News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
Wind
Congress Extends Tax Credit for Wind Power, But it Won't Help

Congress Extends Tax Credit for Wind Power, But it Won't Help

Wind: By a 76-16 vote, the U.S. Senate last night extended the federal Production Tax Credit for wind power facilities until the end of 2015, but the extension is unlikely to serve as an incentive for new wind turbines.
Wind Project Pulled From San Bernardino Mountains

Wind Project Pulled From San Bernardino Mountains

Wind: A proposal that would have placed 71 wind turbines on the north slope of the San Bernardino Mountains has been withdrawn by its owner, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
Feds Broke Law Approving Wind Project Near Eagle Nests, Lawsuit Claims

Feds Broke Law Approving Wind Project Near Eagle Nests, Lawsuit Claims

Wind: A San Diego County-based conservation group and two area residents have sued the federal government over its approval of a wind project they say poses an unlawful risk to golden eagles.
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Feds Fund Research Into Taller Wind Turbines

Feds Fund Research Into Taller Wind Turbines

Wind: The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday it's plowing $2 million into two groups working on ways to build wind turbines that are one and a half times taller than current designs.
Feds Set To Issue First Eagle Kill Permit To California Wind Facility

Feds Set To Issue First Eagle Kill Permit To California Wind Facility

Wind: The 100-megawatt facility will be allowed to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period without incurring penalties under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Conservationists Sue Feds Over Wind Turbine Eagle Rule

Conservationists Sue Feds Over Wind Turbine Eagle Rule

Wind: A group of individual conservationists and a national bird protection organization have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency's decision to extend the length of permits issued to the wind power industry to kill bald and golden eagles.
Feds Evaluating Another Wind Project in Condor Country

Feds Evaluating Another Wind Project in Condor Country

Wind: The BLM says a proposed 1,100-acre wind energy facility in Kern County would pose no threat to the Endangered California condors living a few miles away.
Committee Hearing on Wind Energy and Eagles Deadlocks in Partisan Posturing

Committee Hearing on Wind Energy and Eagles Deadlocks in Partisan Posturing

Commentary: What could have been an informative and illuminating hearing on Obama administration policy regarding wildlife and renewable energy turned out to be nearly two hours of partisan posturing.
Wind Project on Tribal Land Dies Quietly

Wind Project on Tribal Land Dies Quietly

Wind: A controversial wind project voted down in June by the Campo Indian Reservation's General Council just got axed by the feds late last week.
A Possible First: Lawsuit Over Birds Stops Federal Wind Energy Project

A Possible First: Lawsuit Over Birds Stops Federal Wind Energy Project

Wind: This is well outside California, but it may well have ramifications in the Golden State: A lawsuit threatened by a pair of bird conservation groups has halted a wind power development the federal government had planned along the Lake Erie shore in Ohio.
There Was More Wrong With This Gizmodo Story Than its Headline

There Was More Wrong With This Gizmodo Story Than its Headline

Transportation: Gizmodo may have backed off on seeming to find merit in a cartop perpetual motion machine, but there are still some problems with the claims that remain in the piece. Attaching a wind turbine to your vehicle and expecting to gain any energy at all, other than when it's parked facing the wind, still violates the laws of physics.
SDG&E, Montana Wind Company in Flap Over Eagles

SDG&E, Montana Wind Company in Flap Over Eagles

Wind: SDG&E says it's backing out of a $285 million deal because the operator of the 189-megawatt Rim Rock wind facility near Cut Bank, Montana failed to live up to a number of terms in the companies' agreement, mainly having to do with wildlife protection. But NaturEner, the owner of the 126-turbine facility, counters that the utility is merely suffering "buyer's remorse."
Feathers Flying Over Maine Audubon Wind And Wildlife Report

Feathers Flying Over Maine Audubon Wind And Wildlife Report

Wind: An interesting development in the "green on green" division that's characterized renewable energy and wildlife issues: The Maine chapter of the National Audubon Society is being accused of softening a report on wind energy after taking donations from energy interests.
Bladeless Wind Turbine Too Good To Be True?

Bladeless Wind Turbine Too Good To Be True?

Wind: There's a video making the rounds this week showing a new wind turbine design that its developers claim will be more efficient, less resource-intensive, and safer for wildlife than conventional turbines. But do the claims stand up?
Wind Energy Production Tax Credit To Die Quietly December 31

Wind Energy Production Tax Credit To Die Quietly December 31

Wind: The Federal wind Production Tax Credit is set to expire again. The voices that clamored for its extension the last time it was expiring, a year ago, are largely silent this time around. Why the lack of fervor?
Wind Group Wants More Concessions on Eagle Kill Permit Rules

Wind Group Wants More Concessions on Eagle Kill Permit Rules

Wind: After the news broke Friday morning that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to extend the reach of wind industry permits to kill bald and golden eagles, a national wind industry trade group is lauding the move, but saying the industry needs more concessions from those charged with protecting eagles.
Money Trumps Science? Feds Broaden Eagle-Kill Law, Enviro Groups Angry

