BAD FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT
February 16, 2010 -A lawsuit was filed today to stop construction of San Diego Gas and Electric’s “Sunrise Powerlink” transmission line through southern Imperial and San Diego counties. The lawsuit was filed in the Federal Eastern District Court in Sacramento. You can read the complaint here and our press release here.
The map above shows the most recent version of the Sunrise Powerlink routing. More than a year after the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approvals, the route is still being adjusted. The impacts to our communities and wildlands are still being studied and mitigation measures are still in the drafting stages. All of this should have been completed prior to project approval. There are multiple interrelated projects that are proposed in and/or impact Eastern San Diego County, Western Imperial County and Northern Baja. If approved, they represent significant and cumulative impacts that will forever change the open rural landscapes, intact habitats, current quality of life and property values. The Sunrise Powerlink and related projects are not a done deal. There are more permits and approvals needed. SDG&E still has some major hurdles to cross and the wind energy projects are in the initial environmental review stages. The grassroots coalition of our group, BAD, along with The Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC) and the East County Community Action Coalition (ECCAC), have a good team of passionate volunteers and a well-qualified aggressive attorney. Together, we plan to do all we can to overturn the existing federal approvals for Sunrise and to block those that are still to come. The federal approval violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Heritage Protection Act (NHPA), the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and more. Public support for our efforts are key. The Utilities Consumer Action Network and Center for Biological Diversity have filed suit at the state level for violations of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The rush to wind energy, especially the Department of Interior's fast-tracking of projects and exorbitant federal stimulus funding on wrong-headed large scale remote projects that require expensive and destructive new transmission, can be compared to the detrimental rush to add MTBE to gasoline to reduce air quality impacts that resulted in contaminated groundwater and the forced abandonment of wells, and using food stock to produce ethanol. These two very expensive mistakes were widely and wrongly supported prior to the realization of the incredibly expensive negative impacts. We predict the same type of backlash and future retreat from industrial wind energy. Community groups throughout the world are at the forefront of the battle to stop these massive projects.
Don't let foreign and domestic for-profit corporations destroy our communities and sensitive wild lands to develop industrial wind energy projects, and related infrastructure (including Sunrise Powerlink), that represent increased fire threat and reduced property values for us, in order to provide energy for consumers in urban areas throughout southern California. There are better and cheaper ways to produce renewable energy at and near the point of use.
For articles reports, documents, photos and videos on the very real and negative impacts of industrial scale wind energy on the environment, public health and safety, property values, quality of life, go to:
Examples of available information:
Property value impacts from industrial wind projects: http://www.windaction.org/faqs/24176
Wind farm oil taints Martinsburg well: http://www.windaction.org/news/13367?theme=print
Cover up of wind turbine noise issues: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6954565.ece
Wind energy produces stray dirty energy: http://www.windaction.org/news/24759
Dangerous health impacts from industrial wind turbines: http://www.windaction.org/faqs/24875
New York Times: With wind energy, opportunity for corruption:
Comments from a regretful wind farm participant (farmer): http://www.windcows.com/files/What_have_I_done_2.pdf
Modern turbines produce dangerously "Dirty" electricity: http://www.windaction.org/documents/2095
SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink:
In 2004-2005, BAD became active in the battle to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) downgrades to Visual Resource Management Classifications in the McCain Valley Resource and Conservation Area, SDG&E’s controversial $1.9 billion 120-mile 500kV transmission line, and the use of public land for industrial wind energy. The BLM’s unwarranted changes in Visual Resource classification, from pretty to ugly, were made specifically to accommodate the Spanish owned Iberdrola Renewables proposed 200 MW Tule Wind project and a new utility corridor (where no powerlines now exist) for the Sunrise Powerlink. Tule Wind is proposing approximately 130 giant turbines that will tower over the land at a height of 400-500 feet. Without the BLM making those unjustified land use changes/downgrades, Tule Wind and Sunrise Powerlink would not be allowed uses in that ruggedly beautiful and environmentally fragile area. McCain Valley is currently used as a popular public access recreation, including Lark Canyon OHV Park and Campground, and retreat area for a wide variety of folks–including those who just want to get away to soothe their souls in a quiet peaceful place, enjoying the extensive views and communing with nature and the abundant wildlife.
The Sunrise Powerlink is growth-inducing in that it will support large-scale speculative wind and solar energy projects. It will also result in negative impacts to the Cleveland National Forest, and other sensitive and scenic lands both public and private–not to mention the people who live here and enjoy the current rural quality of life, visitors who spend money in local shops, and the wildlife that rely on the existing and unfragmented habitat. The so-called Environmentally Superior Southern Route was approved by the politically appointed California Public Utilities Commission on October 31, 2008 and by the Bureau of Land Management in January 2009 without the benefit of the in-depth environmental review process that was conducted for the proposed route through the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The CPUC and BLM approvals disregarded the CPUC's Assigned Administrative Law Judge's proposed decision denying the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The ALJ's proposed decision stated that Sunrise Powerlink was not needed and if constructed could result in very significant costs to ratepayers and extensive environmental damage: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/NEWS_RELEASE/93078.htm
6.2 miles of 230 kV line will be buried under Alpine Boulevard (Historic Rt 80), the main business district and important community access route. 40 of the underground vaults will be buried under the street, staggered on opposite sides of the road every 2,000 feet (see illustration below). The construction for the underground section will take up to two years, frequently limiting access to just one lane. Concerns have been raised with the proximity to Alpine Elementary and the new Alpine High School, and homes. Concerns have also been raised with potential explosions that do occur in underground vaults that blow manhole covers hundreds of feet and spew fire and molten debris. Supervisor Dianne Jacob has requested an economic analysis for the impacts to Alpine businesses.
Industrial wind energy projects require extensive grading for new turbine pads, new access roads, new substations and transmission lines—all of which can result in significant scarring and erosion. Blasting may also be required. These actions can result in negative impacts to surface and groundwater quality, quantity and flow—including private domestic wells and springs and seeps that wildlife rely on. Turbines and transformers require copious amounts of fluids/oils that can leak or spill resulting in contamination of surface and groundwater resources. There are reports that oil leaking from turbines has contaminated nearby wells.
Much of the environmental review and mitigation work is being conducted now—a full year after the official approval of the project. This cart-before-the-horse approval violated state and federal environmental law including the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and more.
