News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Big Upgrade for Solano County Wind Farm

Shiloh turbines in the Montezuma Hills in Northern California | Photo: Teratornis/Wikimedia Commons/GNU Free Documentation License

A 23-year-old wind turbine complex in Northern California's Solano County unveiled a significant upgrade this week, as the 3,012-acre Shiloh IV Wind Power Project held an official opening ceremony Tuesday. The dedication included politicians signing their names on turbine blades. The upgrade should more than quadruple the amount of wind power the facility will deliver to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), beginning in December.

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The upgrade involves replacing 235 100-kilowatt turbines, which were built in 1989, with 50 2.05-megawatt turbines built by REpower. PG&E has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Shiloh IV Wind Project developer EDF Renewable Energy, formerly known as enXco Service Corporation.

Congressional Representative John Garamendi, whose district includes the Shiloh IV project, praised the upgrade at the dedication. "Renewable energy projects like Shiloh IV are paramount to creating regional jobs, helping local businesses and building long-term economic stability," said Garamendi.

The project is sited in southern Solano County's Montezuma Hills, where the Sacramento Delta meets the greater San Francisco Bay ecosystem. It is one of a number of utility-scale wind power projects in the area, including Shilohs II, and III, owned by EDF, and Shiloh I, an Iberdrola project.

The Montezuma Hills have been intensively grazed but the nearby Suisun Bay wetlands are important wildlife habitat, and the project's Environmental Impact Report (EIR) stated that Shiloh IV poses the potential for significant impacts to local Swainson's hawks. In fact, a turbine-related Swainson's hawk fatality occurred at a nearby facility between the writing of Shiloh IV's draft and final EIRs.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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