Money Trumps Science? Feds Broaden Eagle-Kill Law, Enviro Groups Angry

Commentary: In a long-anticipated move that has prompted howls of outrage from conservation groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will be extending the maximum length of the permits it's granting wind facility operators to injure or kill bald and golden eagles.
Dead Raptor Near Imperial County Wind Project Raises New Concerns About Wildlife Impacts

Dead Raptor Near Imperial County Wind Project Raises New Concerns About Wildlife Impacts

Wind: The discovery last week of a dead hawk in the hills between the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility and the Sunrise Powerlink has residents of the nearby town of Ocotillo concerned about how their local raptors are faring with more than 100 new wind turbines in their town.
Judge Throws Out Suit Against Ocotillo Wind

Judge Throws Out Suit Against Ocotillo Wind

Wind: A Southern California judge has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service paid enough attention to the welfare of Endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep when it assessed the environmental effects of an Imperial County wind facility near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Company Pleads Guilty in Eagle Deaths at Wind Energy Facility

Company Pleads Guilty in Eagle Deaths at Wind Energy Facility

Wind: A subsidiary of the nation's largest electrical power company was sentenced Friday over deaths of 14 golden eagles and more than 140 other protected birds at its wind facilities. The sentence marks the first successful prosecution of a wind energy company for violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Study: California Wind Power is the Worst For Wildlife

Study: California Wind Power is the Worst For Wildlife

Wind: California wind turbines kill more wildlife per megawatt than identical turbines in other parts of the country, according to a new study by two Smithsonian Institution researchers and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.
Comment Period Extended on Controversial Wind Eagle Take Permit

Comment Period Extended on Controversial Wind Eagle Take Permit

Wildlife: Here's another ripple from October's shutdown of the federal government: An has pushed back the deadline for public comments on a Northern California wind project's application to be allowed to kill eagles.
Smaller, Jet-Engine Turbines May Solve Some Wind Power Woes

Smaller, Jet-Engine Turbines May Solve Some Wind Power Woes

Wind: An enclosed wind turbine design that may be safer for wildlife and the public is almost ready for prime time, according to its manufacturers.
Kern County May Limit Red Lights Atop Wind Turbines

Kern County May Limit Red Lights Atop Wind Turbines

Wind: If you've spent time at night in the Kern County portion of the California Desert in the last few years, you've seen them: that ever-multiplying galaxy of bright red warning beacons atop wind turbines.
Biologist: Eagle Deaths at Wind Turbines Widespread, Undercounted

Biologist: Eagle Deaths at Wind Turbines Widespread, Undercounted

Wind: Wind turbines are killing bald and golden eagles nationwide, and the death toll is mounting. That's according to Dr. Joel Pagel, a longtime raptor biologist now working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the lead author of a recent peer-reviewed paper on wind facility eagle mortalities.
First Wind Turbine Eagle Take Permit May Come To Solano County

First Wind Turbine Eagle Take Permit May Come To Solano County

Wind: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking for public comment on a proposal to allow a NorCal wind turbine installation to kill an eagle each year on average over a period of five years, in what may turn out to be the first permit of its kind granted to a U.S. wind facility.
In Search for Renewables, Google Finds More Texas Wind

In Search for Renewables, Google Finds More Texas Wind

Wind: Google will buy all the power generated by the 270-megawatt Happy Hereford Wind Farm in the Texas panhandle near Amarillo. No, we're not making that name up.
725-Mile Transmission Line for Renewable Energy Could Hatch Harm to Eagles

725-Mile Transmission Line for Renewable Energy Could Hatch Harm to Eagles

Commentary: A major transmission project now being considered by the BLM and other agencies could bring 3,000 megawatts of power from Wyoming to cities in California, Nevada, and Arizona, removing an obstacle to much greater expansion of wind turbines in Wyoming's eagle habitat.
Grid Storage Cost-Effective for Solar, Not So Much for Wind

Grid Storage Cost-Effective for Solar, Not So Much for Wind

The Grid: On a cost-effectiveness basis alone, electrical power storage may make a lot more sense for solar energy than it does for wind.
California Leads Nation in Wind Turbine Eagle Deaths

California Leads Nation in Wind Turbine Eagle Deaths

Wind: At least 27 golden eagles perished at 13 California wind turbine facilities between 1997 and June 2012, with a startling rise in reported mortalities in 2011. That's not including the eagle killing machines at Altamont Pass.
Study: Wind Turbines Don't Lower Property Values

Study: Wind Turbines Don't Lower Property Values

Wind: The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a study this month that's bound to generate some controversy: its authors are saying they found no evidence that the presence of utility-scale wind turbines causes a drop in nearby resiidential property values.
California Wind Company Plans IPO

California Wind Company Plans IPO

Wind: Pattern Energy, a wind and transmission company with two major projects in California, is planning to go public. But do the numbers work out?
Feds Report Record Growth In Wind Industry, Some Surprising Results