BAD has partnered with The Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC) and the East County Community Action Coalition (ECCAC) to fund our joint efforts to educate the impacted rural communities and decision makers and to mount a defense. Together, we do public outreach to keep communities informed, we file public comments, protests, and legal challenges where we feel we can be the most effective–and where others groups have chosen to ignore the scope and scale of pending damage from the industrialization of our open and uncluttered landscapes and rural communities. See the list below. We also raise funds to support our mutual efforts and goals.
In late 2008, BAD and our Stubborn Mule Productions produced and distributed a grassroots documentary on the Sunrise Powerlink: A Question of Power. At the time of production, no route had been selected and few of the impacts from the southern route, including the actual route and impacted properties, were fully disclosed or properly understood. We heard that the documentary created a stir at the PUC offices just prior to the assigned Administrative Law Judge's issuance of his proposed decision to deny the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.
See BAD’s Sunrise Powerlink one hour documentary, A Question of Power at:
For the official CPUC Sunrise Powerlink project site with historic documents go to:
For more details on the BLM approval and Record of Decision go to:
For an interesting summary of the Sunrise Powerlink history go to:
You can still take action to protect the Cleveland National Forest
from Sunrise Powerlink!
- Write a letter to Cleveland National Forest Supervisor, Will Metz. His decision is pending.
- Tell him why you value the Cleveland National Forest and why it should be protected. Ask him to do a supplemental environmental statement (SEIS) and to hold local public hearings. The original review of the southern route was hastily pulled together and is seriously inadequate.
- Letters can be mailed to Will Metz, Cleveland National Forest Supervisor at 10845 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92127.
- Metz is hearing from SDG&E and their lobbyists and supporters. He needs to hear from those who are impacted and who care about the Forest and the increased threat of wildfire and other damages like the burying of Sunrise Powerlink under Alpine Boulevard.
Photo by Bill Parsons. The historic McCain ranch house sits on the banks of Tule Creek in McCain Valley, north of I-8. It was occupied continuously from the late 1800's or early 1900s until the 1980's by various members of the extended McCain family who settled in the area in the 1860's. Dick McCain was the last occupant who left the property after it was purchased by the State Department of Corrections for the McCain Valley Conservation Camp. This important piece of local history will be negatively impacted by SDG&E's controversial Sunrise Powerlink which is slated to be built just several hundred feet east of the house through the Tule Creek 100-year floodplain. It was not mentioned in the EIR/EIS because the historic and cultural resource surveys were not property conducted for the selected route—they are being conducted after the approval. A sense of time and place, and a step back into history, will be lost. McCain Valley was also home to local Native Americans for thousands of years prior to the arrival of homesteaders. Cultural resources are abundant throughout the area. The significant and cumulative negative impacts to historic and cultural resources will be part of our federal complaint.
Joint Actions against Sunrise Powerlink and related projects taken and pending by BAD, POC & ECCAC:
- Appeal of the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the Sunrise Powerlink, filed with the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), by the Law Offices of Stephan Volker, with a request for an injunction to stop construction. The Appeal was granted standing, but the request for stay was denied. http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/tisdale_req_for_stay.pdf
- IBLA Reply Brief, to be filed by the Law Offices of Stephan Volker, in response to SDG&E’s opposition to our appeal. Multiple letters to the US Forest Service have been filed by the Law Offices of Stephan Volker, and jointly under POC letterhead, regarding the Sunrise Powerlink. We laid out the legal requirements for the Forest to conduct a legitimate Environmental Impact Statement for the Sunrise Powerlink route through the Cleveland National Forest and the necessary amendment to the Forest plan. Multiple Freedom of Information Act requests for pertinent documents to various agencies have been filed by the Law Offices of Stephan Volker and under POC letterhead.
- Federal complaint/case challenging the federal approvals for the Sunrise Powerlink project will be filed by the Law Offices of Stephan Volker
- Legal comments submitted in response to Dept of Energy’s Environmental Scoping Report for Sempra’s proposed Energia Sierra Juarez 1,250 MW cross-border wind energy and 500 kV transmission line project
- Legal comments submitted in response to SDG&E application to the State Water Resources Control Board for a water quality permit for the Sunrise Powerlink. The application was lacking in the required documentation, and included inaccurate and contradictory information.
- Intervention in the Center for Biological Diversity’s legal challenge to the wrong-headed April 2009 federal decision to reduce occupied designated Bighorn sheep habitat by 50%, will be filed by the Law Offices of Stephan Volker. The federal action reduced the Sunrise Powerlink impacts in designated critical bighorn habitat from two dozen towers down to a dozen or so.
- Legal review and comments submitted, by the Law Offices of Stephan Volker, on San Diego County’s revised Renewable Energy/Wind Turbine Ordinance which significantly reduces setback requirements from the current 8 times the height of the turbine. The proposed changes will open up private land, 5 acres and more, to industrial wind energy projects throughout the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.
Many of the documents noted above are posted at www.protectourcommunities.org. The Protect Our Communities Foundation is a 501 c(3) non-profit and serves as our financial umbrella organization in our legal struggle against multiple energy and transmission projects. Donations are the critical key to winning these important battles—and they are tax deductible.
Iberdrola Renewables’ 200 MW Tule Wind Project
Iberdrola is a Spanish owned utility. They acquired Scottish Power (and PPM Energy) in April 2007. They claim world leadership in wind energy with more than 2,000 MW across the US. In 2009, they received close to $600 million in US tax payer funded federal stimulus grants for wind energy and smart grid projects. They have applied for hundreds of millions more for 2010. Tule Wind will reportedly apply for a 30% grant of project costs from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds. See linked article below on stimulus funds and green jobs that are going overseas:
Their Boulevard Tule Wind project was started in 2004, under the name of Pacific Wind Development, LLC, with BLM’s approval for several MET towers for wind testing. The Boulevard Planning Group and others protested the MET towers as controversial and as being the precursor to industrial wind energy production. An application to install additional MET towers in McCain Valley is pending at the BLM. Iberdrola proposes approximately 100 turbines on approximately 15,000 acres of public BLM land in McCain Valley, west of McCain Valley Road. Unfortunately, the local OHV club reportedly sold out to Iberdrola by supporting the project in return for mere trinkets: new vault toilets and sunshades. BAD was turned away when we attempted to provide information on the impacts to health and safety and the need to keep the turbines away from public use areas. Even some turbine manufacturers recommend a 1,300 foot safety zone and encourage workers to stay out of that danger zone. Turbines will impact the Lark Canyon OHV Park and campground and the Cottonwood campground. Visual and noise intrusions will also impact adjacent Anza Borrego Desert State Park, several Wilderness Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and designated bighorn sheep habitat. Industrial wind turbines do not belong in or near a park land, campgrounds or recreation areas—especially those that cater to families and those that provide for wilderness experiences and protection of endangered and at risk species.
