Articles from California
In 2019 more than half of wind generation occurred at night, "resulting in lower average wholesale prices for wind-powered electricity than solar-powered electricity." EIA data shows wind farms in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas collectively produced 45% of total U.S. wind generation in 2019 and in those states the average wholesale wind price was $26/MWh compared with $47/MWh for wind generation in the remaining states.
Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal announced last week that the public comment period on a proposed offshore wind development off the Central Coast has now closed — and with a new commitment from the Navy in hand.
Daily solar-powered generation began declining as large wildfires broke out in mid-August, reaching a low of 68 GWh on August 22 before returning to approximately 100 GWh by the end of the month. Solar-powered generation began declining again as wildfire activity rose in September, falling as low as 50 GWh on September 11 as PM2.5 smoke pollution increased.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding how an offshore wind farm would impact specific species off the coast, but researchers say it will change the area’s ecosystem.
But now the blackouts have put Gov. Gavin Newsom and policymakers on the defensive about the state’s energy choices. Critics are chortling over the fact that wind power isn’t always reliable and solar naturally fades as evening arrives, leaving the state exposed to energy shortages during extraordinary heat waves. “What we’ve seen over time is a starving away of the very electricity that keeps the lights on in California,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, vice chairman of the Assembly’s Utilities and Energy Committee. “When the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, the people of California do not stop living their lives and cooking their food and washing their clothes.
By the late afternoon Friday, when the state’s substantial solar production began to drop off as the sun set, California ISO grid operators in its control room in Folsom knew they were in trouble. The renewable supply was falling, and there wasn’t enough gas to replace it. The only recourse left was to import power from neighboring states. Unfortunately, imports on a major transmission line connecting Northern California to resources in the Pacific Northwest had been curtailed as grid operators across the region lined up supplies due to the extreme heat, according to Wood Mackenzie analyst John McMahon and the ISO.
In a surprise decision potentially spurred by late arriving opposition from the solar and wind industries, the western Joshua tree will have to wait at least another month to receive legal protection under the California Endangered Species Act. ...The beloved, high desert species will once again be up for listing under the act in a meeting on a yet-to-be-decided date, sometime between Sept. 17 and 23 when the commission faces a deadline to act. At that time, the commission will almost certainly advance it to the next stage in the process, as all four members who are eligible to vote indicated on Thursday that they believed the petition to protect Joshua trees had already passed muster.
How renewable energy projects in the Mojave Desert threaten local species — and how to fix that.
Renewable energy corporations have launched an eleventh-hour campaign to derail a petition seeking endangered species protection for Joshua trees, saying it could hinder development of the solar and wind power projects California needs to wean itself off fossil fuels. ...The state Fish and Game Commission on Aug. 20 is expected to vote on whether to accept the petition, which was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Approval has been recommended by state biologists.
“We have a much more risky supply of energy now because the sun doesn’t always shine when we want and the wind doesn’t always blow when we want,” said Frank Wolak, a Stanford University economics professor who specializes in energy markets. “We need more tools to manage that risk. We need more insurance against the supply shortfalls.” But the problems made Newsom see red.
The two blackouts in less than a year are strong evidence that the tens of billions that Californians have spent on renewables come with high human, economic, and environmental costs. Last December, a report by done for PG&E concluded that the utility’s customers could see blackouts double over the next 15 years and quadruple over the next 30.
ConnectGen wants to build the project, called Fountain Wind, on nearly 4,500 acres six miles west of Burney and one mile west of the existing Hatchet Ridge wind project. The new wind turbine proposal would be on leased timberland near the communities of Montgomery Creek, Round Mountain, Oak Run, Moose Camp, Big Bend and Wengler.
“The project is a dangerous and completely unnecessary industrialization of high-quality wildlife habitat in an area with an extremely high wildfire risk and frequent low-flying military, commercial and private aircraft,” states the suit filed by the nonprofit Backcountry Against Dumps along with Boulevard residents Donna and Ed Tisdale, whose ranch adjoins the project site with a half-mile shared border.
A couple of weeks ago I suggested that a proposed wind energy project was meeting stiff headwinds. In a Lompoc City Council hearing on June 3, one aspect of the proposed Strauss Wind was they were offering a Community Benefit Agreement that could provide $150,000 to the city’s general fund at the completion of the project if the city approved an oversized load permit.
Project applicants offered a $150,000 'gift,' but City Council wants at least $1 million commitment
Although Lompoc is not slated to benefit from the power generated by a wind energy project being planned just south of the city, the venture could provide a boost to the city’s general fund. The Lompoc City Council this month directed staff to prepare a Community Benefits Agreement that the city will look to enter into with Strauss Wind, LLC, the developer behind the 100-megawatt Strauss Wind Energy project that is planned for the ridgetops near the end of San Miguelito Road. The pact is likely to include a substantial payment to the city, if certain conditions are met.
A proposed wind energy project, darling of those who wish to “save the environment,” south of Lompoc has been contentious since it was first proposed almost a decade ago. While this project proposes to produce 100 megawatts of energy, none of it will be used by the city of Lompoc.
Campo and Boulevard, California -- Against strong opposition, including many tribal members, the Department of Interior just approved the Record of Decision (ROD) for Terra-Gen’s controversial Campo Wind project with 60-586 ft tall 4.2 megawatt (MW) turbines on Campo Tribal lands in rural San Diego County.
Decision bypasses Campo’s tribal regulations and land use planning protections: Legal challenges are in the works
An appeal of the design for a wind energy project in the hills south of Lompoc was denied Tuesday by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which previously denied an appeal of the land use permit granted by the County Planning Commission.