Here's some good news for Northern Californians who like to breathe: the first battery-powered electric buses in the north part of the state are rolling out in Stockton, thanks to the California Energy Commission. Two fast-charging buses will join the San Joaquin Regional Transit District's fleet in the city of Stockton, relieving a bit of the Central Valley airshed's air pollution problem.
The Bureau of Land Management has just released the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for an Arizona wind project near the mouth of the Grand Canyon. It may pose a threat to the canyon's population of reintroduced California condors.
BP Wind Energy's proposed Mohave County Wind Farm project would occupy almost 60 square miles of open desert about 20 miles from Hoover Dam. Its 283 wind turbines would generate up to 500 megawatts of electrical power.
A few hours after one of its wind turbines threw a blade in the Imperial County desert town of Ocotillo, builder Siemens Energy announced it is shutting down all its turbines worldwide that use the same blade until their safety can be assessed.
The faulty wind turbine at Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind facility threw a ten-ton blade late Wednesday night or early Thursday. No one was injured, despite the blade's coming to rest atop a Jeep trail on public lands approximately 150 yards from the turbine.
And that number keeps climbing. According to the California Solar Statistics website, the number of California roofs generating power from the sun reached 150,428 as of Wednesday, with a total generating capacity of 1,560 megawatts -- about equivalent to three typical coal-fired power plants.
The Interior Department has released a new set of proposed rules that would mandate use of an industry-funded website for disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands. In announcing the rules at a Thursday press conference, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell dismissed environmentalist concerns over the process, commonly called "fracking."
"Fracking has been done safely for decades," Jewell told reporters in a conference call. "There is no doubt that this essential tool will be used for decades to come."