Library filed under General from California

PUC OKs massive power line towers in northern SCV

Taller electrical towers are set to traverse the northern part of the Santa Clarita Valley after state utility authorities Thursday approved construction of a planned power line project that would replace some power line towers in the city with ones that are 70 feet taller. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the Antelope-Pardee Transmission Project that would transport electricity generated from future wind farms in the Tehachapi area to Edison’s Pardee substation located in the Valencia Industrial Center.
3 Mar 2007

Wind power project blows closer

An historic wind Energy Power Purchase Agreement was signed on Dec. 21, 2006, by Alta Wind Power Development and Southern California Edison that will generate 1,500 megawatts of energy. “We think it is the largest ever wind power contract and the good news for wind developers in Tehachapi is we’re seeking more,” said SCE Director of Renewable and Alternative Power Stuart Hemphill. Hemphill said SCE is trying to tap into the potential 4,500 megawatts of wind in the Tehachapi area. “With the Alta Wind contract we executed in December we’ve tapped into one-third of that potential,” Hemphill said.
27 Feb 2007

$3 billion Tehachapi facility would be largest in nation

A massive wind power facility proposed for the Tehachapi area, if approved by state regulators, would become the largest project of its kind in the nation. The $3 billion Alta Wind Energy Center would involve installing as many as 750 wind turbines over a 50-square-mile area east and south of Tehachapi. It would generate as much as 1,500 megawatts — more than twice the power of the largest existing wind energy facility in the United States. It also would more than double the wind energy produced in the Tehachapi area.
21 Feb 2007

Energy company to cut turbines

A big energy company plans to slash the number of wind-powered turbines to about 200 from more than 460 at its sprawling Mesa Wind Farm in the wind-whipped San Gorgonio Pass. Western Wind Energy Corp. met with Bureau of Land Management officials Tuesday in Palm Springs as part of an effort to seek regulatory approval for a major overhaul that’s expected to take four to five years. The company will slim down by bringing in bigger, more technologically advanced windmills that operate much more efficiently. “We’re in the process of doing what’s called a re-powering of the project,” said Mike Boyd, Western Wind’s vice president of development in California. “We plan on gradually converting out the old and bringing in the new.” Western Wind has yet to determine the exact type of wind turbines it will use, Boyd said.
21 Feb 2007

Bird death study costs frustrate supervisors

Alameda County supervisors were unimpressed with a proposed monitoring system that would study the impacts of the Altamont Pass windmills on scores of birds, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls and other protected species. Saying costs for the program appeared to be increasing and that it probably would not sufficiently monitor bird deaths, supervisors directed county staff to find a more thorough system — and stay under the board’s imposed $2 million cost cap.
9 Feb 2007

County rejects system to monitor bird deaths

Alameda County supervisors were unimpressed with a proposed monitoring system that would study the impacts of the Altamont Pass windmills on scores of birds, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls and other protected species. Saying costs for the program appeared to be increasing and that it probably would not sufficiently monitor bird deaths, supervisors directed county staff to find a more thorough system — and stay under the board’s imposed $2 million cost cap.
9 Feb 2007

California ISO Asks Federal Government to Back New Plan for ‘’Greening the Grid'’

In a precedent-setting move that could have national implications, the California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) filed today with its regulator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to approve in concept a financing plan for transmission trunklines to remote locations in order to get green power from multiple users onto the grid. If the new payment mechanism is approved and implemented, it would be a first-of-its-kind means of removing financial barriers that can hinder development of wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy resources. Fostering these resources can help California achieve its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires most utilities in the state to obtain 20 percent of the electricity they deliver from environmentally-friendly resources by 2010. Unlike natural gas-fired power plants that can usually be built relatively close to existing high-voltage facilities, renewable generation is often built in remote areas. “Wind turbines, large solar power plants and geothermal resources all need to be built close to their natural fuel sources,” said California ISO President and CEO Yakout Mansour. “The California ISO is committed to removing barriers to these types of green resources and doing everything we can to help meet the State’s renewable standards and climate change policies in a timely and reliable manner.”
25 Jan 2007

Renewable energy gains still far off, reports show

California's utilities are falling behind schedule in meeting a deadline that 20% of their electricity must come from renewable resources by 2010, newly issued reports from two energy agencies show. In separate updates, state energy regulators paint markedly different pictures of how California is progressing in efforts to procure power from sun, wind, water and waste. But both indicate that a crucial piece of the state's ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gases is sputtering. The California Energy Commission offered a bleak assessment in its Jan. 3 report, saying there had been little real addition to the power grid from renewable sources thus far. The state Public Utilities Commission, in a much rosier assessment released Friday, said power companies had signed numerous large contracts for major projects and progress was good. But in its charts, the PUC showed the state meeting its goals by 2011 at the soonest.
20 Jan 2007

Investor utilities may miss state deadline; Technical snags reported over renewable power

