Articles filed under General from California

Good news or bad? Solar surpasses wind in California

Public records from CAISO (California Independent System Operator) indicate that over the past five years, grid-connected, utility-scale solar generation in California increased 15-fold -- from a total of 1,000 GWh in 2011 to 15,592 GWh in 2015, composing 6.7 percent of the system total and surpassing wind for the first time, which made up 5.3 percent of the system total.
29 Apr 2016

Ivanpah Solar project faces risk of default on PG&E contracts

Energy production has picked up at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert, but not enough to allow the plant’s owners — who include Google and Oakland-based BrightSource Energy — to avoid the risk of defaulting on their contracts to deliver electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric. Majority owner and plant manager NRG Energy said in its most recent quarterly report that it won’t be able to deliver the electricity promised in its power purchase agreements with PG&E. The agreements cover output from two of Ivanpah’s three units.
15 Dec 2015

Board delays Altamont repowering, seeks more transparency in siting

An application to repower a 5-square-mile section of the Altamont with up to 32 modern wind turbines has been continued to Dec. 10 in an effort to obtain more transparency concerning the science behind the decisions on where to site the turbines. The East County Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) met Nov. 19. It heard from applicant Altamont Wind LLC, Dyer Road residents, East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) representatives, and Alameda County staff on the application.
25 Nov 2015

After 7 years, desert renewable energy plan finalized

The plan will encourage energy companies to build solar, wind and geothermal power plants on 388,000 acres of federally managed land, although only a portion of that land is likely to be developed. The plan also sets aside 5.3 million acres for conservation and 3.8 million acres for recreation, virtually all of which would be closed to energy development.
11 Nov 2015

Altamont Pass: Controversial wind turbine company blamed for bird deaths shutting down

Altamont Winds Vice President Bill Damon wrote in the email to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service that "the reduction of avian impacts" was the primary reason ...The shutdown was a surprise, as Altamont had earlier this year received an extension to operate until 2018, which frustrated environmentalists. ...Judy Holzworth, the regional communications director for U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said her agency was happy to hear the news.
31 Oct 2015

Desert plant has pollution problem

And former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar freed up large expanses of public land for the plant despite environmentalists’ concerns about wildlife habitat and the loss of open space. Ivanpah was built on 5.6 square miles of mostly undisturbed public land that was home to desert tortoises, a species threatened with extinction, among other wildlife. ...“It feels like a bait and switch."
19 Oct 2015

Edison signs power purchase agreement for Tule Wind, CPUC approval still needed

Although permits for the project’s first phase have been approved, permission from the California Public Utilities Commisison (CPUC) is still needed, and must provide opportunity for public comment first. In addition, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has not yet issued take permits for golden eagles at the site. The project has generated substantial opposition in the community, with concerns raised over the impact of 500-foot-tall turbines lining the main entry to the federal recreation area.  
30 Jul 2015

High-Tech Solar Projects Fail to Deliver

Bird carnage combined with opposition by Native American tribes to industrial projects on undeveloped land has made California regulators wary of approving more. Last September, Abengoa and BrightSource abandoned their quest to build a solar-thermal project near Joshua Tree National Park ...In March the Board of Supervisors of Inyo County voted to ban solar-thermal power plants altogether. “Ivanpah had a significant effect on the decision making,” said Joshua Hart, the county’s planning director.
13 Jun 2015

Wind turbines are already huge, but they’re about to get way, way bigger

In the United States, the boom in wind energy has been dramatic. Last year wind generation grew more than all other sources of energy in the United States — and supplied almost five percent of total demand for electricity. And no wonder, as the cost of wind technology has plummeted 58 percent over the last five years, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
19 May 2015

Warm winter temperatures slammed California wind farms

Wind energy deliveries to California's top utility fell by half in the first two months of the year because of unusually weak winds in some Western states. The slowed wind energy production has exacerbated electricity shortfalls caused by a long drought, which has reduced hydroelectric power in the most populous U.S. state.
14 Apr 2015

Wind company donated thousands to officials who voted in its favor

Haggerty, Valle and Miley on March 24 voted in favor of extending the company's permit until 2018 in a controversial 3-2 decision. Estimates suggest the company's outdated windmills will kill thousands of birds over that period. Miley now says he wants to revisit the issue. ...The supervisors' vote was slammed by opponents such as Audubon California and the East Bay Regional Park District. They say the extension means three more years of disastrous effects on the golden eagle population, which has seen a massive decline since turbines were first installed in the Altamont Pass in the 1980s.
4 Apr 2015

Desert energy plan could limit valley wind developmen

New permitting requirements would be particularly troubling, Noble said, because the Coachella Valley already has its own plan to protect birds and other wildlife. Officials spent 10 years working on the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan that covers more than one million acres from Cabazon to the Salton Sea. Noble called the new plan "a massive overreach."
21 Mar 2015
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