Feds Report Record Growth In Wind Industry, Some Surprising Results

Wind: According to new reports from the U.S. Department of Energy, the nation's wind power sector is growing faster than ever before. And some of the growth comes in a sector that surprised us.
Another California Wind Energy Project Canceled

Another California Wind Energy Project Canceled

Wind: Yet another proposed wind project in the Mojave Desert has been dropped, and the project's likely effect on the local eagle population is a big reason.
BP Can't Find Buyer For U.S. Wind Division

BP Can't Find Buyer For U.S. Wind Division

Wind: The company responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history says it can't get an adequate offer for its U.S. wind division.
How the L.A. Times Got It Wrong on Desert Wind Energy

How the L.A. Times Got It Wrong on Desert Wind Energy

Wind: The paper published an editorial calling for state and federal agencies to give wind energy a far bigger slice of the pie when portioning out the California desert. Here's why they got it badly wrong.
Video: Nasty Flash Flood Hits Ocotillo Express Wind

Video: Nasty Flash Flood Hits Ocotillo Express Wind

Wind: A flash flood hit the southern portion of the Ocotillo Express Wind facility Sunday night, tearing up gravel access roads and dumping enough debris onto State Route 98 that the road had to be closed for a time.
Another Endangered Species Kill Permit Issued to Make Way for Wind Energy

Another Endangered Species Kill Permit Issued to Make Way for Wind Energy

Wind: First, one California condor. Now, over 100 Indiana bats.
Is There Really Enough Wind to Justify Ocotillo Express?

Is There Really Enough Wind to Justify Ocotillo Express?

Wind: Is there really enough wind in Ocotillo to justify the area's wind turbines? That's a question some Imperial County residents are asking this week, as Ocotillo Express Wind's operator Pattern Energy slowly brings back online turbines that had been shut down after a May accident.
Energy Company Having a Tough Year in Renewable Power Sector

Energy Company Having a Tough Year in Renewable Power Sector

Wind: The company shut its solar thermal division in late June. Now, the head of Siemens' wind division is leaving "by mutual agreement to pursue new career challenges."
Feds Approve Huge Wind Facility Near Lake Mead

Feds Approve Huge Wind Facility Near Lake Mead

Wind: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has signed off on a wind power facility that would cover almost 60 square miles of public lands in Arizona near the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Scotland Turbine Kills Rare Bird as Ornithologists Watch in Horror

Scotland Turbine Kills Rare Bird as Ornithologists Watch in Horror

Wind: A rare bird that had attracted a number of British birders was struck and killed by wind turbine blades as the onlookers watched in horror.
Study: Wind Energy In California Has Few Benefits

Study: Wind Energy In California Has Few Benefits

Wind: Though the Obama administration has recently renewed its commitment to approve more wind facilities on public lands as part of the Climate Action Plan it released this week, a new study indicates that wind development in California has far fewer environmental and social benefits than it does elsewhere in the United States.
This Map Shows California's Potential to Power Itself With Clean Energy

This Map Shows California's Potential to Power Itself With Clean Energy

Solar: An Oklahoma firm has produced a map showing the regional energy scenes across the United States, and the results are interesting -- though some of what's going on in California doesn't really show.
Killing Endangered Bats Worth $1 Million Each Per Year

Killing Endangered Bats Worth $1 Million Each Per Year

Wind: In case you thought the wildlife and wind turbine conflict issue was limited to eagles, condors, and California, think again. A Vermont wind installation is seeking permission to legally kill four little brown bats a year with its turbines, and says that the permit would save the company $4 million a year.
CA Wind Facilities Want Permits That Will Allow Them to Harm Eagles

CA Wind Facilities Want Permits That Will Allow Them to Harm Eagles

Wind: Four California-based wind power facilities have applied to the federal government for permits to harm eagles, ReWire has learned.
The New York Times Vs. the Condor

The New York Times Vs. the Condor

Commentary: The paper this week covered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to allow a wind facility to kill a condor, and among other problems the story contained a howler of a misstatement about wind development in the Mojave.
California Breaks 3 New Renewable Energy Records

California Breaks 3 New Renewable Energy Records

Wind: Between May 23 and 26, California broke three records for renewable energy feeding into the grid: two for solar, and one for wind.
Feds Approve Condor-Deadly Wind Energy Project

Feds Approve Condor-Deadly Wind Energy Project

Wind: The Bureau of Land Management has given the thumbs-up to a Kern County wind project that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says is likely to kill at least one California condor.
Siemens Points Finger At Suppliers In Wind Turbine Accident

Siemens Points Finger At Suppliers In Wind Turbine Accident

Wind: Shortly after a blade came loose at the Ocotillo Express Wind facility in Imperial County earlier this month, facility operator Pattern Energy deftly handed the matter off to turbine builder Siemens Energy. With a muted press statement issued Friday, it looks as though Siemens is now trying to pass the buck as well.