EDF Renewable Energy announced today that its 140-megawatt Pacific Wind Project is now online, and supplying electric power to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers. The project's 70 German-built REpower MM92 turbines, sited on about 8,300 acres in the Antelope Valley west of Rosamond, add to a formidable array of existing wind turbine installations in the area.
EDF, formerly known as enXco, owns a number of other wind turbine facilities in the Antelope Valley and Tehachapi Mountains, as well as elsewhere in California.
The Pacific Wind Project is located at the junction of Rosamond Boulevard and 170th Street West, along the southwestern foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains. According to the project's Environmental Impact Report, much of the land making up the project site has been heavily scarred by off-road vehicle use, but the footprint also included nearly 350 acres of Joshua tree woodland, and almost 4,300 acres of mixed juniper-Joshua woodland.
According to the EIR, several hundred Joshua trees had to be removed to facilitate construction. Sensitive bird life found on the site included loggerhead shrikes, burrowing owls, black and Vaux's swifts, yellow warblers, and tricolored blackbirds; eight species of bats and other sensitive mammal species such as the southern grasshopper mouse and American badger were also noted by biological surveys.
The local paper Rosamond News conducted a recent video interview with EDF/enXco staff at the Pacific Wind Project site, and the result is an interesting glimpse at the technology involved and the nature of the site -- as well as a little bit of PR goodwill-building by the company at the end.
EDF has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with SDG&E for power produced at the Pacific Wind Project site.