Multiple public and private properties are involved: The project also includes approximately 1,600 private acres of Hamann Companies Rough Acres Ranch, with 7-12 turbines both east and west of McCain Valley Road. State Lands Commission land is included in the project area along with the Ewiiaapayyp Indian Reservation north of La Posta near the Cleveland National Forest and Pacific Crest Trail, with an estimated 25 or so turbines. Hamann Companies made the front page of the San Diego Union Tribune in late 2009, along with Sempra and SDG&E, for their alleged illegal campaign funding provided to our Assemblyman Joel Anderson, in excess of legal limits, through out of area Republican committees. See this link for one of several articles referring to the Hamanns: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/dec/11/anderson-fined-donation-violations
The Fair Political Practices Commission fined Anderson $20,000 but for some unknown reason they failed to reprimand or fine the politically savvy Hamann Companies, Sempra or SDG&E for their apparent participation in the laundering of funds. It does take two to tango. The FPPC stated that they are short on funds. No subpoenas were issued. There is some speculation that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis may be considering criminal charges against the Anderson donors noted above. A thorough criminal investigation seems to be warranted and should be conducted.
The wind turbines will tower between 400-500 feet in height and will loom over the area, dominating the currently uncluttered and scenic recreation and wildlife management area, transforming it into a whirling, blinking and noisy industrial zone to serve the urban use basins. The turbines will be visible from miles around including views from across neighborhoods in the Boulevard/Manzanita, Bankhead Springs, and Jacumba areas, the Lark Canyon and Cottonwood Campgrounds, the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, the Carrizo Gorge Wilderness Area, the In-Ko-Pah Mountains Area of Critical Environmental Concern, the Table Mountain Area of Critical Environmental Concern, which is reportedly sacred to local Native American culture and tradition, the Sawtooth Mountain Wilderness Area and Wilderness Study Area, and from I-8 and Historic Route 80. There are also many historic and cultural sites that will be impacted throughout the area. At one point the McCain Valley was proposed as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern due to its high value biological (bighorn sheep) and cultural resources. The old McCain Ranch house on Tule Creek is one such historic resource that deserves protection. The extended McCain family were some of the first homesteaders to settle in the area. Native American elders have stated that McCain Valley and other impacted areas are rich in cultural resources, including reported village sites. These important landscapes are of traditional cultural concern.
There are numerous private properties on McCain Valley Road and Ribbonwood Road that will be seriously impacted by the construction, noisy operation, and maintenance of this major industrial project. The turbines and new transmission lines, substations and transformers that go with them, represent a significant and increased threat of wildfire ignition from malfunctioning turbines and related transformation and transmission equipment. Iberdrola is careful to state that “…no ground fires have been started as a result of a faulty wind turbine in one of our projects” (Tule Wind handout to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce-Public Policy Committee - Feb 17, 2009). They fail to mention that fires that have burned their turbines and many others across the globe.
Some turbine fires have spread to the ground through flaming fluids and debris. According to fire fighters who work near Palm Springs and elsewhere, numerous turbine-sparked fires have burned surrounding areas. On December 7, 2009 the existing 50 MW Kumeyaay Wind facility on the Campo Reservation near I-8 was reportedly struck with lightning which resulted in an extended shutdown to replace damaged blades on all 25 turbines and other components: http://www.campo-nsn.gov/press/campo_news_12-08-2009.html. Later, the management company was quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune that there was no lightning strike and it was 70 mph winds that damaged the blades: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jan/13/damaging-blow/. Regardless, the wind facility was shut down for an extended period of time. BAD believes that the highly flammable and drought stricken area, where they are proposing to install the Tule Wind and other projects, represents a much higher degree of risk than many other locations throughout the country and the world. The area has been identified as a High Fire Danger Area by authorities. See quote from San Diego County document below. And of course there are better cheaper and less destructive ways to generate renewable energy at or close to the point of use that do not destroy wildlands or require extensive new transmission lines and corridors.
Here is a link to a video of a smoldering Iberdrola turbine in Spain dated 9-11-08: http://www.windaction.org/videos/17958
Here is a link to an article regarding a wind turbine fire at an Iberdrola project at their Locust Ridge 1 project in Pennsylvania: http://www.windaction.org/news/21321
Here is a link to an article regarding a tower collapse and fatality at a PPM (Iberdrola) project in Oregon: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/9383316.html
Here is another news bite on an Iberdrola turbine fire in Spain dated 11-17-10: http://greenenergydirectory411.com/2010/01/17/wind-turbine-fire-in-spain.html
Here is a slide show of wind turbine accidents:
Here are several more links with flaming and self-destructing wind turbines:
Turbine brake failure and explosion: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8174226968688178689#docid=504493202651338360
2007 fire near Palm Springs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N4HQv-UyUo
Turbine fire in Solano County: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH-2m4A_6NQ&feature=fvw
Turbine collapse in OK:
Compilation of wind turbine accidents and failures:
The 2-page Federal Notice of Intent for Iberdrola’s Tule Wind (dated 12-29-09): http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-30779.pdf
Link to map of Tule Wind project:
CPUC link to Tule Wind and ECO Substation Notice of Project review (dated 12-23-09)
www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/dudek/ECOSUB/PEA_ECOSUB.htm This link has maps and other important information. Iian Fischer is the CPUC project manager and can be reached at: 415-355-5580 ph, 415-703-2200 fax, email@example.com, California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102
The County MUP project manager is Patrick Brown who can be reached at 858-694-3011 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Boulevard Planning Group voted to officially oppose the Tule Wind project, at their November 5, 2009 meeting, based on public health and safety, environmental, economic, aesthetic and other significant and cumulative impacts. Contact: Donna Tisdale, Chair 619-766-4170, email@example.com, PO Box 1272, Boulevard, CA 91905
Ed Clark, Director of Business Development for Iberdrola Renewables can be contacted at (866) 753-5577, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Ed has disingenuously stated at public meetings that there are no noise impacts from wind turbines and that property values will go up in the surrounding areas. We strongly disagree with Ed—who gets paid to promote wind energy. Iberdrola also sent around a mailer asking for community support and offering private meetings.
A federal and state NEPA/CEQA environmental review process for Tule Wind officially started in December 2009. A Major Use Permit (MUP) was filed with the County of San Diego in October 2009 to address the impacts of a new access road (across a 100 year floodplain), transmission lines and easements for those parts of the project that are slated for private land under the County’s authority. The County’s Environmental Scoping Letter for the Tule Wind Major Use Permit P09-019, ER: 09-21-001 (dated 10-28-09) states that “The Department of Planning and Land Use has completed review of the project design and has determined that the project may expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death—involving wildland fires because the project is adjacent to and /or within wildlands that have the potential to support wildland fires.”
