Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from California
Hundreds of Tehachapi residents are trying to ban a wind farm from blowing into their part of town, but Kern County may not have legal grounds to stop the San Diego company that wants to build it. The nearly 700 Tehachapi residents have signed a petition against giant wind generators, but it's not because they're anti-environment. It's quite the opposite. They just don't want the wind farms blowing in their back yards. "If you picture a football field spinning in the air, that's how big they will be," Kassandra McQuillen explained.
In 2007, SCE proposed its $1.72 billion dollar Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) to bring renewable wind energy to Southern California. A small portion of the project passes through the community of Chino Hills. This is the only community along the 173 mile route where SCE proposes to construct 200-foot high, 60-foot wide poles within 75 feet of homes. SCE has never done this before. Nor has any utility in the country ever installed a 500,000 volt transmission line so close to existing homes. Over 1,000 homes will be within 500 feet of the line, along with daycares, places of worship and parks.
The proposed construction of massive wind and solar energy projects on public land in the California desert would hasten destruction and further fragment land that is home to 17% of state's rarest plants, botanists said Saturday. "Most of the solar and wind projects currently under review are in the wrong places," said Greg Suba, conservation program director for the California Native Plant Society.
Our public lands, however, are being attacked from every angle by every entity. Try to picture driving Old Woman Springs Road and quickly seeing 400-foot windmills on top on Black Lava Butte near Pioneertown Road and more on Flat Top. The most recent application is by Padoma Corp. for a wind farm out New Dixie Mine Road.
Renewable resources are what all Californians should be working toward for our energy needs. But connecting proposed solar and wind power sources in Lassen County with distant needy users through 600 miles of transmission lines on huge towers is shortsighted and not logical.
McEvoy Ranch spent nearly three years winning county approvals and installing a windmill that should generate enough power to run the olive ranch off Petaluma-Point Reyes Road. To win approval from the county Planning Commission, the McEvoys had to move the windmill away from the road and reduce its height by more than half to minimize its visual impact.
Size and cost alone make this project controversial, but it has become even hotter because, so far, it has been handled so poorly by the people who want to build it, the Transmission Agency of Northern California. TANC is a joint powers agency comprised of 15 publicly owned utilities, including the MID and TID. The agency's commission is chaired by MID's general manager, Allen Short. Not surprisingly, landowners all the way from Lassen and Shasta to Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties are upset -- and angry.
Nearly 350 people attended a meeting Thursday in Cottonwood regarding the Transmission Agency of Northern California's proposal to build 600 miles of power lines across the state. Steve Kerns, a biologist who helps develop environmental impact reports for wildland resource managers, spoke to a gymnasium so full that some were forced to stand or sit on the floor.
Shasta County residents fighting the power line plan make up just one pocket of resistance. A Yolo County environmental group and the Colusa County Board of Supervisors have expressed concerns about the planning process. Faced with opposition and mountains of questions, the Transmission Agency of Northern California, often referred to as TANC, extended public comment for the project's environmental study until May 31. Some critics suggest a more radical route: Restart the process from scratch.
LAKE HUGHES - Plans for the installation of 70 wind turbines on a ridge northwest of Lake Hughes and construction of power lines to connect them with an already-controversial proposed power line in Leona Valley have been submitted to Los Angeles County regional planners. But residents of the Lakes communities aren't too happy about it. "We as a community are not getting a lot of oversight protection on these projects," said Jim Walker, president of the Lakes Town Council.
A "wind farm" that would take advantage of the gusts that have been blowing through the Central Coast at 30 to 50 mph is moving right along despite a lawsuit filed against the county's approval of the project. Construction won't begin for at least a year, but in the meantime officials of the developer say they are working to meet all the requirements imposed by the county with the intention of protecting the environment surrounding the "clean energy" project.
The agencies proposing to install 600 miles of high-voltage power lines had better be ready for a fight, because residents along the route are ready to give it to them. Most importantly, they should be prepared to explain why it's even necessary that they cut through as much forest as currently envisioned. The 200 people who showed up last week at the Red Lion Hotel's ballroom in Redding were just a taste of what's to come.
Harnessing the sun and the winds will be looked at Monday by the Mohave County Supervisors. The supervisors will look to hold a special workshop in the coming months dealing with renewable energy projects in Mohave County. No workshop has been scheduled, but, upon recommendation of the county planning and zoning board, one is highly likely.
If there are two facts that anyone who has any knowledge of the Mojave Desert knows for sure, they are that the area has ample amounts of both sun and wind. There are also plenty of wide open spaces. This would make the California desert a prime candidate for the development of both solar power plants and also wind farms. ...These former railroad lands were donated to or purchased by the Department of the Interior for conservation, and thus were thought to be protected forever. But the Bureau of Land Management considers them to be open to all types of development other than mining.
Energy: The governor wants to carpet the desert with solar panels. The senator says it will destroy the ecosystem. The battle between environmentalists and conservationists is one of alternative energy's big drawbacks.
To his chagrin, some of Mr. Myers's fellow environmentalists are helping power companies pinpoint the best sites for solar-power technology. The goal of his former allies is to combat climate change by harnessing the desert's solar-rich terrain, reducing the region's reliance on carbon-emitting fuels. Mr. Myers is indignant. "How can you say you're going to blade off hundreds of thousands of acres of earth to preserve the Earth?" he said. As the Obama administration puts development of geothermal, wind and solar power on a fast track, the environmental movement finds itself torn between fighting climate change and a passion for saving special places.
Miller, who is president of Friends of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, told the attendees that Los Angeles citizens are opposing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's Green Path project, especially as it could be a threat to Joshua Tree National Park. One plan to foil the energy path is to legally declare Big Morongo Canyon Preserve as a protected wilderness attached to Joshua Tree National Park, where no power lines are allowed. That would disrupt the contiguous transmission towers in one Green Path North alternative proposed by the Los Angeles power company.
California desert lands are in some ways a perfect fit with the renewable energy industries necessary to combat climate change. ...But without careful planning and regulation, these "climate solutions" could irrevocably damage the planet they are intended to protect. The biologically rich but arid desert ecosystems are remarkably fragile. Once topsoil and plant life have been disrupted for the placement of solar arrays, wind farms, power plants, transmission lines and carbon dioxide scrubbers, restoration would be cost-prohibitive, if not technically impossible. And widespread desert construction - even of projects aimed at environmental mitigation - would devastate the very organisms and ecosystems best able to adjust to a warming world.
The biologically rich but arid desert ecosystems are remarkably fragile. Once topsoil and plant life have been disrupted for the placement of solar arrays, wind farms, power plants, transmission lines and CO2 scrubbers, restoration would be cost-prohibitive, if not technically impossible. And widespread desert construction -- even of projects aimed at environmental mitigation -- would devastate the very organisms and ecosystems best able to adjust to a warming world. Nevertheless, there is a public land rush underway.
Santa Barbara County's first renewable wind-energy project, which proponents say could provide enough electricity to serve up to 50,000 homes, was given hands-down approval Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors. The supervisors agreed that the benefits of having a wind farm southwest of Lompoc far outweighed the unavoidable environmental impacts it will bring. ..."I look at these monsters and I don't like them, but they're part of making wind energy, and I guess they're needed," said 5th District Supervisor Joe Centeno.