California’s investor-owned utilities are making progress toward a state-ordered goal of increasing renewable power, but technical snags could keep them from meeting a 2010 legislative deadline, the California Public Utilities Commission said in a report issued Friday. The utilities are facing a mandate to boost their delivery of electricity from sources such as wind and geothermal plants to 20 percent over the next four years. State lawmakers set that target in 2002 out of concern that California’s reliance on fossil fuels could make it vulnerable to another energy crisis. Exactly how much renewable power will be available by 2010 is difficult to predict, the PUC report cautioned. Some plant construction may be delayed by a limited supply of wind turbines, for example. Transmission lines will be needed to serve new plants.
20 Jan 2007

Critics fear North Marin turbine would lead to wind farms

The McEvoy Ranch’s plans to build a 189-foot-tall windmill on its North Marin property has put some local environmentalists in the uncomfortable position of protesting a source of alternative energy. Both environmentalists and neighbors are quick to point out that they aren’t opposed to wind power - or even to the prospect of a windmill at the McEvoy Ranch, a project the Marin Board of Supervisors will consider Tuesday. “We’re for renewable energy,” said neighbor Susie Schlesinger, whose Petaluma ranch is powered in part by solar cells and a small windmill. “But the county wouldn’t let someone put up a 19-story building anywhere else without saying something about it. This could be the tallest structure between the Golden Gate Bridge and Portland, Oregon.”
18 Jan 2007

More info needed for wind power feasibility

The power of wind in the Shasta Valley is undeniable. It can be measured in terms of force on a raised hand, or converted from meters per second, to revolutions per minute, and eventually, kilowatt hours. But harnessing that power and turning into electricity remains science fiction outside Weed, at least for now. While those who have looked into installing wind farms north of Weed believe that it would be a viable form of alternative energy, the consensus is there isn’t enough data yet available.
18 Jan 2007

Greens divided over windmill rules

Environmental groups are divided regarding rules adopted this week by Alameda County designed to reduce the number of golden eagles, raptors and other birds killed in the spinning blades of Altamont Pass wind turbines. Under new permitting rules accepted after a 4-1 vote by county supervisors Wednesday, up to 4,800 privately operated turbines will be shut down during winter and turbine blades will be painted to make them easier for birds to see. The turbines will be shut down for two months or longer this winter and next, and for a quarter of the year or more beginning at the end of 2008. Other restrictions might be adopted if bird deaths don’t drop by a half within three years.
13 Jan 2007

Supervisors settle Altamont bird suit; agreement is inadequate, environmentalists say

Alameda County Supervisors on Thursday approved a settlement intended to reduce the number of birds killed by Altamont Pass windmills, but not all environmental groups are happy. The settlement forces the wind industry to commit to a 50 percent reduction in raptor deaths by November 2009, along with removing the deadliest turbines and continuing winter shutdowns of the wind machines.
12 Jan 2007

Key renewable power line seeks Califorina approval

The first phase of a $1.85 billion high-voltage transmission system necessary for the development of one of the biggest collection of wind farms in the United States goes to the California Independent System Operator board on Jan. 25, the grid operator said on Friday. The Cal ISO staff recently recommended to the ISO board that it approve the project. “The project goes a long way to helping us green the grid,” said Cal ISO spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle.
12 Jan 2007

BP to add wind power projects

BP Alternative Energy North America Inc. expects to begin construction on five U.S. wind power generation projects in 2007 across four states, including Texas. The projects — also located in California, Colorado and North Dakota — are expected to deliver a combined generation capacity of 550 megawatts.
12 Jan 2007

BP’s fledgling wind power business to launch new projects

BP’s year-old wind power business plans to launch a host of new projects by year’s end, showing how a major oil company can quickly move into the ranks of major wind companies. Power output from the individual projects, which the company will announce today, tends to be somewhat smaller than typical plants fired by natural gas or coal. But it’s another sign of the growing enthusiasm for renewable power. “This is a profitable business for us today,” said Bob Lukefahr, president of Houston-based BP Alternative Energy North America. “Finding resources and bringing them to market on a large scale is a core function of BP, so over time these will become even bigger projects.”
12 Jan 2007

Board hears plan to spare birds; settlement to reduce number of avian deaths from Altamont Pass turbines goes to supervisors

A settlement expected to reduce the number of birds killed by Altamont Pass windmills will be considered by Alameda County supervisors today. At least one environmental group, however, has major concerns about the deal. The proposed settlement stems from a lawsuit filed against the county in October by the Golden Gate Audubon Society, Californians for Renewable Energy and four other local Audubon chapters. The suit challenged the county’s decision to renew permits for Altamont Pass wind turbines that kill hundreds of migrating birds each year. According to a study released in 2004 by the California Energy Commission, an estimated 1,700 to 4,700 birds die each year by flying into whirring turbine blades or being electrocuted by transmission lines that thread through the 50,000-acre Altamont Wind Resource Area. Those deaths include protected species. The lawsuit alleged the supervisors violated state law by failing to conduct environmental studies of the turbines’ effects on wildlife. All the plaintiffs in the case have signed off on the proposed settlement, and only the supervisors’ endorsement is needed for final approval.
11 Jan 2007
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