The following three photos, by Bill Parsons, show the beautiful McCain Valley where Tule Wind is proposed. Under intense lobbying from Iberdrola, and against the local community desires, the BLM downgraded the Visual Resource Management Classification for the McCain Valley National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Area from pretty to ugly, stating the area was so degraded that had lost its value. Does it look degraded to you? The new classification allows turbines and a new corridor for SDG&E's 500 kV Sunrise Powerlink where no lines currently exist.
This map, from the Tule Wind Notice of Intent, shows the layout of Iberdrola's Tule Wind project across the McCain Valley National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Area, Hamann Companies Rough Acres Ranch, State Land Commission land, and Ewiiapaiip (Cuyapaiip) tribal land. Private properties are along the southwest and southeast sections of the project. Other impacted areas include the Azna Borrego State Park, several wilderness areas, the Pacific Crest Trail and designated bighorn habitat.
These photos show examples of the threat posed by the addition of hundreds of industrial turbines into wildland areas and rural neighborhoods. The turbine collapse photos were taken by Brian Hulke.
Sempra’s proposed 1,250 MW Energia Sierra Juarez (ESJ)
cross-border wind energy and transmission project proposed for this highly visible Baja ridgeline
as viewed from Tierra Del Sol in Boulevard:
Energia Sierra Juarez, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sempra Generation which is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, a San Diego based Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2008 revenues of $11 billion. Sempra is also the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric that is promoting the Sunrise Powerlink, the ECO Substation and a new 160-300 MW wind project on the tribal lands of the Campo Kumeyaay Nation. At build out, the ESJ project could include up to 625 (2 MW) wind turbines and at least one new 500 kV cross-border transmission line. More lines would come in the future. The ECO Substation is designed for a massive expansion. The ESJ wind turbines are proposed to be built in phases starting just south of the US/Mexico border east of Jacumba and Ejido Jacume, north of the town of La Rumorosa, about 70 miles east of San Diego. The new ESJ transmission line will connect to SDG&E’s proposed ECO Substation and a new substation in Mexico. They will then connect to the existing 500 kV Southwest Powerlink and then to the yet-to-be-built 500 kV Sunrise Powerlink. It has been determined by the California Independent Systems Operator, and admitted to in Sempra ESJ documents that, due to the load limitations of the Southwest Powerlink, the Sunrise Powerlink is needed to move any new energy over 80 MW out of the area.
What Sempra does not discuss is the fact that their existing Bajanorte Gasoducto LNG (natural gas) pipeline (see map below from Sempra's website), connected to their new $ 1 billion plus Energia Costa Azul LNG receipt terminal on the Baja coast, and a brand new waterline, both pass through the ESJ lease area. With approval of the ESJ project, the three necessary ingredients for a new gas fired power plant will exist at Jacume: gas, water, and transmission. This fact leads to a reasonably foreseeable future gas-fired power plant, similar to their existing Termoelectrica gas-fired power plant west of Mexicali that feeds into the US grid via a cross-border power line that connects to the Imperial Valley Substation and the Southwest Powerlink. Sempra is claiming the Department of Energy Presidential Permit will limit the line to carry only renewables. However, a permit amendment could be applied for later to allow fossil fuel energy to access the cross-border line. Sempra has a whole herd of well paid and politically connected lobbyists in California, Washington, and in Mexico. We believe that a permit amendment to allow transmission from a new gas fired power plant will be applied for when things quiet down and the economics and market forces support the construction and operation. After all, wind energy is intermittent and it requires a reported average of 70% of the wind farm capacity in base-load generation for back up when the wind is not blowing or the project is shut down for damage or maintenance.
The ESJ wind turbines, if ever approved and installed, will be in the 1.5 MW to 3 MW range which means they will stand an average of 400 to 600 feet in height. Originally, Sempra and the Dept of Energy proposed a limited Environmental Assessment (EA) for project review. They downplayed the project as just a 1/2 mile transmission line—like it existed in a vacuum. BAD and others opposed the EA as inadequate for such a massive project, connected to other masssive projects, in such an environmentally and culturally sensitive area. The Department of Energy agreed and is now requiring a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that is expected for release for public comment in early 2010. The EIS Scoping period closed in 2009. The County of San Diego is also reviewing the cross-border transmission line for impacts to properties under County jurisdiction.
Congressman Bob Filner and County Supervisor Dianne Jacob has expressed their opposition/concerns in writing. The County of San Diego has submitted extensive comments as well raising serious concerns with the project and others. Congressman Filner sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Chu asking that the Presidential Permit Application (PP-334) be denied.
Opposition to this export-only project is also growing on the Mexican side of the border, along with a backlash against Sempra in general and their use. Serious allegations have been made against Sempra, with a call for an investigation into the company’s actions on other projects. Here is the text of a radio report:
Politicians say Sempra project illegal
Written by George Gale
Monday, 14 December 2009
(Mexican politicians want a congressional investigation of Sempra
Energy)…Sempra is constructing a natural gas pipeline.
The project will carry natural gas from Ensenada to Mexicali. Diputado
Enrique Acosta Fregoso is leading a group from the PRI political party in
demanding the investigation. They accuse Sempra of violating Mexico’s open
market laws and creating a monopoly. They also accuse Sempra of providing
bribes to obtain Baja California officials to obtain permits to construct
the pipeline as well a power plant near Mexicali. They say Sempra was
allowed to skirt Mexico’s environmental process as well as other demands
required before a permit is approved. Sempra has not responded to the
Here is the link to another article regarding the call to investigate Sempra's actions: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.el-mexicano.com.mx%2Fnoticias%2Festatal%2F2009%2F12%2F10%2F381857%2Fpropone-acosta-fregoso-investigar-caso-sempra.aspx
There are also Environmental Justice concerns with the questions regarding the fairness of Sempra's contracts with the ejidos. Word has leaked out alleging that Sempra paid a meager $50,000 to one ejido with lots of promises of jobs and shared revenue. One article stated that Baja land owners were offered between $400-500 per turbine. However, on the US side, the average is a reported $4,000 to $10,000 per turbine. Most US leases usually include a confidentiality gag order regarding lease terms and production information. Who advised the ejidos before the contracts were signed? Was a qualified third party involved—one that does not have financial ties to Sempra? How will the ejidos and other property owners be able to track the energy sold to the US to make sure they are getting their fair share?
