Articles from California
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.”
A Portland, Oregon, firm has filed an application to build up to 100 wind turbines — more than twice as many as Hatchet Ridge — in eastern Shasta County.
A third problem is the bill’s requirement that the federal government sell wind leases off the California coast within a year of enactment. While wind farms can be a good source of renewable energy, they are just starting to be sited in the ocean — with none yet off the coast of California. Wind farms should not be arbitrarily rushed into existence, as this bill would do.
The developers are also focused on keeping the White House engaged in the project. Without the federal government’s backing through WAPA, TransWest Express would lack the use of eminent domain, a major tool that Trump often relied on in his past life as a real estate mogul. It’s the ability to take ownership of private land for public use.
On Tuesday the Trump Administration announced it would repeal yet another one of President Obama’s signature environmental regulations, this one designed to cut climate change-causing pollution emitted by power plants.
The bill ran afoul of the powerful International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245, which said that sponsor Kevin de Leόn, the president of the State Senate, had gone back on a promise to include amendments to protect union jobs and to assure the security of the power grid. De Leόn's office denied that he promised any amendments to the local, which represents most utility workers in Northern California.
Senate Bill 100 from state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), would phase out fossil fuels for generating electricity within three decades. ...But champions of the efforts have struggled to overcome disagreements among unions, utilities, environmentalists, energy companies and lawmakers in the final days of the legislative session.
The late-session plan to restructure management of the California power grid skidded to a halt Wednesday in the wake of growing opposition from interest groups and a spate of negative publicity.
Utility companies and the California Independent System Operator, which operates the state's electric grid, say changing from independent oversight of the power system to regional oversight will increase efficiency and help expand clean energy.
Early construction is ongoing at the site near Rawlins, and needs to continue without pause if the company is to qualify for the federal subsidy. If it qualifies for the tax credit, it would last for up to 10 years, she said. Firms that began construction by last year keep the subsidy for a decade. The Power Company of Wyoming is not confident that the second phase of development, for an additional 500 turbines, will qualify for the tax credit.
Which way is the wind blowing in California?
But CAISO concedes that curtailments and “negative pricing” is likely to happen even more often in the future as solar power production continues to grow, unless action is taken to better manage the excess electricity. Arizona’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service, is one of the biggest beneficiaries of California’s largesse because it is next door and the power can easily be sent there on transmission lines. On days that Arizona is paid to take California’s excess solar power, Arizona Public Service says it has cut its own solar generation rather than fossil fuel power. So California’s excess solar isn’t reducing greenhouse gases when that happens.
Fight continues to protect water wells; Water well problem remains in Dover
Robert Michaels, an economics professor at Cal State Fullerton, is not as confident and predicts SB100 will lead to higher bills for ratepayers. “It’s going to be expensive. “We already know there are a lot of problems with reliability, just with the percentage of intermittent renewables that you have here (in California). And until, and probably not even after, we get a lot more in the way of usable battery storage or some way of storing this stuff, it’s simply not going to be feasible.”
The path to an all-renewable electrical grid would mean major technological advances and upgrades, experts say. Arne Olson, partner at the international energy consulting firm E3, said the state would have to diversify its renewable portfolio. Building solar farms can be expensive and take up lots of land, and federal restrictions have banned wind farms from prime desert sites.
The Dakota Access Pipeline goes through some of the windiest parts of the Great Plains, and wind power generation in the Plains States has grown rapidly over the last decade. You might think that wind would offer a viable alternative to fossil fuel development for Plains tribes. But in the rush to develop wind power, the Native peoples of the Plains are being left behind.
A wind farm in the southeastern Solano County community of Birds Landing was subject to $2.2 million in fraud by six defendants, according to an indictment on April 6 by a federal grand jury based on investigations by the FBI and IRS.