overrule a state regulatory body is a bad idea.
A wind project that would add dozens of 327-foot turbines in and around Palm Springs moved forward Wednesday when the county approved turbines on one of the project's three parcels. The Riverside County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the Dillon Wind project with its associated variances for unincorporated county land north of Palm Springs and west of Desert Hot Springs.
A federal agency is proposing to open up thousands of acres of McCain Valley for wind turbines, a prospect troubling environmentalists who say the pristine desert in San Diego County's backcountry should remain undisturbed. The federal Bureau of Land Management included the proposal in a draft resource management plan covering more than 103,000 acres in eastern San Diego County from Boulevard to Julian. The agency is accepting comments on the draft plan until May 31.
PALM SPRINGS - Out here in the desert two hours east of Los Angeles, the weather is so blustery that NASA once declared the San Gorgonio Pass "one of the windiest spots in North America." No wonder it's also the birthplace of many of the world's first power-producing windmills. Today, 3,000 of the so-called wind turbines have sprouted up from the desert floor and lined many of the mountain ridges along the freeway that ushers the rich and the famous into the legendary California oasis, Palm Springs. The sprawling wind farm generates enough electricity to light up a city the size of San Francisco. But there's trouble on the horizon. A plan to erect even more windmills is meeting with vocal opposition here.
Residents of Whitewater, North Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs are planning a protest march against the proposed windmills this coming Sunday evening at 6 p.m. at the corner of Thomas Avenue and Indian Avenue in North Palm Springs. "The locals who have everything to lose will be there," said Chuck Wolf, resident of the affected areas where Dillon Wind plans to construct windmills almost 400 feet tall. "And now they must march to protect the life savings they've shed sweat and tears to."
Among the rolling grassy slopes of the Montezuma Hills, statuesque wind turbines loom over wheat fields, cattle and sheep. The approximately 700 turbines, each with three blades atop 400-foot towers, whirl amid the Delta breezes. Thus, a couple thousand blades lumbering through circles of air 200 feet in diameter, are hard to miss. Especially on radar. That detail has Travis Air Force Base officials doing a double take at plans to expand the wind farm, which chews up the air east of the base. Air Force officials say a proposed plan to install more than 100 additonal turbines in the Montezuma Hills could cause problems with future aircraft-control radar at Travis. And they know this because the turbines already whirling away are causing problems.
A new federal proposal to help electricity flow more freely could help the energy-choked East Coast. But it could also infuriate landowners, who have traditionally gotten their way in fights against utilities in Delaware. U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman last week named Delaware as part of his proposed eastern National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor. It would run from New York to Virginia, and west to Ohio. A second corridor would run through California, Arizona and Nevada.
California and the city of Los Angeles have set an ambitious goal for ‘greener' power: obtain 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2010. But to do that difficult decisions need to be made. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric power produced in the rural reaches of the state must be somehow be transported to faraway cities - meaning some transmission lines must cut through national forests, wildlife refuges, and other treasured land areas. Solar panels require the expanse and cloudless climes of desert areas, wind requires the funneling effect of mountain passes, and geothermal power is derived from hot or steamed water underground. But how does the city get the energy to where it's needed without spoiling the pristine environments that it's trying to preserve?
A plan to install more than 100 additional wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills has been shelved for at least six months, and possibly longer. The proposed location of the turbines, which are similar to some 700 currently operating in the hills, is one which would pose problems to the aircraft control radar used by Travis Air Force Base.
The Riverside County Planning Commission largely ignored arguments from Desert Hot Springs officials Wednesday who asked that the county stop a 45-turbine windmill project just south of the city. "I have a difficult time dealing with the opposition of the city of Desert Hot Springs when they have (planned for windmills in that area in) a general plan," planning commissioner John Porras said. "It's inconsistent." The City Council had passed a resolution and written a letter to the county in opposition to the project. The city, which hopes to annex the land, believes that if windmills are built there, the land will be useless for future development and property taxes.
PASADENA - The City Council has authorized an agreement with a wind power-generating facility to be constructed in Utah, furthering its stated goal to be more environmentally conscious. The Milford Wind Corridor Phase I is a 200-megawatt generating facility to be constructed in Millard County, Utah. The corridor is just 60 miles from the coal-fired Intermountain Power Project in Delta, Utah, which the council decided not to extend contracts with in December 2006.
Highlighting the environmental pitfalls of harnessing "green" energy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's push to import nonpolluting power to Los Angeles could require building power lines and transmission towers through a national forest, two desert wildlife preserves and a rustic hamlet used in countless westerns.
The road to approval of a massive wind energy project will be long and laced with regulatory red tape. Construction is expected to begin in 2009 on the Alta Wind Energy Center between Tehachapi and Mojave. Completion is forecast for 2014. But first, Southern California Edison, which signed a 20 year contract to purchase the power, must receive approval to build new transmission lines, upgrade existing lines and add two substations to disperse the power to homes.
A plan to send renewable energy from the Imperial Valley to San Diego is being delayed. The Green Path project would link up with the proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. The Imperial Irrigation District Board voted to temporarily stop contract negotiations over a plan to move renewable energy to San Diego and Los Angeles. San Diego Gas and Electric's proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line would tap into those sources to provide energy for more than 600,000 homes in San Diego. Kevin Kelley is with the Irrigation Board. He says the board wants to review an independent consultants report before they make any decisions. Kelley says the board will make a final decision next month on the Green Path projects. The Imperial Valley has geothermal, solar and wind sources that SDG&E and other utilities want to use. The utilities have to meet a state mandated goal of using a certain percentage of renewable energy by 2010.
In a blustery stretch of desert two hours east of Los Angeles, where many of the world's first power-producing windmills were built, a plan for more turbines has triggered a backlash that echoes a national debate over the merits of wind energy. A proposal to build about 50 windmills next to Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument has aroused passions in a region already dotted with 3,000 windmills, with opponents charging that the wind energy industry has neither delivered the promised power nor spared the environment. The industry, which was born in California, now has projects in 40 states and $8 billion in investments over the last two years, according to the American Wind Energy Assn. Supporters say wind power has come of age and will help slow global warming, while critics contend that it has delivered only a quarter of its promised energy, proved lethal to wildlife and, in the view of many residents, blighted the landscape.
It is often joked that the remote and rugged North Coast area is usually years behind the rest of the state in keeping up with telecommunications, technology and culture. But when it comes to clean and environmentally friendly energy sources, Humboldt County may be ground zero for a wave of innovative and alternative energy projects already being studied. A new wind energy proposal that is in the early phases of studies is proposing to construct 30-35 wind-powered, electricity-generating turbines along several miles of ridgeline south of Ferndale that would supply 65 to 70 megawatts of electrical power. The Bear River Wind Power project is being researched by Shell Wind Energy, a subsidiary of the international heavyweight Shell corporation.