For more information on Sempra’s Energia Sierra Juarez project, including public and agency comments, go to:
The Department of Energy project website: http://www.ESJprojectEIS.org
County project manager, Patrick Brown at 858-694-3011 or Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org
CPUC project manager, Iain Fisher at 415-355-5580 or email@example.com
The photo above, shows a view of the Sierra Juarez Mountains where Sempra's ESJ project is proposed, with Boulevard's Jewel Valley in the foreground. The photo was taken from Tierra Del Sol Road on the Tecate Divide. The backcountry area impacted by these wind and transmission projects has already been scientifically identified in the Las Californias Binational Conservation Initiative as globally rare and significant Mediterranean mosaic with diverse species and critical bi-national wildlife corridors. The ECO Substation will require a new 138kV line to run north/south and east/west through private properties in Jewel Valley. The ECO Substation will be located at the base of the Sierra Juarez, east of Jacumba. The location is visible just over the left side of the sunlit boulder formation in the center of this photo. The line visible over the same boulders is the US/Mexico borderline. The photo viewpoint is from Tierra Del Sol Road which runs along the Tecate Divide. Tierra Del Sol is also targeted for industrial wind energy. According to County Recorder documents, Invenergy Wind Development, LLC has easement grant agreements, signed in 2008, with property owners Larry Fossett, Joseph Norton and Jesus Calderon. We believe these individuals are absentee owners, in the Tecate Divide area, who do not live in Boulevard and would not have to live with the negative impacts. An unsolicited lease/easement agreement was offered to Ed and Donna Tisdale, of Morning Star Ranch, which was rejected outright.
SDG&E’s proposed ECO Substation
in Jacumba and Boulevard relies on the Sunrise Powerlink:
SDG&E's proposed 60-plus acre ECO Substation east of Jacumba, including a new 2-acre Boulevard Substation, will connect to Sempra’s proposed Energia Sierra Juarez and the proposed Sunrise Powerlink via the existing Southwest Powerlink. Iberdrola’s 200 MW Tule Wind project, and the new 160-300MW SDG&E/Invenergy/ Campo Nation wind project will also connect to the grid via the ECO Substation which requires at least 13.3 miles of new 138 kV transmission lines between the new 2-acre Boulevard and 60-acre Jacumba substations. The new line will cross land previously purchased for inclusion into the Anza Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) for conservation as part of the Park to Parque plan to preserve critical wildlife corridors between the ABDSP and Baja's jewel San Pedro de Matir. The impacted area and critical binational wildlife corridors have been scientifically ID'd as globally significant and rare Mediterranean Mosaic in the Las Californias Binational Conservation Initiative. The existing Boulevard Substation will be dismantled after a new much larger substation is built on private land. At least one house and several oaks will reportedly be destroyed in the process. More new 138 kV lines will be needed between the proposed 200 MW Tule Wind and 160 -300 MW SDG&E/Invenergy/ Campo wind farms and the Boulevard substation. These lines will impact public and private properties.
SDG&E filed an application for a Permit to Construct the ECO Substation project with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and an application for a Right of Way (ROW) grant from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The CPUC and BLM have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU dated 12-14-09) that will direct the preparation of a joint Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Public scoping meetings are scheduled for January 27 and 28 in Jacumba and Boulevard. See details above.
BAD, the Protect Our Communities Foundation and the East County Community Action Coalition filed a formal joint protest in the PUC application process for the ECO Substation.
The ECO Substation will be built to allow for the following massive expansion:
- Five 500 kV bays
- Nine 239 kV bays
- Nine 138 kV bays
- Four 500/230 transformer banks
- Three 230/128 kV transformer banks
- One or more 500 kV series capacitors
- Two 230 kV , 63 MVAR shunt capacitors
- Four 12 kV. 180 MVAR shunt reactor banks
- One 230 kV static VAR compensator
- The maximum amount of oil required for the transformers at the ECO Substation will be approximately 569,800 gallons
Here is the link to the California Public Utilities project website with maps and links to other projects: www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/dudek/ECOSUB/PEA_ECOSUB.htm
Here is a link to the entire ECO Substation application which includes expansion plans: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/dudek/ECOSUB/SDG&E%20ECO%20Application_A0908003.pdd
Here is a link to an article regarding a precedent 50% residential property tax reduction due to noise impacts from an adjacent wind energy substation:
For more details on the legal actions and the actual documents we have filed on the ECO Substation and related energy and transmission projects go to: www.protectourcommunities.org.
This is the current rustic view of the future home for the new 2-acre Boulevard Substation from Historic Route 80. The home, in the rear, will be removed along with the outbuildings and potentially some mature oak trees. This residential use and view will change to an industrial use. As a Investor Owned Utility, SDG&E has the right of eminent domain and can force property owners to sell their property to them or to allow a utility easement through it.
This photo shows the existing 1/4 acre Boulevard Substation which sits off the road and is much less visible from Historic Route 80
These industrial projects represent increased threat of wildfire from malfunctions, weather damage and other accidents. Here are links to videos and photos of fires and explosions at electrical substations, transformers, and underground vaults, all of which are needed for Sunrise Powerlink and industrial wind projects:
2007 Florida substation explosion: http://www.c00lstuff.com/547/Power_Plant_Substation_Explosion/
Substation fire in San Leandro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUddfDVV9uY&feature=related
2009 Ottowa substation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnp8Spx5kTg&feature=related
Unidentified location: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZcLsx_z-to&feature=related
Test at 500 kV El Dorado substation near Boulder City Nevada:
Underground transformer fire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_jLmAB3leA&NR=1
2007 new high voltage line fire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PaeJ3G3F6Y&feature=related
San Francisco underground vault fire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68PKJan6jlU&feature=related
Vault fire stops traffic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPHHr75qWAA&feature=related
SDG&E / Invenergy / Campo Kumeyaay Nation’s
160-300 MW industrial wind project:
There are currently no new details available on this project beyond than those that were announced in June 2009: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/jun/11/wind-farm-project-set-campo-reservation/
A December 2009 press release, regarding Campo Tribal Chairwoman Monique La Chappa's Diverse Women in Business award (nominated by Sempra), reports that the new wind project will eventually expand to 300 MW. (http://www.campo-nsn.gov/press/campo_news_12-04-2009.html)
We do know that Iberdrola Renewables had a MET tower installed on adjacent BLM land in the Shockey Truck Trail area for several years. According to Iberdrola's Ed Clark, their Shockey Truck Trail MET tower was removed in 2009, along with another one located near Table Mountain in Jacumba, after it was determined that the wind energy resources in those two locations did not meet Iberdrola’s requirements for an economically viable wind energy project. We also know, from personal conversations with wind energy developers who worked on Kumeyaay Wind project, that the area targeted by Invenergy and SDG&E was not up to their qualifications either, so they focused on the current Kumeyaay Wind site instead. Perhaps SDG&E and Invenergy have lower standards, or need less wind.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has agreed with BAD that a full Environmental Impact Statement is needed for the new 160-300 MW wind turbine project, instead of the originally proposed Environmental Assessment.
