Articles from California
Gleaning energy from ocean wind would seem to be a California ideal: It emits no greenhouse gases, has nearly no environmental footprint, and harnesses one of the state’s most powerful and plentiful natural resources. But engineering challenges, regulatory hurdles and concerns about the turbines’ impact on wildlife have, until recently, mucked any forward progress.
A major wind power project will produce enough energy for almost 40,000 Humboldt County homes and is on what its proponents describe as “a very intentional schedule” for operation in 2020. ...the project will “become very financially difficult if we’re not online by the end of 2020.”
On Friday, the federal Interior Department took the first steps to enable companies to lease waters in Central and Northern California for wind projects. If all goes as the state’s regulators and utilities expect, floating windmills could begin producing power within six years.
A new state law signed this month, SB 100, requires all of California’s electricity to come from zero-carbon sources by 2045. Many news reports advertised the law as a mandate for renewable energy, but lawmakers in Sacramento quietly acknowledged that the state may need more than wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams to meet its climate goals. The new law allows up to 40% of the state’s electricity to come from other zero-carbon sources, including nuclear energy and fossil fuel plants, as long as they capture their carbon emissions.
Migratory birds that crisscross the North American continent along the West Coast face an increasing threat from solar power plants, wind energy farms, power lines, oil refineries and other industrial facilities across Southern California.
The proposed wind farm would consist of between 10 and 15 turbines with a combined capacity of between 100MW and 150MW and would be situated more than 32 kilometres off the coast of Eureka in northern Humboldt county. It could be commissioned in 2024, according to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA).
Most states are enjoying flat or declining electricity rates thanks to shale fracking, which has sent natural gas prices plummeting. But not California, where rates have jumped 25% since 2013. Electricity prices in the Golden State are by far the highest in the continental western U.S. and twice as high as in Washington state. The reason: California requires that 50% of power be generated from renewables such as solar and wind by 2030.
The Department of Defense gatekeeper for any renewable energy project off the coast is Steve Chun, community plans and liaison officer for the Navy’s Southwest Region, based in San Diego. ...”We have now received proposals to build wind farms at 14 different offshore sites to date,” he added. ...Also behind the scenes, California — represented by the California Energy Commission and the federal Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) — have been waiting for Department of Defense to work out its policy.
“And if California doesn't lead the inevitable transition, others will. California's wind and solar generation are growing faster than our inefficiently managed electric grid can put them to use. We're literally throwing away pollution-free electricity during certain periods, and the problem will only get worse.”
The state Assembly voted 43-32 in favor of the legislation Tuesday. It would eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels to power homes, businesses and factories in the world’s fifth-largest economy, accelerating a shift already under way. The state currently gets about 44 percent of its power from renewables and hydropower.
“We (at COLAB) do not understand why you’re allowing a different company, 10 years later, to tier-off on a 10-year-old EIR, with different-sized wind turbines, plus 30 miles of roads and widening Miguelito Canyon Road in Lompoc. “You wouldn’t do that for a winery or an oil project. Why are you doing it for a wind project?”
The Aug. 1 appeal from the Boulevard Planning Group says they object to the “weasel worded findings” of county staff to turn their rural community into a “renewable energy sacrifice zone.” New York-based renewable energy company Terra-Gen, which has an office in San Diego as well, wants to build a 126-megawatt project on a 2,000-acre private ranch in northern Boulevard.
Tisdale urges the public to “speak out with any concerns or any personal knowledge you may have of turbine noise impacts, health impacts, local wildlife,cultural, and groundwater resources or other related issues. These projects use millions of gallons of water for construction.” This meeting and public comments will help decide what issues should be included in the project environmental impact studies.
“We also don’t like the double standard with regard to the environmental and deadly impact on birds and bats, as wind typically gets a free pass in comparison to what oil companies and farmers have to go through,” Caldwell said. “One more thing,” he added. “The county needs to demand a new EIR. These turbines are larger than the old ones, and the other EIR is 10 years old.”
Officials with the project’’s operator, Avangrid Renewables, at first did not know what caused the outage but later determined an underground cable was to blame. A vendor had to fabricate and eventually install a completely new line, measuring about 1,000 feet.
Fans of renewable energy anticipate a bonanza blowing off the coast of California.
California is conducting what may be the most ambitious electricity customer empowerment experiment ever done anywhere; whether it will work remains very much in doubt.
All were concerned that federal officials recently embarked on a reconsideration of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. They urged the county’s board members to speak out against the expansion of sites where solar and wind energy farms will be allowed.
“Information provided by BOEM to the Department of Defense indicates that the unsolicited offshore wind proposal from Trident is for an area within Department of the Navy ‘wind exclusion’ areas off the coast of Central California. These ‘wind exclusion’ areas are locations on the outer continental shelf where wind energy development will adversely impact Navy and/or Marine Corps testing, training and operational activities.”