A Notice of Intent will reportedly be printed in the Federal Register in early 2010 with a 75-day comment period. Two local public hearings are tentatively planned sometime after the first of the year in 2010. One will be held at Mountain Empire High School and one will be held at the Campo tribal offices. BAD will try to keep the community at large informed.
The new Campo wind turbine project will reportedly connect to SDG&E's proposed ECO Substation through a new 138 kV line connecting at the proposed new Boulevard Substation. The ECO Substation will connect to the existing 500kV Southwest Powerlink east of Jacumba near the US/Mexico border at the boundary of San Diego and Imperial Counties. However, documents for other related projects indicate that the controversial Sunrise Powerlink will be needed to move any new energy out of the area over the current 80 MW of existing capacity. All of the actions noted above will impact public and private properties, along with the Campo's tribal lands, with significant and cumulative impacts.
Invenergy installed 5 MET towers for wind testing in the fall of 2009 to determine economically viable wind resources and potential wind turbine location. Four of them are south of I-8. One is north of I-8 and west of the existing 25 turbines at the existing Kumeyaay Wind facility. One more MET tower was proposed for the proposed Campo Landfill site, south of Hwy 94 just west of BIA Route 10, but was denied by the Bureau because of the landfill proposal and the documentation of the endangered Quino Checkerspot Butterfly onsite. The Campo Landfill is entering the final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement review period after over 20 years of back and forth and the comings and goings of multiple private developers. The Campo Landfill was the subject of a book entitled The Campo Landfill War by Dan McGovern.
The ridge lines where the 5 MET towers now stand, show proximity to tribal homes and off-reservation properties and homes. This proximity could prove detrimental to the health and safety of those residents if and when industrial turbines are approved and installed. The wind energy project is supported by the current tribal leadership for economic development, but there have been reports of internal dissent with tribal members who oppose the further industrialization of their ancestral lands. The tribe will eventually own the project. There are concerns that the tribe will be left with obsolete turbines that have had all the tax credits and incentives drained from their value, at a time when they will require increased expenditures on maintenance, upgrades, and demolition. We do not know who will be held responsible for removing the turbines once they become obsolete or are no longer in operation. The tribe could turn to the federal tax payer at some point to fund a cleanup.
Wind turbines have an average 20-30 year lifespan before they need to be replaced. When decommissioning the turbines, the composite makeup of the blades reportedly makes it difficult to recycle them or to grind them up to use as fuel. The Campo Nation’s existing 50 MW Kumeyaay Wind facility was installed in 2005. There were reported problems with faulty turbine blades. In 2007, one turbine blade shattered and shed a huge piece. We have noted blade removal on a regular basis. Our questions on how far the shattered pieces flew and where they landed were not answered. Several of the turbines, including the one that had a blade shatter, are extremely close to I-8 and raise concerns over public health and safety in the event of future blade shedding or tower collapse. The December 7, 2009 a severe storm with 70 mph winds resulted in the removal of all 75 blades from all 25 turbines. Were they repaired or replaced? If they were simply replaced, where were the damaged disposed of? What was the cost to transport and dispose of them?
Both SDG&E and Invenergy are well-financed corporations with tons of money to spend on lobbyists, consultants and lawyers which they aggressively use to make the most money for their shareholders/owners. Invenergy also has several easement agreements. Quite often the local leaseholders and impacted communities are run over rough shod and left to suffer the consequences. However, sometimes the proponents’ over inflated egos and self-confidence gets in the way of their better judgment. They may vastly underestimate/misjudge the power of the people when roused to defend their families, their property values, their quality of life, and their communities in general. Time will tell whether they succeed—or not.
The photo above is from the San Diego Union Tribune (John Gibbins 01-12-10). The linked article discusses the removal of all 75 blades from the 25 turbines at Kumeyaay Wind due to damage suffered in a December 7, 2009 storm where winds topped 70 mph.: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jan/13/damaging-blow/
The map below shows the potential locations for the Campo Kumeyaay Nation's new wind energy project. The source is a power point posted online from a presentation at UCSD by Michael Connolly who was a tribal councilman at that time. The red line shows the location of the existing Kumeyaay Wind's twenty-five 2-MW turbines (see photo above). The orange lines are ridgelines where Invenergy has installed MET towers to test the wind. Iberdrola Renewables, developer of the Tule Wind project, had a MET tower in place for several years near the bottom left of this map, on BLM Land near Shockey Truck Trail. Iberdrola removed their MET tower in 2009 and informed Donna Tisdale that the wind resources in that location did not indicate that wind energy would be economically viable for them. The orange line on the bottom right of the map was targeted for a MET tower, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs reportedly denied it because the location is currently proposed for the long-stalled 600 acre Campo Landfill project. The Supplemental EIS for the Campo Landfill is due out for public comment in early 2010.
Absentee landowners and locals aligned with big wind and big development:
- Hamann Companies has a Major User Permit application in with the County for 12 industrial turbines on 1,600 acres of their 2,000 plus acre Rough Acres Ranch in McCain Valley. Three members of the Hamann family reportedly contributed $30,000, over the allowed limit, to Assemblyman Joel Anderson but were not charged by the FPPC. There is speculation that the District Attorney may file charges. The Hamann's property is part of the Tule Wind project along with the hundred or so turbines on BLM lands and the 25 or so on the Ewiiapaiip (Cuyapaipe) Reservation.
- Hamann Companies also supports the Sunrise Powerlink and the ECO Substation—both needed for Tule Wind. None of the Hamann family members live in the impacted area. They reportedly misrepresented the need for new access roads for the wind energy site to the County and BLM, saying they were needed for residential use. They reportedly failed to mention their plans for commercial industrial wind energy. John Gibson is the project manager. He does not live here either.
- Greg Lansing of Lansing Companies wrote letters opposing the Sunrise Powerlink which crosses his 2,000 plus acre Big Country Ranch property in McCain Valley. However, he was previously part of a $12 million deal, with SDG&E, for industrial wind energy that was revealed in, and fell through because of, El Cajon Superior Court case # 37-2008-0006173 between Lansing and a partner named Kevin Smith. Lansing owns approximately 10,000 acres in Boulevard including the Empire Ranch which is on the Tecate Divide, which is targeted for industrial wind projects. Lansing does not live here. He supports major residential, commercial and industrial development.
- Mountain Empire Business Association (MEBA) supports industrial wind energy and related infrastructure. SDG&E's Don Parent is a MEBA member and helped run their recent auction held at Lansing's Empire Ranch. Other members include Randy Lenac, Dan Lawrence, Ken Venable, Larry Smith, Judy Cochran, Brit Coupens of Invenergy LLC, and Monique La Chappa Campo Tribal Chair.
- Save Our Rural Economy (SORE) advocates for new higher density "incubator villages" in the backcountry like those proposed at Star Ranch and supported by Lansing and Hamann Companies. Rich Volker (attorney and real estate) and Lonnie Sole (World Solar) are Campo property owners and have signed SORE letters as Co-Chairs. Rich Volker has represented Invenergy at several Boulevard Planning Group meetings and is often seen in the company of Brit Coupens of Invenergy. Randy Lenac has also signed SORE letters and is often seen in the company of SDG&E and Invenergy.
- HOPE of Mtn Empire (HOPE) is a political organization founded by Randy Lenac and friends. They claim to support the enhancement of rural communities. However, they reportedly support industrial wind energy and related infrastructure which can result in much reduced property values with less appeal for buyers. Supporting the industrialization of the backcountry, with hundreds of 50 story turbines and multiple new power lines, and substations, does not enhance our rural atmosphere and open landscapes that most of us love and enjoy—and that add value to our properties.
San Diego County’s
New Renewable Energy / amended Wind Turbine Ordinance:
March 26, 2010 is the deadline for the 30 Day comment period on San Diego County's proposed Negative Declaration for zoning ordinance amendments for Solar and Wind energy. The changes may allow industrial wind turbines on legal lots 5 acres and larger as a Major Impact Services and Utilities use type which requires a Major Use Permit. The changes significantly reduce the currently required setbacks from 4-8 times the turbine height to just 1-3 times the height of the turbine. This means you could have a 500 foot tall whirling, blinking, groaning, blade throwing, lightning attracting, oil leaking power generator within 500 feet of your private / public road, and from open space easements. They could be allowed within 600-1,500 feet of your property line, existing residence or occupied civic buildings. These reductions in setbacks fly in the face of global calls to increase setback to a minimum of 1-2 miles due to serious public health and safety issues and impacts.
See the County's wind/solar zoning amendment documents here:
Zoning ordinance changes were lobbied for by Invenergy Wind, SDG&E, SEMPRA, Iberdrola Renewables, Scott Debenham of Debenham Energy, and others, to remove public health and safety restrictions and setbacks that the developers felt were too onerous. The Board of Supervisors voted to pursue those changes on February 25, 2009. The only folks that raised an alarm were the Boulevard Planning Group, the Campo Planning Group, and the Potrero Planning Group. It is our understanding that more information will be made available when the draft ordinance, noted below, is released for public comment in early 2010. Steve Volker the attorney for BAD, The Protect Our Communities Foundation, and the East County Community Action Coalition, will be submitting formal comments on the draft ordinance to ensure significant setbacks between industrial wind. Public participation is important to let the Board of Supervisors know that we do not want to live in a major industrial zone.
County project contact: Carl Stiehl (858) 694-2216 or Carl.Stiehl@sdcountyca.gov
|Topic:||Solar and Wind Energy Ordinance, POD 09-006|
The project proposes to update the County of San Diego’s Zoning Ordinance, Departmental Policies and Departmental Forms with regards to Solar and Wind Energy Regulations. A portion of the project will be in accordance with previous Board action. The update is needed because there have been changes to California State Law and may be additional changes to State Law in legislation making it necessary to update the Zoning Ordinance.
Planning Commission: 2010
Board of Supervisors: 2010
Carl Stiehl (858) 694-2216
Where do our elected officials stand?
- US Senators Feinstein and Boxer have done nothing to help despite many requests.
- Congressman Bob Filner opposes the Sunrise Powerlink and proposed wind energy projects.
- New Congressman Duncan D Hunter has written letters to the Cleveland National Forest on Sunrise Powerlink and has publicly stated that industrial wind energy is not needed in East County. He also opposes the Campo Landfill.
- CA Senator Denise Ducheny has done nothing to help us. She wrote a letter to oppose Sunrise route proposed to go through the Anza Borrego Desert State Park but would not provide a copy and did not respond to numerous requests to oppose the selected route. Her husband, Al Ducheny is a director on the Anza Borrego Foundation.
- Assemblyman Joel Anderson officially supports the SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink and the ECO Substation. FYI: Anderson was recently fined by the FPPC for illegal campaign contributions from SDG&E, Sempra, and Hamann Companies. Hamann Companies Rough Acre Ranch, in McCain Valley, is part of the Tule Wind project. The politically savvy contributors were neither charged or fined.
- County Supervisor Dianne Jacob has been our constant ally in these battles—so far.
- County Supervisors Ron Roberts, Greg Cox and Bill Horn appear to support all wind and power line projects.
- The elected Boulevard Planning Group has formally opposed all these nasty projects.
- The appointed Jacumba Sponsor Group voted to support Sempra's Energia Sierra Juarez but will reconsider that vote at their January 26th meeting. A change to an elected group should be pursued.
- The elected Campo Planning Group has opposed the Sunrise Powerlink and written to the Forest. However, it is our understanding that some individual members that were elected in 2008 (HOPE candidates) do support industrial wind energy and the impacts and infrastructure that goes with it. This should be made an issue in the 2010 elections.
- The elected Campo Kumeyaay Nation Council supports industrial wind energy and the Campo Landfill as economic development. Campo Chair, Monique La Chappa has signed letters of support for SDG&E's ECO Substation and Sempra's Energia Sierra Juarez project. That support is ironic because the Campo Band formally opposed the Sunrise Powerlink's southern route. The ECO Substation, Energia Sierra Juarez, and the Campo Nation's proposed 160-300MW wind energy project with SDG&E and Invenergy, all rely on the construction of the Sunrise Powerlink. Internal dissent has been reported by some tribal members stating that they do not support the landfill project and they do not want more industrial wind turbines. These issues will most likely arise in the next tribal elections.
More information on the negative health impacts of industrial wind energy
For more information on the dark side of wind energy on public health and safety, quality of life, property values, the quiet enjoyment of your property, aesthetics, radar, television and internet reception and more, go to: www.windaction.org and www.wind-watch.org. There you will find a wide variety of articles, opinions, documents, reports, videos, and photographs related to just about every aspect of industrial wind energy. You can also go to North American Platform Against Windpower at www.na-paw.org or European Platform Against Windpower at www.epaw.org. Or just Google “wind turbine fires”. There is a ton of information out there. Do your own research and put it to use. Click here for a statement you can use to educate friends, family, and decision makers http://www.na-paw.org/na-paw-statement-p.php. Click here for a National Wind Watch brochure with a concise summary of the issues: http://www.wind-watch.org/publication/windbrochure.pdf.
Here is a link to a list of important documents: http://www.windaction.org/?tab=topdocs.
Here is a link to a British article (Sunday Times 12-13-09) regarding a cover up of wind turbine noise issues in a government report: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6954565.ece
Wind Turbine Syndrome by Dr. Nina Pierpont
Dr Pierpont and others have researched complaints of the very real impacts of industrial wind energy on human health. Pierpont’s book is available via her website at www.windturbinesyndrome.com. Peer reviews of Dr. Pierpont’s book (which some wind energy proponents claim don’t exist) and lots of other important information and links are available at that site.
Here is an excerpt from Dr. Pierpont’s testimony to the New Your State Legislature Energy Committee in March 2006:
The symptoms start when local turbines go into operation and resolve when the turbines are off or when the person is out of the area. The symptoms include:
- Sleep problems: noise or physical sensations of pulsation or pressure make it hard to go to sleep and cause frequent awakening.
- Headaches that are increased in frequency or severity.
- Dizziness, unsteadiness, and nausea.
- Exhaustion, anxiety, anger, irritability, and depression.
- Problems with concentration and learning.
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Not everyone near turbines has these symptoms. This does not mean people are making them up; it means there are differences in susceptibility. These differences are known as risk factors. Defining risk factors and the proportion of people who get symptoms is the role of epidemiologic studies. These studies are under way. Chronic sleep disturbance is the most common symptom. Exhaustion, mood problems, and problems with concentration and learning are natural outcomes of poor sleep.
Here is a link to health survey of residents near a Mars Hills wind project: http://www.windaction.org/documents/20497
The Wind Farm Scam by John Etherington
The book, which sold out the first two printings right away, argues that the drawbacks of wind power far outweigh the advantages. Wind turbines cannot generate enough to reduce global CO2 levels to a meaningful degree. Nor can wind power generate a steady output, which requires back-up coal or gas-fired power plants that significantly negate the advertised savings in green house gas emissions. Ecological drawbacks include damage to habitats, wildlife and far-from-insignificant aesthetic considerations. Dr. Etherington, a retired Reader in Ecology at the University of Wales, Cardiff, and from a Thomas Huxley Medalist at the Royal College of Science and a former co-editor of the International Journal of Ecology, argues that wind power is excessively financed at the cost of consumers who have not been fully informed that their bills are subsidizing and industry that cannot be cost efficient. Glen Scheede, former US Presidential adviser on energy, and one of the leading worldwide analysts and commentators on wind power, was quoted as saying, "The book should be required reading for every high school, college, and university student. It explains wind energy, and its limitations and environmental insults, in easily understood terms. It explains why wind willnever provide a significant, reliable source of energy." The book is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Farm-Scam-John-Etherington/dp/1905299834
Alternatives to the Sunrise Powerlink and remote renewables
Remember that the PUC's Assigned Administrative Law's (ALJ) proposed decision stated that the project was not needed and it was too expensive for ratepayers and too destructive to the environment. Even the inadequate Environmental Impact Statement /Report ranked the selected so-called Environmentally Superior Southern Route transmission line as number 4 on the list of 8 alternative projects.
Here are numbers one-three that outranked Sunrise:
- New In-Area All Source Generation Alternative
- New In-Area Renewable Generation Alternative
- LEAPS Transmission-Only Alternative
Here are some reports regarding better alternatives:
In Our Backyards is a report on how decentralized distributed energy generation represents the single most feasible means to produce renewable energy at a broad scale without reliance on environmentally destructive long-distance transmission lines like the Sunrise Powerlink. Former ALJ Steven Weissman, who was assigned to the Sunrise Powerlink case for the PUC, contributed to this report. Weissman is now teaching at Berkeley.
Read the report at: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/In_Our_Backyard_Dec_3_2009(1).pdf
Bill Powers, San Diego Smart Energy 2020, October 2007, promotes renewable energy projects at or near the point of use. An estimated 5,000 MW of capacity exists on commercial buildings and already disturbed lands near the urban use area. Photo Voltaic prices have dropped drastically since this report was written, making them cost competitive with large scale remote projects. The full report is available at:
The Better Way by Alliance for Responsible Energy Policy as it appeared in the Desert Report: http://www.allianceforresponsibleenergypolicy.com/The%20Better%20Way.pdf
Feed In Tariffs: Big utilities like SDG&E have worked to fight/gut the Feed In Tariff program in California. They do not want the average citizen or public entity to be able to generate their own power via solar panels, residential scale wind turbines, combined heat and power, or other options. Nor do they want to be forced to pay fair market prices for the extra energy that those property owners would feed back onto the grid. Currently, the extra energy is basically donated to the utilities with the generator receiving a credit. The utilities want to continue their monopolies and the guaranteed profits they currently get from adding new infrastructure like the Sunrise Powerlink. For more information go to www.fitcoalition.com.
Installing solar panels and /or residential scale wind turbines: There are new tax credits, leasing options, and programs to finance the cost of generating your own power through annual payments added to your property taxes, that make it easier to generate your own renewable energy. The County of San Diego is finalizing their plans to allow you to finance your project through your property taxes.
Energy Conservation and Efficiency: The first goal in reducing energy use and the need for more damaging large scale projects is to take personal responsibility to reduce your use of energy through conservation and efficiency. Make sure your buildings are properly insulated and all gaps around windows and doors are sealed. Swapping out single pane windows for dual pane windows and using Energy Star rated appliances can reduce your energy consumption by a large degree. The simple act of unplugging equipment while not in use can also reduce use. Share your concerns and ideas with your schools, churches, landlords and employers. Get everyone involved. For more information go to Flex Your Power at http://www.fypower.org/ and http://virginia.sierraclub.org/greatfalls/issues/Vampire_flyer.pdf
For more information on going green visit:
The Utility Consumer Action Network:
The Center for Sustainable Energy: http://energycenter.org/